I cannot tell a lie, most of the motivation for starting this particular book was because I knew I already had a pretty picture of it I could use for the review.
Because as much as I’m finding actually sitting down and forcing out one review a fortnight challenging the toughest bit is always putting together the photograph. Because it’s January and I work 9-5; I can’t remember the last time I was at home when there was some natural light to use.
And wahoo, now I’m 100 words into this review without even having had to mention the title. This reviewing stuff is easy peasy.
Dear Daughter is a thriller released to ride on the Gone Girl bandwagon – not that I’ve read Gone Girl yet, one step at a time. Of the Lindsey Lohan/Paris Hilton set, Jane Jenkins was a professional celebrity – famous for being rich and shameless. Until at age 17 she was arrested for the murder of her mother. A technicality in her court case means she’s released from prison after ten years of her sentence. No one but her lawyer thinks she’s innocent, even Jane isn’t sure, and all she has to go on is one tiny lead, but she heads off to rural South Dakota on the run from the tabloids (in that classic disguise of gawky historian) to try and work out who did kill her mother.
I bought it almost entirely on the recommendation of one poster at Nuneaton train station that I stared at for twenty minutes while waiting for a train. So that ad company can give themselves a pat on the back. I think the ‘Gone Girl meets Mean Girls’ tagline really sold it to me. But looking at that now and it’s a bit misplaced – it’s trying to be Gone Girl and it’s trying to be Mean Girls but like a person stood on one side of a ravine trying to leap to the other side it’s sprawled in the middle flat on its face.
From pages 60 to 200 it was properly, couldn’t put it down even though it was getting to the wrong side of midnight, gripping. But once I did put it down I soon stopped thinking about.
I think my biggest problem was the characters. Jane, of course, goes on a journey from cold hearted bitch to slightly less cold hearted bitch but other than that she’s pretty one dimensional. Which I think is more down to the inadequate information given about her mother’s character. A lot of Jane’s flaws are supposedly traceable to the lack of love from her mother but even now I’ve finished the book I couldn’t start to picture her mother. She was never given a coherent personality.
And almost all of that could have been forgiven if the ending had been properly shocking. That is what this genre of book is all about after all. But although it was very dramatic and everything, I saw it coming from some way off. Of course, once she ended up in that tiny little town the potential for surprise was somewhat limited.
And I’ve just remembered that I paid full price for it (or as close to full price as I get – it was part of buy two get one free offer in Waterstones) which I’m glad I hadn’t remembered while I was reading it. When a book is 100 pages long and cost £1.50 it doesn’t have to do much to give a good return. When it’s 400 pages and £8 I want to have my socks knocked off. But that’s not really what this book does.