The Good Girl is one in a slew of novels compared to Gillian Flynn’s books, and so of course I had to check it out myself. That and I heard a girl in the bookstore telling her friend that it was good. I settled on it only after deciding that the girls weren’t secret Indigo agents paid to stand around and praise books (it could happen?). The Good Girl looks like a classic case of Stockholm Syndrome, but develops into a detailed investigation of family dynamics.
The Good Bits.
One of the unique things about this novel is that you do not read from the main character’s point-of-view until the end. Instead, when Mia Dennett disappears you experience the before-and-after of her kidnapping. You read as her mother struggles to remember the times when she stood up for her daughter. You see her kidnapper, Colin Thatcher, decide how best to lure her into his trap. You see Mia through the eyes of others. While you might think this would put a distance between the reader and Mia, I would disagree. It felt like watching a reality show where you get involved in everyone’s lives in a fly-on-the-wall way.
The benefit of not giving Mia’s point-of-view is that you only know her as others do. Kubica uses this to her advantage and sculpts many versions of Mia. There’s the Mia that Colin knows, the Mia her mother knows, and the Mia that appears post-kidnapping. The mistake I made, was taking any of these version at face value. The Mia Dennett that you meet at the end of the novel is more complicated than any of the individual personas.
If you do not like romance, chances are, you will not like this book. It seems like false advertising to market this as a mystery/thriller, because a big chunk of it focuses on romantic relationships. Further, because Kubica has at least a third of the book in the point-of-view of the kidnapper, there’s no whodunit factor.
The Stockholm-Syndrome type relationship between Mia and Colin is the most prevalent romance. I like a good romance element, but I felt ‘icky’ about the whole thing. The feminist in me thought it was terrible to portray a romantic relationship between a woman and a man that’s holding her hostage. Especially since Colin regularly threatens Mia with a gun. The romantic part of me, to which I assume Kubica is appealing, tried to understand his background and circumstances. The aim is for you to become more understanding of the conditions that can put a person in Colin’s position. To feel more sympathetic because he’s technically helping Mia. But in the end I still felt unsettled about the whole thing.
I kept waiting for something Flynn-esque to happen. Waiting. And waiting. And waiting some more, before I finally gave up and accepted it as a romance novel. This isn’t all that The Good Girl is, but it felt like it. And, without spoiling anything, it wasn’t much more than that.
The Last Bite.
The Good Girl is a novel I would recommend for someone looking for a light thriller. This is for someone who thought Gone Girl was a little bit much, but doesn’t want to read a ‘tame’ mystery. If you want a touch of darkness and a lot of character involvement, this is the book for you.
Would you like a book where you didn’t get the main character’s POV?
Have you read The Good Girl? Let me know what you thought!
Let’s do lunch again next week!
*please note, if you purchase the book through the link provided I will receive a commission. However, this is not a sponsored post. I was not paid to write it, and all my opinions are my own