Sunday, May 19, 2013

Reconstructing Amelia: A Novel

by Kimberly McCreight, narrated by Khristine Hvam, Harper Audio, 12 hrs, 15 min., April 2013

...chilling depiction of life in a rich kids' prep school

This book has been touted as the next Gone Girl.  It really isn't that type of a taut thriller with unexpected twists it is more of a Mean Girl  prep school story.  Kate, a successful attorney, is a single mother. her daughter Amelia is suspended from school for plagiarism and commits suicide the same day (not really a spoiler as it happens in the first chapter.)  Amelia had been a bright, confident student at an exclusive prep school.  Kate begins to doubt that Amelia’s death was a suicide and plunges into an examination of Amelia’s life.

The author uses  both Kate and Amelia’s voices in the narrative.  She employs text messages, blog posts and facebook statuses to tell the story  Amelia has been selected to join a secret club and begins a hazing process.  The dialogue with the teenagers is very good and gives you the feeling of just how menacing a group of teenage girls bent on harassment can be.  I don’t want to give away any of the plot here but I did think the author had a number of people acting out of character, specifically would a hard nosed NYPD detective let a dead girl’s mother practically run the murder investigation? I don’t think so.  Would a teacher at a prep school really undertake the activity that she is finally exposed for?  I don’t think so.  Would a successful attorney do what this guy did?  I don’t think so.  Get ready to suspend disbelief as this one wraps up.

The character development is quite good.  Both Amelia and Kate are vividly brought to life in the story.  There is a sense of sadness to the narrative due to the finality of Amelia’s death in the first chapter that I found hard to overcome.

Read it for the chilling depiction of life in a rich kids’ prep school, not as a thriller.

I listened to an excellent performance on the part of Khristine Hvam as she read this novel.  Her talented presentation enhanced the story.

I listened to a copy of this novel provided by Harper Audio

1 comment:

Best Dr Alex Schnee Knee Doctor Cold Laser said...

I initially learned about this book through a review I read. What caught my eye was the reference to "Gone Girl". I loved that boom and was looking for another story with that same format. I was not disappointed! I read Reconstructing Amelia during every spare moment I had. I could not put it down. Very well written and a little bit is revealed in each chapter...just enough to keep you wanting more. Looking forward to other books from this author!