Monday, November 5, 2012

Dead Lovely-Helen Fitzgerald

Dead Lovely-Helen Fitzgerald

the facts
satisfaction: up
pages: 298
gender: F
nationality: UK
year: 2007

"Krissie and Sarah had been best friends since they were children. But cracks start to appear when Sarah and her husband Kyle who have been trying unsuccessfully to have a baby and Krissie accidentally becomes pregnant following a drug-fuelled dalliance in a Tenerife toilet cubicle. Then one night friendship turns to betrayal, and to murder."

I surprised myself at how much I enjoyed it. The first page seems like you're about to read this gritty and crude detective novel but then it gets funny. There's funny ha-has going on and funny irony going on and it's funny. There's a lot of trying to shock and outright absurdity but it somehow ends up really funny instead. It has a head-long rush of a pacing strategy that makes it very hard to put down. I read it while flying at 4am and waiting hours in airports and I still enjoyed it. That's really impressive.

Probably most of that was the good characters. Sometimes Fitzgerald uses archetypes but she fleshes them out enough that you end up liking them anyway. The main three characters are terrible and do selfish horrible things but you end up rooting for them anyway. Even better, considering the aggressive marketing towards women this book has, is that there is no clearly bad character guy and no downbeaten character that's somehow all of womankind. We're not supposed to empathize or sympathize with the character, Sarah, who wants a baby and in fact, Krissie seems more true to real life because of her irritation with Sarah's obsession. This is the dark side of female friendships tempered with the good things that remind you why you're friends.

This book is not for everyone. This is a commercial book but not one that's in the same mold as most. It's over the top, full of swearing, crude sex, and absurdist humor. Read the first full chapter to see if you borrow/buy it.

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