I couldn’t remember where I’d seen this book recommended and that made me I think understandably cautious. The general summary—it’s about the daughter of a female serial killer and her life after turning in her own mother—made me more cautious. But I gave it a go because ebooks from the library have made me much more freewheeling in my reading choices. And you know what, I’m glad I did.
I think I was still reeling from My Absolute Darling (dear christ do not read that book). Both, after all, are books about teenage girls living in and surviving traumatic, abusive houses. In both our protagonist has deeply flawed ways of dealing with the hand she was dealt. In both she has suffered severe physical and sexual abuse. But, and I think this is key, one was written by a man and one was written by a woman and therein lies a lot of the difference. Also, one is a good writer and one isn’t.
Good Me Bad Me takes what could easily have been a fluff thriller and gives it layers. The unreliable narrator felt a bit cliche, sure, but cliches are popular for a reason. I liked that nothing was clear cut, that the writing style felt like a true first person narration even as it seemed to jerk sharply from left to right. This is a book that could have been just deeply exploitative and instead felt truly like Milly’s story as we learned what she wanted to tell us, when she wanted to tell us. It also deals somewhat with the rarity of female serial killers, something I find kind of darkly fascinating.
I really do recommend this book, probably more than the other two I’ve reviewed so far. It won’t be for everyone—as I mentioned, trauma, abuse, PTSD—but it’s a good winter read when the sun sets just too goddamn early.