Sunday, 25 June 2017

Good Me, Bad Me

It must be said that I do really like a bit of genre fiction from time to time, particularly a thriller. Way back when I had quite a fondness for Patricia Cornwell and Ian Rankin. But I hadn't read any for a while, since I read The Girl on the Train (see my review) in 2015- yes two years ago. I could have sworn that was last year, but it seems not.

I had heard a little bit of hype about Good Me, Bad Me when it was released a few months ago, but didn't know too much about it. I did pick it up whilst browsing in a bookstore one day, intrigued by the back cover blurb:
Annie's mother is a serial killer. 
That's a rather unusual perspective, I'm pretty sure that I've never read a first person narrative by the daughter of a serial killer before. I was also drawn in by the fact that debut author Ali Land worked as a Mental Health Nurse in the UK and Australia for ten years before becoming a writer. Naturally I noticed the dedication too. 

To mental health nurses everywhere. The true rock stars.
This book is for you.
We start the book knowing that fifteen year old Annie is informing the police that her mother is a serial killer, and has been murdering young children in her own house for many years. Obviously, her mother is then put in jail awaiting trial, and Annie is moved to London, to a new family. She is given a new name, Milly, to protect her identity, and goes to a new school with her foster sister Phoebe. Fifteen year old girls don't always get along, and Milly and Phoebe have more than their share of troubles. 

Her foster father Mike is a psychologist helping Milly to prepare for her mother's trial, and much of the story takes place over this time. A first person narrative is one of my favourite novel styles, but I was never fully drawn in by Annie/Milly's voice. Obviously Annie has had a difficult childhood, so perhaps her rather unusual personality was part of that difficulty for me. But the sentence fragments were a bit much at times too. 

Wobbles, threatens to come toppling down. A deck of cards, carefully, painstakingly, arranged in a pyramid. Fragile family. 
It's not all written like that, but there was enough that I noticed it and found it distracting. I mostly enjoyed the book but never found it to be the compelling page turner I was hoping for. 

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