Saturday, 31 January 2015

Review: Daughter by Jane Shemilt

Book: Daughter

Author: Jane Shemilt

Pages: 392

I read it on: My Kindle

I read it in: 4 hours

Plot Summary: Jenny is a successful family doctor, the mother of three great teenagers, married to a celebrated neurosurgeon.

But when her youngest child, fifteen-year-old Naomi, doesn’t come home after her school play, Jenny’s seemingly ideal life begins to crumble. The authorities launch a nationwide search with no success. Naomi has vanished, and her family is broken.

As the months pass, the worst-case scenarios—kidnapping, murder—seem less plausible. The trail has gone cold. Yet for a desperate Jenny, the search has barely begun. More than a year after her daughter’s disappearance, she’s still digging for answers—and what she finds disturbs her. Everyone she’s trusted, everyone she thought she knew, has been keeping secrets, especially Naomi. Piecing together the traces her daughter left behind, Jenny discovers a very different Naomi from the girl she thought she’d raised.

What I Liked: Quick list:
  • I liked the premise of the book. Though not highly unique (it reminded me of Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight), this book seemed pretty interesting- missing teenager, parents trying to piece together her life and so on.. The book did not disappoint in that regard- it takes us back to the 17-odd days before the crime and then back to the present (one year later). 
  • The depiction of the 'after', i.e. the aftermath of Naomi going missing, was, I felt, rather well done. The disintegration of the family unit, the reaction of the mother- Jenny. Her self-loathing and inability to let go are well written. 
What I didn't like: Quite a few things:
  • The book lost its plot with the author over-doing the whole dual-income, dysfunctional family shtick! It took away any flavour of authenticity from the book and made it completely un-relatable! (SPOILERS) There was just too much wrong with Jenny's family- adulterous husband, druggie son, a struggling-with-his-sexuality son.. I mean, come on! (END SPOILERS). 
  • There was a lot of working mother guilt woven into the narrative, which is normal and totally fine- every working mom I know goes through these feelings. BUT. BUT... what I was not okay with was the subtle working mom bashing that was also woven in alongside. It was mostly Ted- the husband- making snarky comments about Jenny (she is a GP) not being home enough, but there is also a lot of working mom bashing happening via Jenny's character. Guilt, I get. Bashing working moms, I don't. 
  • Finally, the big reveal on what happened to Naomi was a major let down. It was so boring and safe and predictable. I bet the author thought she was throwing in a major twist, but I knew the perpetrator was shady the first time he showed up (very innocuously) in the book. Also, the final "twist" was so expected. 
Rating: 2/5 

If you want to read a good book on the same theme, then read Reconstructing Amelia- much better. 

1 comment:

Unknown said...

The cover is so similar to that of 'Room'.
Also I am the latest admirer of your blog. In love with the posts already ♡♥♡