The Good Girl is a book that initially interested me because of other people’s interest in it, and its compelling book cover and title (yep, I’m that shallow). It’s been compared to Gone Girl and been lauded as a suspenseful psychological thriller. I do enjoy thrillers with complex female protagonists such as book The Girl on the Train and the movie Gone Girl. So I was hoping to like this book as well. Unfortunately, it fell short of my expectations…
I’ll begin with the good things about The Good Girl. It starts off strong with descriptive, engaging writing. The author paints a clear picture of every setting: from the city of Chicago to the house of the Dennetts and to the log cabin of Minnesota where the antagonist hides Mia, the Dennetts’ daughter. It’s great for a sensory experience, especially when you’re listening to the audiobook version as I did.
Another thing I appreciated about the book was how she humanised the antagonist Colin Thatcher. She writes him in a way that makes you absolutely hate him at times but sympathise with him at others. Not an easy thing to do. And by the end of the book, you’re not really sure which character is the antagonist. I’m not sure if this is a good or bad thing but I like the ambiguity. People are not simple and characters should not be simple either.
However, there were a lot of things I didn’t like about this book. Although the detail was great, I felt like a lot of it added nothing to the plot and that there was too much description over dialogue. And when there was dialogue, it was boring. The writing style also didn’t fit within the genre. I expect more action and less description in a thriller, and like I said, this book just had way too much description. Instead, it slowed down the pace of the story.
This was another problem I had with the story–the pacing. It felt as if hardly anything was happening in the novel and all the characters were at a standstill. The story is told from three main points of views: from Eve (Mia’s mother), Gabe (the detective investigating Mia’s disappearance) and Colin (Mia’s abductor). There is not only a shift in viewpoint throughout the novel but also from before Mia’s disappearance to after she is found. These jumps in time made it confusing and jarring for me, and I feel that these jumps in narrative perspective and time slowed down the pace even more.
I would have liked to hear more of Mia’s point of view. I understand this was probably a conscious choice on the part of the writer but I found it frustrating to hear very little of Mia’s perspective. Throughout the book, she seems passive and one-dimensional.
Another thing that I and others who read the book noticed was that Kubica constantly makes mention of skin colour, and compartmentalises characters and groups based on their skin colour. I felt uncomfortable with the racial distinctions the characters make in the novel and felt the comments throughout the book served no purpose (unless Kubica’s intention was to show some of her characters’ prejudice against other people).
I give this audiobook 1 star out of 5 because the cons outweighed the pros. The pacing was very slow and the story was dull. I found it quite difficult to finish but I wanted to give it a fair shot and so I listened to the whole book. Judging by some of the other reviews I’ve seen on Goodreads, some people dislike it and others love it. So if you’re interested, I would definitely recommend giving it a chance.