June 26, 2015

Where They Found Her

"Where They Found Her" is Kimberly McCreight's second novel.  It did not disappoint. It is an engaging book filled with twists and red herrings.

The "her" in the title pertains to more than just the dead body of a newborn infant girl found in Cedar Creek, at the edge of Ridgedale University. It also alludes to the three women whose three different points-of-view comprise the narration of this mystery novel. They are Molly, Sandy, and Barbara.

Molly is a reporter in the small town paper. Molly is also a mother to a young daughter, and a mother who recently lost another baby. She is a woman who has battled depression. So getting this next assignment hits quite close to home. Yes, her personal pain affects her work. Yes, the line between work life and family life blurs. Yes, the case she is writing about pushes her to her limits. But this makes her want to know more, makes her more persistent and more responsive to the clues that present themselves to her.

Sandy is a tough teen-aged dropout who's forced to to be a "mother" to her own mother.  She is the one who saves for a rainy day, then finds her money stolen by family. She is the one checking on her parent, always anxious. She is the one who adjusts to her older tutor, giving assurances constantly . In her unstable life, Sandy has to step up and be strong for others always, despite her own needs.

Barbara is mother to Hannah and Cole who are 12 years apart, and wife to chief-of-police Steve. She is trying to build a picture-perfect life. She shows a very pulled-together look but is frantic inside. Always defensive and protective of her family, she eventually turns a blind eye to the truths in front of her.

Three different women:

One goes into depression yet eventually comes up for air.

One forces herself into the role of a grown-up, handling too much too soon.

One denies and represses and blames, until it is too late.

These are characters we identify with.  We all juggle relationships, responsibilities, guilts and histories. We all strive for normalcy. But the order of things is not always how we require them to line up.  We find ourselves in difficult circumstances.  We find ourselves where we are, not as we pictured it, unplanned and unprepared.

Past finds its way to the present as the end of the story is reached. The book will pull out surprises you didn't expect.

I'm reading McCreight's "Reconstructing Amelia" next.

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