Can we talk about the twist in The Girl Before?

6:55:00 AM

I considered putting  "Girl' in the title of my new novel, but now I'm glad I didn't, it is getting crowded out there. How many "Girl' titles came out this year anyway?




Anyway, on to The Girl Before


What's it about: 
Written by J.P. Delaney ( a pseudonym) The Girl Before takes aim, violently so, at those who wish to live a stark, clean and austere life. Marie Kondo gone bad.
Two women, Emma and Jane, get the opportunity to live in a stark minimalist house. An architectural marvel, that is surprisingly affordable. If you are willing to follow a long list of rules. So is this a keep-only-what-sparks-joy kind of a deal?
Emma and Jane are both miserable. Emma is traumatized, she was raped during a burglary and her clumsy boyfriend Simon doesn't know how to make her feel safe again.
And Jane just went through a stillbirth. 
The storyline skips between Emma and Jane, past and present, following almost the same path. Both women meet the mysterious architect who designed the house. Both women intrigued by his detachment and strictness fall for the guy. Till they find out the house was designed as a shrine to his dead wife and child.
Before they know it, he goes all Shades of grey on them and the house, that for both of them became a safe heaven away from the nasty world, starts to turn against them. 
Both women poke the hornets nest, trying to find if this landlord is a lover or a killer. At least for one of them that investigation ends in the worst possible way. 

What I liked:
The structure of this thriller is satisfying. Like the minimalistic philosophy behind the house it is neat, symmetric and without embellishments,  effective and measured. It makes for a very easy read. 
It reminded me of Sliver by Ira Levin. 
The two characters are well defined and likable.
And it gets very creepy, really soon. 

What I didn't like:
This book came out in January 2017. Strange how fast something can feel out of touch. I am now going to discuss the big plot twist, so if you haven't read it yet, let me just finish the review for you here, great thriller, problematic subject matter, come back when you are done.
Spoiler Alert:
Halfway through it comes out that Emma made her rape up. She offers a contorted reason for it, she is called a bunny boiler and in the end it never becomes clear what exactly happened. Was it an assault or consensual? I couldn't enjoy the story much after that, a story about a woman accusing more than one man falsely of sexual assault irked me. especially when she is painted as mentally unstable.
The tone was already set, by having these two women fall for this man who offers nothing more than rough sex, strange foods, and a weird way of seeing the outside world.
The ending had one last satisfying twist, too bad about this Fatal Attraction cliché.
Did you read The Girl before?






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