The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

The Good Girl Book Cover Twists, Turns and a Compelling Thriller – 4 Stars

During the last several years, the best thrillers have been stories with multiple perspectives, blatantly withheld information with a final big twist. The Good Girl does it better than some and not as well as other. While I took issue with some aspects of the story, on the whole, it was a worthy read.

Plot Summary

The story follows events leading up to, during and after the kidnapping of the main character, Mia. The majority of the story is told from the perspective of 3 major players in the plot – Mia’s mother, the investigating officer and the kidnapper. Within the first few paragraphs we are aware that this is not a normal kidnapping. Mia is protecting and seemingly in love with her captor. This is explained through two stories lines. In the “Before” we follow Mia during her time as a kidnap victim and in the “After” we follow Mia returned to her family but suffering from amnesia. Each of these stories unfold to reveal a complex story and an emotional journey.

My Take

I have come to enjoy this recently popular plot device. The multiple perspectives on the same incident present differing views on the same event and compelling and occasional contradicting clues and explanations. It is different from its predecessors as the plot doesn’t rely on an unreliable narrator. Instead, each narrator has a their perspective tainted by their own emotions and issues. Mia’s mother is fighting regret as she faces this ordeal. The investigating officer becomes emotionally involved in the case and fights feelings of loss for a family he never had. The most interesting of the bunch is the kidnapper. His mindset is…absurd. It is very difficult to understand how he views the world but it in intriguing to be inside his mind. Regardless, it makes him the most interesting and confounding character in the story.

Some readers will find elements of the story to be disturbing. There is some violence and I found the reactions of some of the characters to be very disturbing. The characters are emotional to the point that it borders on melodrama. Personally, this did not bother me as the story was focused on the characters and the emotion seemed to fit with each character’s personality. The element of the story that was the weakest was the big “twist”. It was clear as the story progressed that there was an element of the plot that was being withheld. This may be my personal opinion but when a story contains a big twist at the end, it should be such that it changes your view of most of what you have read. The twist shed some light on the behavior of some characters but it did very little to alter my view of the events. Additionally, I felt as if the author telegraphed the ending. There was very little surprise at the end. In my opinion, the story was excellent without the attempt to surprise the reader.

Final Thoughts

An excellent read. While not equal to Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train it held its own and was a compelling thriller. A good entrant into the recent string of similar mystery thrillers.

Content Advisories

It is difficult to find commentary on the sex/violence/language content of book if you are interested. I make an effort to give you the information so you can make an informed decision before reading. *Disclaimer* I do not take note or count the occurrences of adult language as I read. I am simply giving approximations.

Scale 1 – Lowest 5 – Highest

Sex 1.5

There were a couple of “adult” situations but nothing graphic.

Language

Mild Obscenities – Approx 175 F-Words – Approx 40 Religious Exclamations – 0

Violence 2.5

The story centers around a kidnapping which is a form of violence. There is a death and some gun play throughout.

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Tim Written by:

Tim is a lawyer, sports fan, parent, husband and book lover. He runs his own legal practice and is the founder of The Literary Lawyer book blog and a contributing writer for baseballbabble.com. Tim loves to share his love of reading by providing reviews to entertain as well as provide information to help you make an informed reading decision.

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