Bailey's/Orange Women's Fiction Group discussion

Little Deaths
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2017 Book of the Month > May 2017 Little Deaths

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Ellen Forkin (ellen_forkin) | 4 comments Hello, I'm new to the group but loving your choice of reads I've seen so far.

I read Little Deaths a few months ago as part of the Scottish Hurricane Book Club. I absolutely loved this book, and am looking forward to hearing your thoughts and theories (the real life murder case is anything but clear cut).
Can you tell I'm excited about this discussion? - Ellen x

P.S: Emma Flint is a very active tweeter if you want to check her out on Twitterland.


message 3: by JenniferD (new)

JenniferD (jooniperd) | 343 comments Ellen wrote: "...as part of the Scottish Hurricane Book Club ..."

hi ellen! welcome! i just wanted to say that i LOVE the name of your book club!! :)


message 4: by Val (new) - rated it 3 stars

Val Welcome to the group Ellen.
There are a few discrepancies in that case aren't there!


Lagullande | 76 comments Oh dear, I didn't really go for this one either - I feel like I've turned into a complete grouch with our recent group reads :-(

For me, it started promisingly and I sympathised with the mother. But as the book went on, she became more and more of a stereotype, and I got increasingly frustrated with the drippy journalist.

However, at the time, I wasn't aware that the book was based on a real case, and so I was approaching it purely as a work of fiction. I haven't read all of the long account of the actual case yet, but I wonder whether this element of actuality caused the problem for me. Maybe the need to keep closely to real life events got in the way of developing it into something really gripping.

(By the way, I'm not completely grouchy about this years list. I loved Stay with Me, and half way through The Sport of Kings I am admiring it greatly.)


message 6: by Val (new) - rated it 3 stars

Val Lagullande wrote: "Oh dear, I didn't really go for this one either...

For me, it started promisingly and I sympathised with the mother. But as the book went on, she became more and more of a stereotype, and I got increasingly frustrated with the drippy journalist."


I completely agree with you about this one, particularly about the mother and the journalist.

The Sport of Kings was not a favourite. (view spoiler)


Penny (Literary Hoarders) (pennyliteraryhoarders) | 33 comments I'm about 40% of the way through it - and will more than likely be feeling the same as you @Lagullande and @Val.

I was seeing this one promoted heavily and wasn't surprised to see it nominated. However, now that I'm reading, I'm pleased that it did not make the shortlist.

To me - it's reading something like a Girl on the Train, or Gone Girl kind of read and the author did well with not putting that "girl" in the title. There was a sense of urgency, but that sense is starting to fizzle for me.

I'll read to the end, just to see what is going to happen - but it won't be the best read I've read all year. :-( I seem to have fallen into a rut.

What is disappointing is that if this is based on true events - there was no epigraph to explain that - or to give any of such details up front. If it shows at the end, fine - but i think it might have served her better to give it some context - that she is fictionalizing something based on true events. I think she should have been up front with that for the reader.


Penny | 681 comments Mod
I am about 50% through on audio - I agree with Penny above - there seems to be a spate of similar stance books. The writing is taut and well done my main problem is that I don't feel empathy towards many of the characters which was my feeling towards Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. I like to feel interested and invested in characters so I am more drawn to character driven books - maybe I will feel differently as I go on.


Penny | 681 comments Mod
OK I'm still plodding on - have listened to over 5 hours and am still not enjoying it much - I feel a bit like Lagullande as I have not rated a book as brilliant from the list for a while now. Yes I am a hard rater but even so!!


Penny | 681 comments Mod
I am still listening to this - I can only do so when I am at home with my computer - however it is beginning to hook me in now. Ellen - what did you enjoy about the book?
The lead character is all over the place and so is my response to her - which I suppose is quite a good achievement for the author. I can't decide whether it is because she is at times depicted as unsympathetic and lacking in compassion towards her children and yet it is the stripped down, got-to-get-through-this aspect of her personality that I am now beginning to appreciate the depth of her character more. It is the creation of the contradictory Ruth Malone that is the meat of the book.


message 11: by Val (new) - rated it 3 stars

Val Ruth is contradictory and all over the place, I agree. That comes from the reports of the real case to some extent, with one side claiming that she was heartless and the grief was faked and the other side claiming that the grief was real and the hardness was a front. In the novel the author has gone for the latter explanation, but I did not feel she resolved the two aspects of Ruth well enough.


Penny | 681 comments Mod
I am reminded a bit of the Lindy Chamberlain situation when she was tried for the death of her baby and convicted although she was later exonerated and the dingo was blamed.
There was an excellent film with Meryl Streep , which depicted this conflict of character very well. Chamberlain was not the expected grieving mother figure - Kate McCann has also had vindictive press coverage. I wonder if our society likes to blame women/mothers as soon as there is a child safety issue.


message 13: by Val (new) - rated it 3 stars

Val Good point Penny.
The way I see it is that we all want to protect our children and like to think we can, so perhaps it is easier to assume that parents who could not or did not protect theirs must have done something wrong or been deficient as parents in some way.


Penny | 681 comments Mod
Finally finished this - I appreciated it more as it went along but overall found it dragged too much. 3 stars.


Ellen Forkin (ellen_forkin) | 4 comments Hi, sorry for being absent, I haven't been well!

I think I enjoyed it for perhaps the reasons that others didn't it. I enjoyed not liking the characters, and no attempts being made to warm to them and plump for their wellbeing. I even liked the unsatisfactory bits, where something more exciting could be happening - instead it was all a big mess up with no massive plot twists. There were no explosions, assassinations, boats rapidly sinking, dead-uncles-who-are-secret-service-spies-back-from-the-dead-hanging-from-a-cliff-telling-you-your-father-loved-you-but-he-died-in-Mongolia-fighting-Russians-and-here's-a-secret-key-to-the-attic sort of plot twists, and I was grateful for it. I hated Nick. He was unbearably boring and annoying, the book could have done without him. I hated Ruth, but I think I was meant to.

Overall, I liked it, but can understand everyone's frustrations. Perhaps she could have used more artistic liscense instead of sticking to the real events?

Enjoyed reading everyone's views :)


message 16: by Val (new) - rated it 3 stars

Val Ellen wrote: "Hi, sorry for being absent, I haven't been well!"
Sorry to hear you have been unwell Ellen. I hope you are feeling better now.

"Overall, I liked it, but can understand everyone's frustrations. Perhaps she could have used more artistic license instead of sticking to the real events?"
She came up with an alternative culprit, which is fairly 'artistic', so it is odd that she decided to restrict herself so much in other areas.


Ellen Forkin (ellen_forkin) | 4 comments I was surprised she took that leap too. I wonder if she believes it to be the most likely scenario?


Penny | 681 comments Mod
Oh I like you Ellen!!
what an interesting way to read - to feel the opposite way! I can see where you are coming from - not in an 'anti-hero' way but just to add deeper texture to the story and not end up mushy - there must be such a temptation to go down that predictable route and yet also to make your characters less amiable, less empathic is risky. I can see where the author would have to make these choices and where many others also do, but often as you say in such plot-catching ways as to spoil the integrity of the character.
Very interesting Ellen!


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