This book is what I like to call a one day read. After reading The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolizter (my review here) I needed something easy and entertaining to recover. Then She Was Gone was just the ticket with its quick moving story and its tiny little chapters.
I would like to go on record saying that this story is a little bizarre. But I don't feel bad about thinking that since author Lisa Jewell can be quoted in the book's acknowledgments section saying "I read through it and thought, hmm, this is either brilliantly bizarre or just bizarre."
The books main character, Laurel Mack, is a mess but I like her. I feel for her and read this book truly wishing I could refer her to Ivy Wellness and Counseling Services. Her life is heartbreaking and it's hard not care and sympathize with her (even when she's being an idiot). The story picks up quickly and keeps its pace throughout. I could not stop reading until I found out EXACTLY what happened to Ellie Mack. I had a feeling, an inkling, a hunch but I NEEDED to know for sure.
Then She Was Gone was my Book of the Month club pick for April and it did not disappoint. So many of the characters are weird and quirky. Noelle, Floyd, Poppy, Hanna, and Jake's girlfriend Blue are each a special kind of weird. Fortunately, all of their weirdness progress the story in some way or another.
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Then She Was Gone is very 'lovely bones-esque'. If you enjoyed that book I am pretty sure you'll enjoy this one as well. As the mother of a beautiful little girl, this book was terrifying to me. T.E.R.R.F.Y.I.N.G. Laurel's intense love for her missing daughter, Ellie, cost her everything and just when you think her life is turning around...PLOT TWIST!
I give this book a good 3.5 out of 5. It was quick, gritty, disturbing, bizarre, and entertaining. Sometimes Laurel is a horrible person who thinks horrible things, but who knows what kind of horrible things I would think or do if I lost the person I loved most in the world.
Then She Was Gone is a stark example of the havoc favoritism can wreak in a family. Laurel's relationships with her other children deteriorate drastically after Ellie's disappearance, but due to her favoritism they weren't really that strong to begin with. The worst part is she doesn't even know it. One of my favorite things from the book is Laurel finally realizing what the real problem in her and her daughter Hanna's relationship is. Laurel could easily headline a chapter in The What Not To Do Parenting Manual.
Then She Was Gone is a suspense thriller. I enjoy reading thrillers for the most part. The only problem is I can usually see the endgame coming hundreds of pages away. I had about 90% of the story figured out before the end but the 10% I couldn't figure out (or was wrong about) was worth the wait. I usually love a good epilogue but all this one did was leave me with a major what if.
Unfortunately, the thing I most want to get off my chest I can not because I do not want to include any spoilers in the body of this post. Leave me a comment and we can discuss it in the thread.