‘Reconstructing Amelia:’ Book Review

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

This is the first novel I’ve read in what feels like years, but is really just some months. Maybe because the last 10 or so I read were part of my school’s curriculum rather than for enjoyment. But that chapter of my life is closed, so in any event, a co-worker recommended this one and I finally got around to it and decided to do a review.

In this whodunit/borderline detective novel, Kate Baron and some of her acquaintances (some friends, some lovers, some pretenders) try to figure out the mystery behind her teenage daughter’s death. The questions at hand are, did she really commit suicide like the police originally said she did, or did someone temporarily get away with murder and if so, who?

This book is definitely a page-turner with all of it’s plots, twists and turns. I found it hard not to sympathize with Kate, who is successful career wise, but as a single mother struggles with balancing her busy professional life with her personal one. And no matter how disappointed Amelia is over her mother’s absence, or how much Kate wants to be there, Amelia still remains patient and Kate continues to do the best that she knows how. This makes it that much more saddening to know that the two never really get the chance to have the mother-daughter relationship they both want.

McCreight did a good enough job keeping the real culprit a mystery throughout the story; I had my suspicions about some of the characters, but ultimately I didn’t know for sure until the end when it was officially revealed. I’m gonna get literary for a bit and say that there were too many flat characters though. I feel like the story wouldn’t have been much different without, say, Detective Molina or Kate’s pen pal in Africa (whose name escapes me right now for some reason). I suppose Detective Molina did give readers something to think about and point fingers at, but the pen pal, not so much.

Overall, this felt more like young adult fiction…which is fine for what it is. I give it 3.5 stars (maybe 4) out of 5.

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