November 6, 2017

Book Review: Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little

Source: Vine

Former “It Girl” Janie Jenkins is sly, stunning, and fresh out of prison. Ten years ago, at the height of her fame, she was incarcerated for the murder of her mother, a high-society beauty known for her good works and rich husbands. Now, released on a technicality, Janie makes herself over and goes undercover, determined to chase down the one lead she has on her mother’s killer. The only problem? Janie doesn’t know if she’s the killer she’s looking for.

Janie makes her way to an isolated South Dakota town whose mysteries rival her own. Enlisting the help of some new friends (and the town’s wary police chief), Janie follows a series of clues—an old photograph, an abandoned house, a forgotten diary—and begins to piece together her mother’s seemingly improbable connection to the town. When new evidence from Janie’s own past surfaces, she’s forced to consider the possibility that she and her mother were more alike than either of them would ever have imagined.

As she digs tantalizingly deeper, and as suspicious locals begin to see through her increasingly fragile facade, Janie discovers that even the sleepiest towns hide sinister secrets—and will stop at nothing to guard them. On the run from the press, the police, and maybe even a murderer, Janie must choose between the anonymity she craves and the truth she so desperately needs.

A gripping, electrifying debut novel with an ingenious and like-it-or-not sexy protagonist, Dear Daughter follows every twist and turn as Janie unravels the mystery of what happened the night her mother died—whatever the cost.

Stayed up all night But then I got to the end and had a conniption. More on that later. What sucked me in? It's all about voice here. Jane is sardonic, too smart, and venomous. I was very much frustrated with some of her choices but I guess lying low until the notoriety died down isn't her thing. Her version of lying low involves veiled threats and grand theft auto within days of being set free. How she finds an unlikely clue to solving her mother's murder is very thin and tenuous at best – and by the way, we don't ever know if Jane actually did it or not because Jane doesn't know either.

There are twists, wrapped in surprises and bow-tied with enigmas.

Almost every character is unlikeable here, including Jane herself. Everyone has dirty secrets, her dead mother being the most secretive and fascinating of all. She is the spectre, the Laura, who haunts the entire narrative.

So what about that ending, you say? Two words: Gone Girl. I had the same exact reaction when I turned to the page right after the last chapter: NOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Spoiler: The last chapter before the ending pages, despite all the revelations, was actually the weakest. You know the cliche of the villain explaining everything just before killing the protagonist? Yeah, that one.

Another weakness is the anachronistic namedropping. TMZ, Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and her sex tape – it already seems very dated. It's clear about the figures and specific culture of the celebutante and people being famous for being famous that Little is heavily referencing; however, it might not translate so well into the future.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm....very well-written review, and I think I'll pass. You sound very frustrated with it!