First Person and The Good Girl

Here is another book I would have skimmed over or missed because the story is told with first-person narration. Lucky for me, Audible was giving it away as part of their Twentieth Anniversary Celebration.

By lucky, I mean lucky-ish. By the end of the fourth or fifth chapter I knew how the story would end. It might have gone differently, I might have been kept in suspense, but once again a good author hoisted her story on its petard with the first-person narrative style.

I know, I bitch about this all the time. I promise, when I write a review about The Handmaid’s Tale, or Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, I will praise their expert use of the first-person, until then we have tropes, cliché’s, and The Good Girl.

With The Good Girl, we get three first-person viewpoints: Eve, Gabe, and Colin. Eve is the naïve mother, Gabe the detective investigating Mia Dennett’s disappearance, and Colin is her abductor. Each character has a distinctive voice, is well written, and—on the Audible version—I enjoyed the characterizations by each of the readers. Each character is also a stereotype. Not unexpected in a world where NCIS and Law & Order have longer runs than Moses.

Wait, there is a fourth narrator, we get to hear Mia Dennett’s side of the story in the closing chapter. You can guess why that is. If you haven’t guessed after several rounds of Eve, Gabe, and Colin, then it will be a surprise.

Mary Kubica’s use of the first-person style makes the whole book read as if it was an exercise for a writing workshop. You know the one: Have three characters describe an accident at a street corner where each character sees the accident through the lens of their backgrounds and beliefs.

Through the protective mother we learn about Mia’s past, through Gabe the determined (wishes he was retired), detective, we learn about her abduction, and through Colin we learn to fall in love with Mia. OK, it’s rape. But written in such a way so as not to offend, while still implying a tragedy.

If I had read this on Kindle, I might not have finished it. However, it’s a good listen for a long car trip and you need something on the line of NCIS in literary form. Otherwise, you are safe to skip it. Note: I changed my rating from two to three stars on Goodreads, because of the Audible version.

Book Review

Troy Williams

Troy Williams is a technology and science fiction nerd. The Fundamentals, was his first work of science fiction and there are many more stories in The Fundamental’s Universe. At his day job, he is a web and application developer experienced at coding and managing projects as small as an individual’s website to large enterprise integrations.

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