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Archive for May, 2017

cover106809-mediumAll the Good Things, by Claire Fisher
Publication date: 1st June 2017
Publisher: Penguin Books

Synopsis:

Twenty-one year old Beth is in prison. The thing she did is so bad she doesn’t deserve ever to feel good again. But her counsellor, Erika, won’t give up on her. She asks Beth to make a list of all the good things in her life.

So Beth starts to write down her story, from sharing silences with Foster Dad No. 1, to flirting in the Odeon on Orange Wednesdays, to the very first time she sniffed her baby’s head. But at the end of her story, Beth must confront the bad thing.

What is the truth hiding behind her crime? Does anyone – even a 100% bad person – deserve a chance to be good?

My thoughts:

4 stars out of 5

I really enjoyed this book, and read it very quickly. The narrator, Bethany, is both engaging and sympathetic while being the typical unreliable narrator. The author has carefully constructed her character, backstory and current story, weaving these strands in and out of one another in a very artful way.

The only reason I gave this book 4 instead of 5 stars is because I felt that the central conflict was a little contrived: Bethany is in prison and we don’t know what she did to get there. She knows, but she doesn’t tell the reader despite the first person confession-style narrative. I understand that this is compelling, and I kept reading to find out – but the author should be more confident in her writing style and plotting ability. The plot is great, and doesn’t necessarily need the ‘what did she do?’ question to keep the reader engaged.

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