A woman steps over the line into the unthinkable in this brilliant, powerful, and unforgettable new novel by the author of The Lovely Bones and LuckyFor years Helen Knightly has given her life to others to her haunted mother, to her enigmatic father, to her husband and now grown children When she finally crosses a terrible boundary, her life comes rushing in at her in a way she never could have imagined Unfolding over the next twenty four hours, this searing, fast paced novel explores the complex ties between mothers and daughters, wives and lovers, the meaning of devotion, and the line between love and hate It is a challenging, moving, gripping story, written with the fluidity and strength of voice that only Alice Sebold can bring to the page Before I start this, let me just say that Alice Sebold s writing style is not the problem This is a definite example of how good writing does not always equal a good novel The writing was compelling enough that I did not DNF this book But, in my opinion, the plot itself was absurd I am shocked that this is from the same author who wrote The Lovely Bones I ve never read TLB, but I ve known many people who have cited it as a great book, or even their favorite book This book feels like it cam Before I start this, let me just say that Alice Sebold s writing style is not the problem This is a definite example of how good writing does not always equal a good novel The writing was compelling enough that I did not DNF this book But, in my opinion, the plot itself was absurd I am shocked that this is from the same author who wrote The Lovely Bones I ve never read TLB, but I ve known many people who have cited it as a great book, or even their favorite book This book feels like it came from a different planet How can an author who wrote such a critically acclaimed novel also write this As Zac Posen would say on Project Runway, the taste level just isn t there I ve been binging too much PR and I might be the only one to get this reference I like to think that novels are stories that authors feel they need to tell I have no clue why anyone would want to tell this story I m not against dark stories In fact, I loooove dark, fucked up stories But this is just dismal Helen is a miserable person and the only thing this novel does is confirm that she had a terrible childhood and her mother s mental illness went untreated her whole life Her father also suffered from mental illness, but it was skirted around and not as vilified as her mother s There s a point where Helen is confronted with the truth of her father s illness and she makes a conscious decision to never blame him for anything that has gone wrong in their family, and yet she constantly blames her mother and says she s always wanted to kill her It was just confusing The story is told in a stream of consciousness style, and I just wasn t really here for it I really did not like Helen or anything she chose to do, in the past or present Also, usually when the main character of a novel murders someone, I kinda want them to get away with it With Helen, I was was ready to dial 911 myself, if only to end the book I m not sure what I was supposed to feel while reading this Bad for Helen Bad for Helen s mom Bad for the people they both affected All I really felt was annoyed Don t read this book if you enjoy using your time for productive things I m sure you could find a better story that encapsulates a dark family dynamic and how mental illness affects us, personally and as bystanders Honestly, I know you could find a better book with these themes I wanted to believe that the backlash against this book could be explained by general disappointment about Sebold s second novel not living up to The Lovely Bones Um, yeah Not only did it not measure up, but I don t even want this book in the same ROOM with my other books It really and truly is that bad I tried, people I tried But when I spent 4 hours on a plane learning how to do Sodoku just so I wouldn t have to read oneheinous word of this novel, I knew that I was going to have to I wanted to believe that the backlash against this book could be explained by general disappointment about Sebold s second novel not living up to The Lovely Bones Um, yeah Not only did it not measure up, but I don t even want this book in the same ROOM with my other books It really and truly is that bad I tried, people I tried But when I spent 4 hours on a plane learning how to do Sodoku just so I wouldn t have to read oneheinous word of this novel, I knew that I was going to have to throw in the towel and say some terrible things about Sebold s latest effort.We all know she can write Even when her words are polluting my air, it s obvious she can write Why she chose to write such complete and utter crap this time is just beyond me The entire book centers around Helen killing her mother And, you know, that could have been an interesting theme to run with, but Sebold just mangled and butchered it instead I suspect that maybe I was supposed to feel sorry for Helen, but instead I found her to be thoroughly unpleasant, and I started wishing that she d go ahead and kill herself, too After 87 pages, I no longer even cared enough to skim ahead in order to find out what horrible things had happened in her past In fact, I m surprised that I ever made it past page 44, which as another reviewer already noted, contains some of the absolute worst lines ever written No kidding I don t recommend reading this entire book obviously , but if you re into brief spurts of masochism, mosey on over to the library and pull this book off the shelf just to read page 44 I should preface this by saying that I have never read a book with an accumulative star rating this low before It also confirms that star ratings are ridiculous or maybe that one star ratings are compliments in disguise.Can someone explain to me why a story has to have likable characters Why someone who is clearly loosing it should act in a way a sane reader finds believable I m pretty sure when I read Fight Club I didn t think I would act that way but she s a woman, so she has to be in I should preface this by saying that I have never read a book with an accumulative star rating this low before It also confirms that star ratings are ridiculous or maybe that one star ratings are compliments in disguise.Can someone explain to me why a story has to have likable characters Why someone who is clearly loosing it should act in a way a sane reader finds believable I m pretty sure when I read Fight Club I didn t think I would act that way but she s a woman, so she has to be in fiction that can be quickly accessed and then resolved with a nice bow on top Let me be clear this book is poisonous It s hits hard, especially to anyone who understand complicated issues between mothers and daughters But that s what it s supposed to be, it s supposed to be poisonous, it s supposed to disturb the reader and make us feel bad and I thought it was very well crafted.To me, the character made perfect sense, and I even liked her as much as that is possible She did the best she could for a long time and then she snapped and did something she couldn t take back I thought the book depicted that situation beautifully.Now, I have thing for Alice Sebold I thought The Lovely Bones was good and entertaining, but my special interest is in those books that were generally described as disappointing, like Lucky and this one Maybe her way of seeing the world just makes sense to me, and maybe that doesn t bode that well, but just because she describes the world out of the viewpoint from characters who may not fit exactly in the nice, uplifting story with a bow on top formula so predominant in so called women s fiction doesn t mean it s bad writing Horrible, horrible, horrible Bad in every way terrible sentences, dreadful unbelievable characters, boring story Includes this line, This was not the first time I had been face to face with my mother s genitalia Her genitalia has a FACE Downhill from there.