I have a pile of books I want to read next to my bed (okay, on my bed, I tend to fall asleep with my books like they are so many teddy bears) but I keep buying McFadden’s books. Want to Know a Secret? is yet another quick read, but sadly it’s the weakest book by far. The book centers on a woman named April who has a YouTube cooking show and an unknown enemy who keeps sending her nasty text messages. Is it one of the other rich suburban moms? Her new next-door neighbor? Her husband’s gorgeous secretary? Whoever it is, they’re venomous. And then…murder!
There is absolutely nothing new about this plot. I remember reading an old Shirley Jackson story about poison pen letters (“The Possibility of Evil,” love her stories). There is an Agatha Christie novel as well, whose name escapes me. But a familiar story doesn’t mean it’s dull. For the most part it held my interest.
However, the protagonist is like nails on a chalkboard. She’s a privileged, self-centered suburbanite whose whining self-pity almost had me chucking the book half-way through. I was also initially irritated by the protagonist in McFadden’s The Housemaid, but as the plot unfolded so did the character, and by the end I understood why she was the way she was. Fortunately in this book, the plot makes a hard turn midway through and things start to move at a clip. But it loses its momentum, culminating in an unsatisfying ending. It wasn’t a bad ending, per se, but by the time I got there I didn’t really care anymore.
Given all this you would think I considered it a waste of time. But I don’t! It’s good for what it is and it was entertaining enough that I’m not sorry I read it. I put The Age of Innocence aside to read this book, and I swear I’m getting back to it. But popping potboiler bon bons is a good way to spend my time too.