Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Book Review: The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

From Goodreads:
Born to a prominent Chicago judge and his stifled socialite wife, Mia Dennett moves against the grain as a young inner-city art teacher. One night, Mia enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn't show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. With his smooth moves and modest wit, at first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia's life. 

Colin's job was to abduct Mia as part of a wild extortion plot and deliver her to his employers. But the plan takes an unexpected turn when Colin suddenly decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota, evading the police and his deadly superiors. Mia's mother, Eve, and detective Gabe Hoffman will stop at nothing to find them, but no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that eventually cause this family's world to shatter. 
Ok, before I start my review, I want to warn you that there will be spoilers in the Entertainment Value portion of the review.  Ya'll I straight up hated this book.  If it hadn't been an e-book, I would have thrown it.  There were several portions that I desperately wanted to quote, just to prove my point, but as I was reading a galley, I'll refrain.  Just know that you'll be getting spoilers if you read the Entertainment Value portion.

Writing
The writing in this one is just flat out bad.  The characters are stock, one-dimensional caricatures that aren't in any way believable as real people.  There was no point at which I connected with any of them or developed a sense of caring about their plights.  They were all horrible, even the ones we were supposed to like.  And I don't mean horrible in a good, Gillian Flynn way.  I mean horrible in a cardboard, stereotyped flat as a pancake way.

In addition to being populated with unbelievable and cookie-cutter characters, the plot itself is miserably slow.  I kept waiting for things to happen and they just never did.  If your book is going to spend a lot of time on the interior lives of characters, they need to be interesting characters.  If you can't come up with interesting characters, then give me some action, for heaven's sake.  This book has neither.

Entertainment Value (here come the spoilers)
So this is where I wanted to bring in quotes, but I feel bad doing that since I read a galley.  Instead, I'll just summarize the bizarre and frankly disturbing "romance" of this book.  I kept hoping for some twist that would justify things, but it never comes.

So basically, the gist of the book is that Colin kidnaps Mia.  First he stalks her.  Then he hits her, he holds a gun to her head and threatens to kill her, he chases her down in the woods, he terrorizes her, and he holds her against her will for months.

But he's really not a bad guy.  He grew up poor and loves his mama!  See, he's really not that bad?  And (this is really in the book) Mia starts to realize that she was really mean to him when he first kidnapped her and if she had had the opportunity she might have tried to kill him.  So it all comes out in the wash.

They fall in love and have tons of what the book portrays as consensual sex.  I feel the need to clarify to everyone who calls this a love story that if a man stalks you, kidnaps you, holds you against your will, threatens to kill you, and hits you, any sex had is not consensual.  Maybe you think it is because you're suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, but this book is sure to point out that Mia is in REAL LOVE and not suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.  It made me livid.  LIVID.

Of course the twist at the end reveals that the evil rich people were evil all along, the poor kidnapper had a heart of gold, and Mia had some complicity in the whole situation from the very beginning.  Which does not change the whole idea of whether or not the sex was consensual in my opinion.

And can we just discuss this sad little tacked on twist?  I think it was put there so that the book could get Gone Girl comparisons, and it obviously worked in many people's minds.  But it was two pages at the end of the book.  Seriously.  Two pages that felt randomly inserted into a story I already didn't care about that did nothing to change my opinions or make me rethink anything that had happened earlier.  It was just as dull and pointless as the rest of the book.

Overall
In case you can't tell, I am strongly recommending that you skip this book.  Having just had a great experience with another of the publisher's books (Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf), I don't want to write them off as a whole, but man this was a letdown, especially after all the raves I had read about it.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a copy to review.

13 comments:

  1. Omg I think I would have been as livid as you!

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  2. thank you for stating what I have been thinking ever since I started this book. How can such terrible writing be given rave reviews by other publications? And, as somewhat of a stickler for good grammar, I was jolted by the grammatical errors that riddle the entire book. "Me" when it should be "I", and of course "I" when it should be "me". "Lay" instead of "lie". "If I would have" instead of "If I had" and on and on.

    And what the hell is Colin doing, taking the girl for money and then not getting the money and then keeping her??!!! What for? When he decided not to give her to the big bad guys, why not just say to her "you know what I made a mistake, get out of the car and forget what happened", then he could have gone back to the apartment, cleaned it out and gone home to his mother. Why was he living in a cabin with her - and if he was gonna do that why not at least ask for some ransom.

    One of the stupidest books I have ever read and I'm not finished and I'm going to finish cause that's what I do, but I'm criticizing it at every page.

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    1. Obviously you did not read the same book I read. Colin didn't turn her loose because Dalmar had hired him to kidnap her. When he failed to turn Mia over he feared that Dalmar or Dalmar's men would hunt him down and kill him for not finishing what he was hired to do. Or worse, if he turned Mia over to him, she would be tortured and raped regardless of a ransom being paid. I thought the characters sounded realistic and the circumstances were life like. And believe me, I read everything you can think of. You have badly reviewed a book that I found suspenseful and enjoyable. I'll look for a new blog.

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    2. Tara,

      My review is based on my thoughts and feelings about the book and the way it's written. You are certainly allowed to disagree! Best of luck in finding a blog that fits better with your tastes!

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  3. Book wasn't that bad but the ending has me confused. So Dalmar did hire Colin to take her? And he took her to the cabin instead and her plan didnt work out like she thought exactly? Cause she talks about preparing to be cooked up in her own apartment, about all the things she bought in advance. Am I right?

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    1. That confused me too. I guess Dalmar hired someone but didn't tell Mia who it or was or how it would go down?

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  4. Book wasn't that bad but the ending has me confused. So Dalmar did hire Colin to take her? And he took her to the cabin instead and her plan didnt work out like she thought exactly? Cause she talks about preparing to be cooked up in her own apartment, about all the things she bought in advance. Am I right?

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  5. Book wasn't that bad but the ending has me confused. So Dalmar did hire Colin to take her? And he took her to the cabin instead and her plan didnt work out like she thought exactly? Cause she talks about preparing to be cooked up in her own apartment, about all the things she bought in advance. Am I right?

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  6. I could not agree more!!!! I was in the middle of the book and it was soooooooo boring I kept waiting and waiting and HOPING something would happen but it just kept going on and on about the "scenery" and blah blah blah. I actually skipped a lot and just some towards the end of the book. By skipping A LOT of it I found out Mia and the kidnapper fell in love. So F**** stupid!! Who the hell falls in love with a person who almost killed you? The dumbest book ever and I hope girls who read it don't start "fantasizing" about getting kidnapped and falling in love. I didn't even finish the book. Will be returning it for a full refund!

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  7. The last sentence made the entire book amazing for me!!! Wow, that really changed my perspective on my thoughts I had throughout the entire story.

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    1. I dont understand the last mia entry..did she plan another abduction or was she talking about what already had happened?

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