Something She's Not Telling Us, Darcey Bell: A Review
I was quick to put this on my TBR after enjoying A Simple Favor so much.
Charlotte doesn't like her brother's new girlfriend. Ruth tries hard. She has an anecdote for every occasion and wants the family to love her, especially Charlotte's six year old daughter, Daisy. The harder she tries, however, the more wary Charlotte becomes. After returning from a family trip to Mexico, Charlotte goes to pick Daisy up from school to find that Ruth has taken her. A frantic give-and-take between the past and present follows, and we see there's more to Ruth than meets the eye. Okay. That's the best word to summarize this book. It was okay. Notably, Bell's writing style is witty and fresh. She's got a good handle on conversation with eerie/awkward undertones, and you feel the unease on every page. Her narrators are unreliable and mostly unlikable. Charlotte demonizes sugar and lies about many personal things. Her husband comes off as lazy and aloof. The brother is disinterested and adrift, struggling with alcohol and issues with his mother. Daisy, precocious and sharp-minded for a six year old, is the most likable, but oftentimes, her dialogue didn't match her age for me. And Ruth, the epitome of unreliable narrator. Everything she says is skewed or a lie--even though the internal moments are only supposed to be with herself. Nothing we're told is true. A chronic liar with a penchant for storytelling, Ruth thrives when she's holding the attention of an audience but crumbles under direct pressure. Stemming from a traumatic childhood with her grandparents, I think, she may have a dissociative disorder? The diagnosis never comes; this is not a study on mental health, but rather a disjointed series of flashbacks that leads to an anticlimactic break from reality. If the payoff is supposed to be from the "big reveal," you won't find it in Something She's Not Telling Us. Indeed, the events are predictable and sometimes annoying in their execution. And while there are witty exchanges, none of the characters have really grown, changed, or progressed from beginning to end. The climax is watered down, and ultimately, I wanted more. Overall, Something She's Not Telling Us is a roller coaster of lies on a continuous loop. Readable, but not a favorite.