On the cover of the book and in book reviews that I have read about this novel, it is compared to Gone Girl, the Gillian Flynn book that was made into a movie of the same name. I cannot figure that comparison out. The books are hardly similar! I can think of only one common denominator in Reconstructing Amelia and Gone Girl. The story “stars” a female…ok…and also the fact that you aren’t sure who the culprit in the story is. Other than that, they are not all that similar.
Kate Baron is a lawyer and a single mother. Her daughter Amelia, who is 15 years old, goes to a private school in Brooklyn. She is an excellent student; her teachers would all say she has great potential…intelligent, involved in sports, in all sorts of extracurricular activities, volunteers….in short, the perfect student.
One day Kate gets a call while in an important meeting…a call she takes because she is expecting to hear from someone. The call happens to be from the dean of students at her daughter’s school. Kate is told that Amelia has been suspended for some reason and that she needs to pick her up as soon as possible. When she finally gets to Grace Hall she finds out that not only was Amelia suspended for cheating…Amelia was dead! She fell from the school’s roof. The death is ruled a suicide by the police and as time goes on Kate tries to deal with and come to grips with this horrible tragedy.
“Four weeks, two days, and sixteen hours” after Amelia fell to her death, Kate goes back to work for the first time. A bit later in the day she receives a text saying “Amelia didn’t jump.” Kate must find out if this is true and begins by looking through Amelia’s e-mails, texts, and Facebook posts hoping to find anything that would point to anyone who would want to do her harm.
Each chapter begins with several parts….a blog that students at Amelia’s school read called “gRaCeFULLY”, Amelia’s texts…usually with her friend Ben, who she actually never met in person…or with friends from school, and her Facebook posts. Then there is “Amelia” written from her point of view followed by “Kate” written in third person.
I know the blog, texts and Facebook posts are supposed to give the reader insight into Amelia’s life and where she was “coming from” in her last days, but I thought them tedious and found myself racing through them to get to Amelia’s telling of the days and events leading to her death in her own words.
Reconstructing Amelia was an interestingly different sort of story and while there were times in the book I thought the mother was reacting to people like she was an unruly child…people that were helping her learn the truth… and other times I wanted to scream at Amelia to just tell the truth(!), I WOULD recommend it to readers. While not a page-turner, it was entertaining enough and I did want to finish it to learn the details of Amelia’s demise.
American Assassin is the first book in author Vince Flynn’s Mitch Rapp series. I mentioned before that I love reading books that are in a series. After reading book #1 I will definitely keep reading the other books.
The CIA, Islamic terrorism, the Pan Am Lockerbie attack, assassins, and retribution all come together in this story to make it one I found very exciting! Sometimes an author’s style can be such that you have to reread parts to understand what was meant by certain phrases, or the storyline is difficult to keep up with. Flynn’s writing style made for easy reading. However, the editor was slack in his or her duties. After reading through some proofreading errors I actually started counting them and there were twelve blatant ones after the four or five I found before. For example, using words twice such as “Stansfield sat back and crossed his left left over his right.” …or using the incorrect character’s name in certain scenes. While this did not take away from the story, I found it curious. Maybe in his next books the editor paid more attention.
Unfortunately, Vince Flynn died in 2013 at the age of 47 from prostate cancer. He was from Minnesota as is my favorite author John Sandford (born in Iowa). Good things come from the Midwest…I was born and raised there, as a matter of fact.