This week I finished reading Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll. My feeling about the book now that I am done is positive, but it was a rough start. In the beginning, our main character, TifAni, is downright caustic…even a little vulgar. I found myself wondering if I was reading about a sociopath hiding in society behind a nice job, nice clothes, and a nice fiance. I forced myself to push on.
As the book continues and you begin to learn about the secrets in her past that are alluded to throughout the beginning of the book, you start to learn why she is like that. Her personality starts to soften as you learn about the things that Ani went through at her private preppy high school, The Bradley School. By the end of the book, I was totally on Ani’s side and I started rooting for her to make the right decisions as the book comes to a close.
The writing itself was tough in some spots. The book goes back and forth between the past and the present, and sometimes, I had to use context to figure out where we were. The way that the author described sequential events was tough for me too…I guess I like more detail than she provided sort of taking you through an event from beginning to end and her writing was a little more choppy. Her description of an event was almost like snap shots as opposed a movie, not as continuous as I like.
Being a high school teacher & spending my days with adolescents, a lot of this book was familiar to me. The struggle for acceptance that doesn’t actually end after high school (we just don’t care as much) is very visible in my students. Even the way some of my students act like they don’t care about being accepted….they are actually gaining acceptance by others like them. Clothes, sneakers, backpacks, phones, earbuds, jewelry, lunch bags, hair style/color…..these are all badges they wear to present to their peers. They search for others that have the same badges. Sometimes they search for peers that have better badges, badges that they envy and want. High school is tough for many teens, thankfully it only lasts 4 years. From this book though, even though she was an extreme case that went through some traumatic things, our main character was still being plagued by things that happened in high school even in her late twenties.
Now, this is probably the 3rd book that I have read since the summer where the main female character had a dysfunctional relationship with an overbearing status-obsessed mother.
What’s up with that?
Can’t we write a fun, interesting, book with a female character that has a strong bond with her mother? Is that just not interesting? Is that not typical in the “preppy” world where many of the books I like are based? The Nanny Diaries that I read this past summer showed a nice relationship with parents with Nanny….but obviously Mr. & Mrs. X were not model parents. The Secret Life of Violet Grant, Everybody Rise, and now Luckiest Girl Alive all had weird family dynamics with the main characters. Elin Hildebrand’s books which I love in the summer usually have some good mother daughter relationships. I usually read one of her lovely Nantucket based books each summer, so perfect for the beach!
I hope that you all have great weekends ahead. After an awesome riding lesson last night, I am setting off into a horse filled weekend. I am working on my jumping skills and last night took a very forward, borderline impossible to stop, horse over cross rails. So fun. Happy Friday! TGIF!