book review: The End of Everything by Megan Abbott
The backstory: I've thoroughly enjoyed Megan Abbott's 1950's pulp noir mysteries, and I was thrilled when I heard she had a new novel coming out.
The basics: The End of Everything is the story of thirteen-year-old Lizzie and her next-door neighbor and best friend Evie, who goes missing.
My thoughts: Abbott has an amazing ability to get inside the mind of a thirteen-year-old narrator. Lizzie is a fascinating and somewhat tragic figure. Her beliefs and memories have the vigor of a teen; all she knows is certainty, even as the reader sees the hints of doubt. The End of Everything is not a mystery, per se, although I was riveted to see where Abbott would take these characters. We see this world through Lizzie's eyes and thus her sense of time and place. Her powerlessness manifests itself convincingly as she earnestly believes she holds the clues to finding Evie because they are so close.
Favorite passage: "It's almost like she savors the terribleness--everyone does. Like it does things for them, makes everything seem more exciting, more momentous, more real."
The verdict: There's a noir-like creepiness to this novel, and Abbott deftly tackles ideas of innocence, guilt and attraction. The End of Everything is not for the faint of heart, but I thoroughly enjoyed this unflinchingly honest tale of abduction. Abbott doesn't let her characters or her readers off easily.
Rating: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
Length: 256 pages
Publication date: July 7, 2011
Source: Reagan Arthur Books was kind enough to send me a copy
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