Tag Archives: Simon & Schuster

The Perfect Stranger, by Megan Miranda

24 Feb
the-perfect-stranger-miranda-megan

FIVE stars of Five

Five stars all around.
This book had me completely on edge the entire ride.

The narrator is borderline unreliable; you are never quite sure if she’s telling us the truth, lying to herself, or outright crazy. She does have some boundary issues, some of which I related to, but the reader can’t be sure if they cross a line or exactly which line they cross. Megan Miranda does an excellent job of throwing in clues here and there to keep us off kilter.

But reliable or not (I’m not spoiling the answer!), the narrator is a very intelligent woman. I loved her. To the outside world she may have had some issues, and she’s disappointed herself, but that does nothing to take away the very quick way her mind works.

I’ve seen some reviews state that the narrative isn’t perfect, and while that may technically be true, Miranda accomplishes so much more than your average author does in a mystery book like this. This story is intricate, in the very best way, and I felt Miranda did a genius job putting it all together, just as she did in her previous book All the Missing Girls.

I don’t believe it’s a spoiler to state that nothing much is what it seems here, and that Miranda really shows how any narrator can be unreliable because you are seeing the story solely through their interpretation of events. But what if a reliable narrator tells you a story based on misinterpreted events?

All the Missing Girls was incredible and made me a huge fan of Megan Miranda, now The Perfect Stranger has sealed that deal. I cannot wait for her next book.

Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for allowing me an advance copy for review.

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A Window Opens, by Elisabeth Egan

2 Nov
Three low stars of Five

Three low stars of Five

Looks like a lot of my friends really liked this book, but I’m going to be super honest here: I didn’t.

I didn’t hate it, I just wasn’t impressed at all, and could drum up no sympathy for the main character, Alice.

First thing: the blurbs on the back cover call it “laugh-out-loud funny” and I couldn’t disagree with this more. Beware anyone who’s looking for some light chick lit. Liane Moriarty starts her books out light and fluffy, then adds in a lot of dark heavy stuff – there is still a lot of humor left in her stories; Elisabeth Eganstarts this book out on an even keel and then gets deep into a parent losing a battle with terminal cancer and an alcoholic spouse (whom Alice basically never deals with over the course of a year). Perhaps there is humor to be found in these subjects, but I didn’t see that any humor was being attempted and these were main plot points. I didn’t find the book funny, I found it sad and depressing.

And then we have Alice, who is having difficulties adjusting to working life even though she has a husband AND A NANNY helping her at home. She doesn’t even have to worry about dinner, her mother comes over to make dinner on Tuesdays and the nanny takes care of the rest. Do you know what I would have done to have dinner ready for me when I got home from work? To have had ANY help at home? I’m not saying work life is easy, I’m saying Egan is going to have to try a lot harder to impress women who had to work and take care of their children without help of a husband, much less a NANNY. Not to get into a competition with a fictional character, but I was a single mom with a full time job, taking 14 college units, and dealing with my parents’ estate and clearing out and selling their house when they both died suddenly within 4 months of each other. Call me when you’ve managed all of that, ALICE.

And she has the nerve to be pissed at her husband when he helps her dying father get his affairs in order, or helps out her widowed mother later on. What kind of daughter ARE you, Alice?

So okay, let’s say Alice concedes the hard-life competition to me, and the author points out that she wasn’t the one who declared the book to be humorous. I still say there wasn’t enough of anything else in this book. It wasn’t a comedy, it wasn’t serious enough to be dark, it wasn’t light and fluffy, it wasn’t solid literature. To me, it was just the story of an average woman’s life over the period of a year. I didn’t get anything out of that. I didn’t learn anything. Contrary to several other GR reviewers, I also did not find anything “to think about”. Perhaps I’m just too old and already lived through that life and those decisions, and perhaps my own circumstances prevent me from empathizing with Alice. But what I saw in this book was a woman resentful of the needed attention her husband gave her own parents, and yet couldn’t be bothered to text back the children she claimed to miss so badly.

Obviously not the book for me. It wasn’t awful, I’m not going to go down to 2 stars. But I won’t be picking up this book again, and I’ll have serious considerations before reading another book by this author.