Quick review for a not so quick, and often infuriating read. For Mary Kubica’s “The Good Girl” – I’ll admit this book kept me reading for quite a bit of the novel to see what would happen through the perspectives of Eve, Gabe and Colin. I really liked the audio narration among a multiple narrative cast, and I did find myself marathoning the book to see what happened in the overarching, ongoing mystery. Mia is a young woman – a teacher – who goes missing under suspicious circumstances. Eve, her mother, is beside herself with worry while grappling issues with her daughter’s disappearance and an unhappy marriage, Gabe is the investigator assigned to Mia’s case, and Colin is the man who – for all intents and purposes – ends up kidnapping Mia.
Things are not all what they seem in this given scenario. Or are they?
I could tell “The Good Girl” wanted to be a twisty, smart, maybe romantic thriller with a shock ending, but it really didn’t come across that way to me at all. I found the characters very predictable and shallow, despite their noted flaws and circumstances. The Stockholm syndrome relationship that was Colin and Mia’s (despite revelations that were made later in the book) did not pass muster with me. I thought it was undeveloped and unconvincing. I was also not impressed with the subtle and overt racism that was in this book. What the heck was up with the overfocus on the characters being white and privileged, though somehow a “minority” in a mostly black environment? What was with the subtle suggestions of the black characters somehow being shady – suggesting bad actions despite Colin being a so-called sympathetic hero for all the crap that he did? (Nevermind his reasons – Colin’s somehow touted as “unlucky” and unfortunate with the circumstances with his mother, while the so called player behind the scenes is “evil” and “dark” and “black”. Seriously, the more I read into this not-so-subtle language, the more I sank in my seat and kept getting thrown out of the story. It vexed me to no end.)
And guys, I guessed the ending. I guessed the ending from probably about halfway through the book, so it was not a surprise to me at all. It made sense why Mia was so accepting and willing to go with Colin, despite some measures of fear and anguish. It made sense that the terms of the expectations of the characters didn’t go as planned, for any one of the characters that were players in this scenario. While the biggest twist wasn’t revealed until the very last part of the book through Mia’s perspective, it really didn’t resonate with me at all. I think if Mia had been a much stronger asserted character, if the focus of this book didn’t have such odd angles such as the oddly denouncing racist language and the odd shipment of the relationship between Colin and Mia, I think I might’ve liked more parts of this book. But I can’t in good measure forgive the narrative for the sloppy handling of the mystery and unveiling of it all. Just didn’t measure up to me compared to narratives that have asserted their elements in much stronger ways.
Despite its issues, I’m willing to try another book by Kubica, but I’ll admit this read both vexed and disappointed me, and more on the level for things that detracted from its overarching aim and story.
Overall score: 1.5/5 stars.