There’s good news and bad news.
The good news is . . . I’m back! My now four-month-old baby is finally taking fairly regular naps in her crib, which means I finally have some alone time that I can dedicate to reading and writing. Hurray! Hoorah!! Huzzah!!!
The bad news is that this alone time still comes in pretty short intervals, so I’m not writing the next great American novel anytime soon. Nor, for that matter, will I be writing brilliantly quippy, highly intellectual, thoughtful blog posts.
And, let’s be honest, I’m not reading any deep, thinky books at this point, either. Case in point: after months away, my return to the blog is dedicated to a below-average book about a truly despicable human being. For your sake (and mine), I’ll keep it short.
Luckiest Girl Alive
May 12, 2015
352 pages hardcover
Why I read it: This was billed as one of the best books of the summer. It was an Indie Next pick for May 2015 and was called one of “18 Brilliant Books You Won’t Want to Miss This Summer” by Huffington Post. Publishers Weekly called it “devilishly dark and fun” and “completely enthralling.” It seemed like a good, fluffy book for my random reading spurts.
What it’s about: Ani FaNelli lives in a fabulous one-bedroom apartment in Tribeca with her blueblood fiancé, Luke Harrison. She is a respected writer at The Women’s Magazine. She has impeccable taste in clothes and shoes, wears tasteful makeup, and has her hair styled at the best salon. Her best friend, Nell, is gorgeous and rich and stylish. Everything in Ani’s life appears to be precisely perfect. But beneath the well-cultivated exterior lie troublesome, haunting secrets from Ani’s past . . . secrets from the days when Ani was still fourteen-year-old TifAni, a new student at the elite Bradley School, striving to fit in with all the cool, rich kids.
This book has oft been compared to The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl. I was hoping that meant that it was a dark, fast-reading, fun, fluffy suspense/crime novel with exciting plot twists. And, in all fairness, it sort of is. It reads very quickly (despite the fact that the writing style is pretty annoying—check out the example below), there are some exciting (if tasteless) and unexpected events, and it certainly doesn’t make you think very much.
But here’s what I should have known: it also meant that the first-person narrator is a horribly annoying, unlikeable woman. I went on a rant about gross, uninspiring female characters written by female authors in my review of The Girl on the Train (which you can read here), so I don’t need to do that again here. Suffice it to say: I can’t get behind a book whose protagonist is a chick who is so utterly deplorable.
The book jumps back and forth between Ani’s current life and her life back in high school, when she was still TifAni. She was awful then, and she’s awful now.
She is conniving, dishonest, and cunning . . . while also being weak, foolish, and easily manipulated (the worst of both worlds!). She is extraordinarily superficial and mean-spirited. And she’s just downright annoying. She works for a trashy women’s magazine (as does the book’s author), and her first-person narration reads like a terrible article cut straight from the magazine’s pages. Here’s an example:
Bickering. It’s so much uglier than a heated, dish-smashing fight, isn’t it? At least after that you have sex on the floor of the kitchen, shards bearing the braid of the Louvre pattern weaving an imprint on your back. No man feels very much compelled to rip your clothes off after you inform him, bitchily, that he left one lone turd floating in the toilet.
You don’t love to hate TifAni/Ani. You just downright hate her. Blech.
Coming soon: I still don’t have a lot of time to research good new/soon-to-be-released books, so I’m clearing off my Kindle instead. That means that, coming up, there will be a lot of posts about random, oldish books like Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl and Liane Moriarty’s The Husband’s Secret.
If you’ve read anything great recently or have heard about a new book that you’d like me to review, PLEASE let me know about the book in a comment!