Hmmm… The first sentence of this book is “Lydia is dead” so I was so flipping excited to dive into a thriller/ mystery and be gripped by the police investigation, character motives and general intrigue that a mystery brings. Unfortunately, that just did not happen whatsoever! This book is actually considered a domestic drama so I understand that it was partly my fault for not doing my research and expecting something I was never going to get (even though the blurb is highly misleading). But on the whole, I felt like nothing really happened and we certainly did not get any investigation into Lydia’s death. At first, I was really enjoying the story as it had quite a few flashbacks explaining the history of the family which I thought would be relevant to the second half of the book. But the story never really starts because the majority of the book is told in retrospect, accounting the family’s past – I just read a load of background info! I aslo found the story to be particularly dark and depressing , which you might expect from a book about a teenage girl’s death but I kind of got the message that people suck, the world sucks, life sucks but just get on with it? Definitely not what I wanted to read about!
ALthough, I did rather enjoy her writing style, despite some of her weird similes and metaphors – my personal favs were “years of yearning had made her sensitive, the way a starving dog twitches its nostrils at the faintest scent of food” or “a drop of water trickled out of Nath’s hair, like a shy little mouse”??? But I don’t think it really mattered how beautiful her writing was as there was really no storyline to accompany it, so I found myself rather board at times and wasn’t inclined to pick the book up. This is definitely a more character focused book, which I usually like, but unfortunately I just wasn’t able to connect with the characters the way I thought I was going to.
However, I will give Ng props because she is able to show the characters internal thoughts and feelings really well – a huge part of this is portraying the characters grief. She also explores other issues such as identity and wanting to blend in vs. stand out which I thought was done very well.
Overall, I am a bit frustrated with this book and I don’t really understand the hype. I wouldn’t be opposed to reading one of Ng’s other books since I did like her writing style but it definitely wont be something I rush to read! I don’t know if I would recommend this book but if you do want to read it just be aware that this is definitely not a thriller!!
Have you read this book or any of Ng’s other works? What did you think of them?