Sunday, October 12, 2014

Dear Daughter

Janie Jenkins was just released from prison after 10 years due to evidence tampering. She used to be like Paris Hilton: rich, frivolous, promiscuous, and spoiled, until her mother was murdered. After years of people accusing her, Janie isn't even sure if she didn't kill her mother. So she dons a disguise and sets out to investigate for herself. Her efforts lead her to a small town in South Dakota chock full of its own secrets. It seemed like her classy mother would never be caught dead there, but her connections go deeper than she ever thought possible. Janie races to find the truth, trying to outrun the bloodthirsty press, the residents intent on keeping secrets, and maybe a murderer,

I was instantly drawn into Dear Daughter's story because of Janie's perspective. From the first paragraph, Janie's personality shines through whether you like her or not. (I did.) She's bitingly sarcastic, manipulative, and sometimes cruel. She has changed a lot from her charmed socialite days where her only concerns were fashions, partying, who to manipulate, and how to get her face in the media. Janie is less sure of herself and more prone to examine every angle of a situation. Despite her years in prison and the psychological toll it had on her, her quick witted and sarcastic inner monologue isn't worse for the wear. Janie is brave, but also reckless and eager to throw herself into dangerous situations.

I loved the different media clips and such between the chapters: newspaper articles, text message conversations, or online posts. It added a dimension and reality to the story. The one thing that bothered me about it was no one came out in favor of her. Even the most guilty and brutal killers have die hard fans and supporters. The TMZ writer who called for vigilantism to make her pay or her crimes was crazy and added an urgency to the story. He would report on any of her whereabouts and encourage people to deliver justice.

While the story is interesting and the protagonist is unforgettable, the pace of the book is off and the ending is a let down. Once she gets to the small town, the plot slows down a lot while she gathers clues and follows leads. The ending is abrupt and unsatisfying. The actual reveal of the killer was good, but everything else is trying to hard to be Gone Girl. I enjoyed most of it and I would read other books by Elizabeth Little.

My rating: 3/5 fishmuffins

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