Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Book Review - The End of Everything by Megan Abbott

Title: The End of Everything
Author: Megan Abbottx 
Year: 2011
Page: 256
Genre: Fiction

FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from the library

Summary (from
Thirteen-year-old Lizzie Hood and her next-door neighbor, Evie Verver, are inseparable, best friends who swap clothes, bathing suits, and field-hockey sticks and between whom -- presumably -- there are no secrets. Then one afternoon, Evie disappears, and as a rabid, giddy panic spreads through the balmy suburban community, everyone turns to Lizzie for answers. Was Evie unhappy, troubled, or upset? Had she mentioned being followed? Would she have gotten into the car of a stranger?

Compelled by curiosity, Lizzie takes up her own furtive pursuit of the truth. Haunted by dreams of her lost friend and titillated by her own new power as the center of the disappearance, Lizzie uncovers secret after secret and begins to wonder if she knew anything at all about her best friend. MEGAN ABBOTT has taught literature, writing, and film at New York University and the State University of New York at Oswego. In 2002, Palgrave Macmillan published her nonfiction study, The Street Was Mine: White Masculinity in Hardboiled Fiction and Film Noir. She is also the author of the Edgar Award -winning Queenpin.

First Sentence:
She, light-streaky out of the corner of my eye.

My Thoughts:

  • I wanted to read this book after reading BermudaOnion's review (see here). She loved it, even though she said it was a bit creepy. But this sentence, "It’s a book that will really make you think and question what you see." sold me.
  • I'd say it up front - I don't like this book AT ALL. Mostly because of the content, but I did not like the writing either. I even had to re-read the first sentence (see above), not a good start. Some reviewers described her prose as lyrical - definitely not my style (State of Wonder by Ann Patchett may have been an exception for me as I was drawn in with her "lyrical" writing. My review here). I glazed over parts of the book, or I found myself reading the book and not really taking it in and having to re-read paragraphs... and that happened quite a few times throughout the book. I just couldn't really get engaged or absorbed in the story. I thought about giving up but somehow didn't as I wanted to find out what happened. Should probably have given in because her writing was the least of my problem
  • The protagonist was a 13 years old girl, but her voice sounded way older. While the premise was about a missing girl (which was why I was interested in reading, being a thriller lover), nothing much really happened until the last 20 pages. I really wouldn't call this a thriller / mystery / murder / suspense at all. Some called it a coming-of-age story, and well since I don't really like reading this genre, I'd just trust their opinion. Several reviews compared it the Lovely Bones but I have not read that book or watched the movie, so I couldn't compare.
  • The plot also seemed not quite plausible - unless the cops were really incompetent.  The ending was okay since it was a twist and involved a "what if" scenario so that did make you think.
  • But the content really disturbed me and made me uncomfortable - and this is coming from someone who typically do not get disturbed reading about serial killers or body parts being dissected or internal organs spilling out. I guess we all have different level of tolerance on different topic. In this case, I don't think anyone under 18, especially girls, should read this book. While it is NOT graphic, it is what is implied that is disturbing. If I have a daughter I wouldn't want her getting ideas. It made me question why the author decided to write this book - what was her goal? What was the message she was trying to deliver? My first reaction after finishing this book was disgusted. Granted, things like this story may happen in real life, but I still wonder about the author's motivation on writing such a book. I'd elaborate a little bit more but will put in a spoiler tag in case you don't want to know: [SPOILER] a reviewer called it a reverse of a pedophile story, and I agreed. This is about 13yo girls' desire to get older men's attention (male figures related to them or not), and this is to put it mildly. [/SPOILER]
  • There are LOTS of very positive reviews of this book out there though, so it's probably just me. And this topic just touched my nerve I guess and made me feel uneasy. Some reviewers also said those who like psychological thrillers or crime novels would love it. I want to know if my fellow-bloggers who are into murder/mystery/suspense/thrillers genre would agree.

Overall Rating:

1 Star. Not for me at all because of the content. Also too slow-paced and too "lyrical" for me.

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1 comment:

  1. It sounds as though we had a very similar reaction to this book. I didn't enjoy the writing style either. :-(

    I have read and watched The Lovely Bones and the only similarity is the subject matter. I loved watching and reading The Lovely Bones. Perhaps you'll have more luck with that one.