I expected this book with great anticipation because it was so incredibly hyped among the bookbloggers. However, I tried not to overstate my expectations. Because often I’ve been disappointed in such hyped books already.
Review contains minor spoilers
We get to know the Jensen family. Alex, Suzette and daughter Hannah. Unfortunately, they are not the perfect little family they look like. Mother and daughter have somehow entered a psychological warfare over Alex’s affection. Hannah, only 7 years old, refuses to speak. Simply because she does not want to communicate with words. Physically she is alright and healthy. She is highly intelligent, but varies between premature and very childish behaviour. She is capable of making clever conclusions, but on the other side, she often does not understand that her behaviour makes the exact opposite impression on the adults around her.
While Hannah is an interesting character after all, I had massive problems with the parents. Alex is a bit squishy somehow. But Suzette, I disliked her very much. Her Crohn’s disease is certainly terrible, but I found the heavy emphasis on the book tiresome. Some reviewers evidently found this topic especially notable. For me, however, it was just remarkably boring. Personally, I do not need such a detailed description, especially if it seems out of place, as here. The book is a dark domestic drama. The disease has certainly shaped the character of Suzette. But somehow it seemed more like a profound personal tragedy to push into the story. And give Hannah another starting point for harming her mother.
The problem with this book is that it is somehow not harmonious. On the one hand, it is a disturbing story about a sociopathic child who wants to do serious harm to her mother in order to keep her father to herself. Suzette would like to have Alex for herself, too. She quarrels with her motherhood on so many levels and it turns the story in a circle. Hannah is evil. But she is a child. She loves her. But actually she would like to get rid of her again. But she must not think that. This is how the same lines of thought always turn in a circle. Even after something happened, she worried about her child in a moment, only to think again a few minutes later that Hannah was trying to hurt her. Alex is just as inconsistent. This eternal back and forth of the two has annoyed me pretty much. Maybe that is what you feel as a parent but it somehow did not work in favour of the story.
The conclusion is also a little undecided. I somehow hoped for something, a twist maybe. Of course, Suzette as an adult wins this duel in the affection of Alex. But the end leaves it open, if it could perhaps go on with this very strange family.
I can not quite join he hype around this book. Yes, it is a dark and uncomfortable story. The basic idea is good. The author can also write very fluently. The pages flew just like that. For a long time, it’s all about how and with what Hannah will harm her mother. There is little story development there. Personally, the descriptions of Suzette’s disease are way too much. That was too much unnecessary information for me that did not contribute to the story. Reading this book is not a waste of time. But it is not a big loss if you skip it. It certainly did not deserve the big hype because it is too indecisive and inconsistent. But the author definitely can write well, and with all the dislike I felt for her characters, they are remarkable and memorable. I would read another book from her. Because despite all of its flaws, I think that I will remember this story for a long time.
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review