Actually, Elizabeth Little’s Dear Daughter does have a bit in common with Gone Girl (and Flynn’s other novels) — primarily, that you’ll kind of hate the main character. I will say, however, that Janie Jenkins will grow on you, and I found this novel to be pretty damn compelling. You just have to give yourself about 50 pages to get used to Janie’s voice — I couldn’t stand her at the beginning, but I was rooting for her by the end.
“Self-pity is the sun around which we orbit, the great gravitational force that rules those of use for whom Things Didn’t Quite Turn Out.”
When she was 16, socialite Janie Jenkins was imprisoned for the brutal murder of her mother. 10 years later, she’s released on a technicality. Unfortunately, the general public (and specifically, a gossip hound named Trace) remain convinced that Janie really did the deed. Even more unfortunate is the fact that Janie’s not quite sure that she didn’t do it. So when she leaves prison, she’s determined to find out what actually happened.
This is a fast paced novel, with secrets spilling out every few minutes — some predictable, some quite surprisingly. Like I said, Janie’s voice starts out pretty annoying — here’s a pretty typical Janie tidbit: “I turned at a noise from the hallway—but it was just Bones. He was lying on his back, licking his paws. If only men were as easy to handle as dogs. Wait a second—they totally are.” But you get used to her, and the steel at the center of her character makes up for her other faults.