Book Review: Reconstructing Amelia

Amelia

I don’t remember why I picked up this book – I think I became a little more interested in mystery-type novels after going on a huge Gillian Flynn kick last year. Speaking of whom, I only found out after I read this book that it was being called “the next Gone Girl,” and I have to say, I’m really glad I didn’t know that before I started reading. Dear reader, my best advice to you if you’re going to read this book is to put this comparison aside. I don’t think it’s fair to either book to compare them.

Reconstructing Amelia is a whodunnit (and maybe also a howdunnit) that mature kids or preteens would probably be comfortable reading, but that kept my attention well throughout. It’s nearly 400 pages, and I read it in two days. Despite Kimberly McCreight’s sometimes clunky writing style (I’m not exactly sure how to describe it, except to say that I often was aware while reading that someone was writing, and not fully immersed in the story), she has crafted a storyline that is unique, interesting and compelling. I simply could not put it down.

From the very first chapter in Reconstructing Amelia, it’s clear that you’re going to spend the entire book in search of an answer to the question of whether Amelia’s death was an accident or not. So there’s quite a bit of build-up while you’re reading, anticipating the climax. There are clues throughout, but I can’t say I was sure the ending would pan out the way it did. Let’s just say it was one of my theories.

Many of my fellow Goodreads users couldn’t get past the writing style in this novel. Honestly, it did bother me a bit, too. The whole “I’m-a-working-mom-but-I-still-knew-my-daughter-better-than-anyone-else-or-did-I” theme was extremely heavy-handed. Some of the characters were one-dimensional. But if you’re going to be too stuck up to enjoy a very enjoyable story because of writing technique and nuances, I think you’re really doing yourself a disservice by skipping this book. After mulling it over a bit, I think it’s one of the more fun reads I’ve picked up in awhile. Definitely recommended.

Did you read Reconstructing Amelia? What did you think? Is it fair to compare it to a novel like Gone Girl?

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3 thoughts on “Book Review: Reconstructing Amelia

  1. One of the thing that annoyed me to no end about this book was the ridiculous text-speak in Amelia’s text messages. Maybe it was just me, but even when I was a teenager, I rarely used all those abbreviations, and for a girl like Amelia who was so highly intelligent, it just seemed so unrealistic that she would use text-speak like that. It felt very much like an adult thinking, “Now how do kids these days do this whole ‘texting’ thing?”

    I also agree that the “I know my kid” thing was definitely very heavy-handed. It was like, okay mom, we get it, now stop whining and figure out what the hell happened to your daughter.

    Overall, though, I did really like this one.

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