Reading this book was literally like opening up my own history (including the dead imaginary friends...I was a weird kid). Allie Brosh makes me laugh...moreReading this book was literally like opening up my own history (including the dead imaginary friends...I was a weird kid). Allie Brosh makes me laugh out loud, even when she is talking about issues like depression. I did not want to put this book down, and if I could give it more than 5 stars I would in a heartbeat.(less)
I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway, and I've been waiting anxiously to finish student teaching to read it. The format of the book was definitely...moreI won this book in a Goodreads giveaway, and I've been waiting anxiously to finish student teaching to read it. The format of the book was definitely interesting. We know up front who the victim and the murderer are, but we don't know what brought them together or led to this ending. The book has multiple narrators, and I couldn't wait to see how the different stories finally came together. At the end, though, I was disappointed. While I would definitely read another book by this author, I was left with a lot of unanswered questions when I finished this book.
(view spoiler)[ The book opens on Emily Houchens, a very unpopular eighth grade girl, walking through the woods near her house when she stumbles upon a body. She walks home and without really intending to keeps the discovery to herself. As time passes it becomes more and more difficult for her to mention the body to anyone, and she becomes obsessed with (and possessive of) the body. When she eventually decides to show a popular classmate with whom she's infatuated the body, it has been moved and he thinks even less of her than before. Emily stays in the woods, hysterical about the missing body, and her classmate goes home without telling anyone what happened. When Emily doesn't return home, a search and rescue team is sent out to find her. The next morning she is found unconscious but alive, about 10 feet from plastic bags containing body parts.
Tied to both the body and Emily is Susanna Mitchell. The eighth grade English teacher, Susanna is feeling overwhelmed by her marriage (her husband Dale is always busy with band) and a daughter who she loves but is not sure she really wants. Susanna realises that her sister Ronnie hasn't been in touch for nearly two weeks. The two have a complicated relationship that is not helped by the fact that Susanna's husband dislikes her sister, but it is unlike Ronnie to stay away for so long. When Susanna goes to Ronnie's house to check on her, she finds rotten food on the table (set for two) and the car still in the driveway. Ronnie is nowhere to be found. Susanna contacts the police and has "Missing" flyers put up for Ronnie, but her efforts are not taken seriously by Dale or many of the other people in the neighborhood, who know Ronnie has a wild streak.
Luckily the new detective in town, Tony, is an old acquaintance of Susanna, and he takes the case seriously. After retracing Ronnie's steps the night of her disappearance, he's left with a sketch of a possible suspect, but no name until young factory worker Sam comes forward and names his middle-aged coworker, Wyatt Powell. After the detective talks to Wyatt, he disappears. Tony and Susanna have a brief affair, but after meeting her daughter and husband Tony decides to call things off.
Wyatt is actually introduced in the third chapter. We know that he is a lonely man who long ago gave up the hope of ever finding a wife or starting a family. Forced to grow up young following the death of his parents, Wyatt works a menial job at a local factory where the younger boys tease him for his appearance (calling him "Tubs") and for his lonely lifestyle. They take him out to a bar, where he meets fellow lonely heart Sarah. The two are hitting it off when Sam starts making fun of Sarah. Wyatt is too cowardly to defend Sarah, who leaves the bar. After Sarah leaves the bar, Sam and his friends get Wyatt drunk on increasingly foul shots then leave him to foot the bill and find his own way home. Wyatt doesn't have enough money to pay for the alcohol, let alone a cab. Now, two weeks later, Wyatt thinks his dog is ignoring him because of his actions and he can barely look his young coworkers in the eye. Driving home from work Wyatt suffers a heart attack and is taken to the hospital, where his nurse is Sarah herself. The two think they have finally found the person they've been looking for, and when Wyatt is released from the hospital, Sarah spends the night. She is devastated when the sketch of Ronnie's killer is released and she recognizes Wyatt.
Near the end of the book, we finally get the whole story. When Wyatt is left drunk at the bar without enough money to pay off the group's debt, Ronnie helps pay the bar tab. She then gives Wyatt a ride back to town, stopping to get food for the two of them to share. They go back to Ronnie's house to eat, but when she tells Wyatt to leave without bedding him first, he finally snaps. He kills Ronnie and buries her body in the woods. When he becomes a suspect he returns to the woods, dismembers the body, and moves it in three separate bags to a different area. Wyatt then follows Sam after work one day, blaming him for the series of events leading to the murder of Ronnie and Sarah's loss of faith in him. Wyatt uses a shovel to beat Sam half to death before suffering a second heart attack and dying himself.
The main story ends at the hospital. As Sam and Wyatt are being brought in, Susanna is sitting with Emily. Emily is asleep from the different medication she is on, but Susanna sits by her side, hoping for answers. Tony comes and tells Susanna that the body they found in the woods was likely her sister, ends their affair, and leaves. Susanna decides to leave her husband, knowing that no one but Ronnie would ever understand why.
The epilogue seemed very out of place to me. Called "Thanksgiving," I automatically assumed it was set shortly after Ronnie's body is discovered. Instead, it takes place in the past and is told from Ronnie's point of view. I really didn't think it added anything to the story, and definitely left me wishing it wasn't there.
Overall, I would recommend this book to many readers, with the caveat that if you're looking for a traditional murder mystery, it will not be found. I wish Goodreads had a half-star option, because while I definitely think this book deserves more than a 3 (I didn't want to put it down), it didn't quite make a 4 (I was left unsatisfied with how a lot of it wrapped up). I plan on reading Jones' short stories, and hope to see another novel from her in the future.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)