Good As Gone by Amy Gentry

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“I used to want the world for Julie. Now I just want something to bury.”

That heavy little line above tows a world of meaning and sorrow. Most parents have either lost sight of their child (if even for a second), or had a nightmare where their child is missing and plunged into the clawing hell of not knowing what happened, but most of us wake up or find the little angel quietly hiding from us. Not so for this family. Younger sister Jane watches in terror as her older sister Julie is abducted from her bedroom in the middle of the night. The sole witness to the crime, how can anyone be sure of what she saw? The years pass and the missing child billboards fade and crumble as much as her family. When hope is a dead thing, Julie returns (or a woman claiming to be her). Could it be real? Anna has her doubts, and things are not adding up but what began as an abduction has grown into it’s own monster. If this is Julia, she is different but surely that’s expected? What is wrong with her? Without giving anything away, this is more than just an abduction story, and it’s not really so fantastical in the world we live in today- to me that is the horrifying truth.
Aside from Julie’s return, there is Jane. Jane, how different a person would Jane have turned out to be if her sister had never been taken? Since that horrible night, she has floated away from her mother as much as her mother has disengaged. She should be happy her sister is home, but how does one cope with being the forgotten remaining daughter and welcome her sister’s glorious return without feeling resentment toward her parents? My emotions were knotted as a mother, because I can imagine blaming myself in Anna’s shoes. I think most people either cling and suffocate any child still alive or they distance themselves feeling like a failure, afraid to hold on tightly knowing the winds of fate can steal everything from you. And the marriage… of course her marriage suffers, but is her husband as strong as she she assumed? Maybe Julie isn’t the only one hoarding secrets.
This was really good. There are so many dark thrillers out there that it can feel overdone, but not this time. Good as Gone takes a different road in it’s darkness. I went from sure of what I thought to confused and surprised. Well done!

 

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Pub Date: Jul 26 2016  |
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