April 29, 2019

Book Review: The Favorite Daughter by Kaira Rouda

Source: Vine

Publication Date: May 21, 2019

The perfect home. The perfect family. The perfect lie.

Jane Harris lives in a sparkling home in an oceanfront gated community in Orange County. It’s a place that seems too beautiful to be touched by sadness. But exactly one year ago, Jane’s oldest daughter, Mary, died in a tragic accident and Jane has been grief-stricken ever since. Lost in a haze of anti-depressants, she’s barely even left the house. Now that’s all about to change.

It’s time for Jane to reclaim her life and her family. Jane’s husband, David, has planned a memorial service for Mary and three days later, their youngest daughter, Betsy, graduates high school. Yet as Jane reemerges into the world, it’s clear her family has changed without her. Her husband has been working long days—and nights—at the office. Her daughter seems distant, even secretive. And her beloved Mary was always such a good girl—dutiful and loving. But does someone know more about Mary, and about her last day, than they’ve revealed?

The bonds between mothers and daughters, and husbands and wives should never be broken. But you never know how far someone will go to keep a family together…

Not everything is at seems in The Favorite Daughter.  In fact soon after starting, I quickly realized that very little of what the narrator, Jane Harris, perceives or declares can be taken as accurate. Unreliable narrator?  Oh, heck yes.  At first you might feel some sort of pity for her, perhaps excusing her strange behavior because of her daughter’s death, but it is very clear that something is very, very wrong with her entire life and that she herself is just unlikeable.  

You might feel, as I did, a thorough distaste for being in Jane’s head.  She is a narcissist through and through.  Everything revolves around her.  Every man is in love with her.  She is the most attractive woman wherever she goes.  And she is the smartest person in the room - always.  This is literally what goes through her head.  Are you nuts? I would ask in my own head as I read along.  

As much as I disliked Jane, I still felt compelled to continue reading.  Partly because I know people like her, as I suspect most do.  Although Jane is a rather extreme narcissist, I regularly work with someone who has a lot of her traits and it always boggles me how this person can act the way they do.  How do they think???  Well, if you’re curious to see what goes through a narcissist’s head, this is your chance.

Another reason why I kept reading was, as the full extent of Jane’s deviant personality becomes revealed, I just simply wanted to know – is she going to get away with it?  

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