“Dear Amy” – a book I was too *thrilled* to plow through

Pun intended.

Some people say, “leave the best for last”. Well, nope. That’s exactly NOT what I’ll be doing. And no, I am not going to be dropping a pile of harsh critics on this book, either. Simply put, I had to force myself through it; it wasn’t brilliant, but it wasn’t terrible, either. And I rarely give up on books, mind you that!

If your copy of this book is from Penguin Books, you’ll notice its front cover has its title printed to look like it has been written on a sheet of paper, with three crossed-through lines in black right below: “I’ve been kidnapped by a strange man. I don’t know what to do and nobody knows I’m here. I’m afraid that people will stop looking for me,”, and then, right underneath, written in red, with bigger letters, “Please find me”. Tickles your curiosity, eh?

For me, it was the change from third person in the prologue to first person for the rest of the novel. I might be a peculiar little devil, but if there’s one thing to know about the books I like, it’s that I prefer it when the story is either in the first person, or in the third. No mixes. No in-betweens. That irks. And most likely I’m not the only one who’s noticed.

Now, the story itself sounds pretty interesting. A girl, Bethan Avery, gets kidnapped and goes missing and then gets discovered some years later by our main character, the high-school teacher Margot Lewis, in a strange way, say, through letters addressed to a local advice column?… Yeah, I’m sure something in that last part of the sentence bugs you, too. On one hand, yes, this kind of idea definitely has it in itself for a fascinating story. But on the other hand… how the hell does Bethan have the time to send letters while kidnapped? And how is she even still alive?

At first, the pace was just as quick as needed, but after a while I felt like it kind of slowed down, and the story started splattering all over the place like fresh blood from a corpse left to be drained of it (excuse the colourful metaphor, but hey, we’re talking thrillers here! Murder, mystery, and all the arr!). The chapters were stretched and a touch longer than I would have liked them to be, and some moments felt like they were not realistic enough for a thriller. There were some confusing parts, and then there were some parts that just weren’t strong enough.

Most likely, though, the disappointment came, because I was too used to reading Gillian Flynn-esque thrillers – and, truth be told, I picked up “Dear Amy” immediately after reading “Sharp Objects” and could not help but notice the difference in the two writing styles, which, of course left me feeling weird about “Dear Amy”. My frequency was simply not tuned for this one book. And it is, probably, charming, in its weird little ways.

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