Book Review: Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
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When Claire’s nineteen-year-old elder sister, Julia, went missing twenty-four years ago, life was never the same for the Carroll family. Her parents divorced while her remaining sister, Lydia, lost herself in the world of drugs and everything wild. Soon after, Claire’s father committed suicide. Amidst the continued chaos, Claire learned to occupy the least possible space in everyone’s lives. She could be in a room, but you would hardly tell that she was there. She got married to Paul Scott, a tycoon whose wealth ensured that Claire never lacked for anything even if she lived six lifetimes. This is despite that Lydia had accused Paul of raping her. But love can, sometimes, make people do stupid things and Claire will soon regret ever choosing her beloved husband over believing her sister.

There’s an ongoing search for Anna Kilpatrick, a sixteen-year-old who has gone missing mysteriously when Paul Scott is murdered on an evening while Claire helplessly watched. To Lydia, his death is a relief and justice well-served. But to Claire, the nightmare has just begun. The horrors that life unleashes on her have her wishing that she was the one who died in the dark alley. On the day of the funeral, there’s a break-in attempt at her house. On the same night, Claire discovers highly disturbing video files on Paul’s computer containing young women being butchered and brutally raped simultaneously. One of the faces could be that of the missing Anna, but Claire cannot be too sure. Her world as she knew it is slowly coming undone and Claire doesn’t know what or who to believe anymore. The man she had loved and devoted most of her adult life is no longer a man that she can recognize. Thread by thread, the fabric comes tumbling down as Claire realizes that nothing about her life has been real. But this realization is nothing but a small reprieve considering that it’s only the tip of the iceberg.

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter is a psychological thriller that had me on the edge of my seat from the first page to the very end. The first thing that I loved about the book is the way it kept me guessing. Karin successfully managed to introduce suspense early in the story and keeps it constant throughout. It felt like an ever-ending pursuit of finding missing clues in a puzzle that kept getting bigger. For a fan of fast-paced reads, this counted for heavenly bliss.

Character development is also evident and an aspect that stood out for me. As the story progressed, I witnessed Claire evolve from a naïve, conceited, and dependent young woman to a stubborn and confident woman who isn’t afraid to take up space and hold her own. It’s a beautiful and daring manifestation given the chaos that ruled her life demanding that she remains complacent. Claire is not the only one that abandons their cocoons. Lydia, the strong-headed and determined, slowly transforms into a woman who is okay with being vulnerable once in a while. Although there were moments when I hated Claire’s easy-going demeanor, she invoked such deep sympathy that made me want to protect her from the world.  If only I could.

Moreover, the plot development is superbly done. Though it is entirely unpredictable with all the unexpected twists, there was no single point when I felt that it was hard to follow. The author uses flashbacks that are delivered in the first person by Claire’s father, Carroll, which serves as an intermission between the past and the future. In normal circumstances, I would have found this as an unpleasant distraction from the main story which is told in the third person. Instead, I came to find them as a necessity as the arrow is to the bow. Without them, the story would have been nothing but hollow for lack of enough context. Additionally, unlike many psychological thrillers that I have read before, the ending is wholly unexpected and oddly satisfying.

However, while I enjoyed much of what the book had to offer, I hated the intense sexual violence that is depicted against the female characters. As a survivor of attempted rape, the violent scenes were triggering and I struggled to read through the horror. In a way, I felt that the author had taken it too far. She took a great deal of time to elaborate on the specifics and I had to fight back nausea many a time. When I couldn’t take it anymore, I took a week-long break from the book and even went to rant on several Facebook book clubs. I tried to continue but I could not stomach any more of the sexual sadism. How was I expected to find such cruelty against my kind thrilling? Luckily, after much deliberation with myself, I decided to finish what I had started. I am happy that I did because surprise after surprise awaited me.

When Claire’s nineteen-year-old elder sister, Julia, went missing twenty-four years ago, life was never the same for the Carroll family. Her parents divorced while her remaining sister, Lydia, lost herself in the world of drugs and everything wild. Soon after, Claire’s father committed suicide. Amidst the continued chaos, Claire learned to occupy the least possible space in everyone’s lives. She could be in a room, but you would hardly tell that she was there. She got married to Paul Scott, a tycoon whose wealth ensured that Claire never lacked for anything even if she lived six lifetimes. This is despite that Lydia had accused Paul of raping her. But love can, sometimes, make people do stupid things and Claire will soon regret ever choosing her beloved husband over believing her sister.

There’s an ongoing search for Anna Kilpatrick, a sixteen-year-old who has gone missing mysteriously when Paul Scott is murdered on an evening while Claire helplessly watched. To Lydia, his death is a relief and justice well-served. But to Claire, the nightmare has just begun. The horrors that life unleashes on her have her wishing that she was the one who died in the dark alley. On the day of the funeral, there’s a break-in attempt at her house. On the same night, Claire discovers highly disturbing video files on Paul’s computer containing young women being butchered and brutally raped simultaneously. One of the faces could be that of the missing Anna, but Claire cannot be too sure. Her world as she knew it is slowly coming undone and Claire doesn’t know what or who to believe anymore. The man she had loved and devoted most of her adult life is no longer a man that she can recognize. Thread by thread, the fabric comes tumbling down as Claire realizes that nothing about her life has been real. But this realization is nothing but a small reprieve considering that it’s only the tip of the iceberg.

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter is a psychological thriller that had me on the edge of my seat from the first page to the very end. The first thing that I loved about the book is the way it kept me guessing. Karin successfully managed to introduce suspense early in the story and keeps it constant throughout. It felt like an ever-ending pursuit of finding missing clues in a puzzle that kept getting bigger. For a fan of fast-paced reads, this counted for heavenly bliss.

Character development is also evident and an aspect that stood out for me. As the story progressed, I witnessed Claire evolve from a naïve, conceited, and dependent young woman to a stubborn and confident woman who isn’t afraid to take up space and hold her own. It’s a beautiful and daring manifestation given the chaos that ruled her life demanding that she remains complacent. Claire is not the only one that abandons their cocoons. Lydia, the strong-headed and determined, slowly transforms into a woman who is okay with being vulnerable once in a while. Although there were moments when I hated Claire’s easy-going demeanour, she invoked such deep sympathy that made me want to protect her from the world. If only I could.

Moreover, the plot development is superbly done. Though it is entirely unpredictable with all the unexpected twists, there was no single point when I felt that it was hard to follow. The author uses flashbacks that are delivered in the first person by Claire’s father, Carroll, which serves as an intermission between the past and the future. In normal circumstances, I would have found this as an unpleasant distraction from the main story which is told in the third person. Instead, I came to find them as a necessity as the arrow is to the bow. Without them, the story would have been nothing but hollow for lack of enough context. Additionally, unlike many psychological thrillers that I have read before, the ending is wholly unexpected and oddly satisfying.

However, while I enjoyed much of what the book had to offer, I hated the intense sexual violence that is depicted against the female characters. As a survivor of attempted rape, the violent scenes were triggering, and I struggled to read through the horror. In a way, I felt that the author had taken it too far. She took a great deal of time to elaborate on the specifics, and I had to fight back nausea many a time. When I couldn’t take it anymore, I took a week-long break from the book and even went to rant on several Facebook book clubs. I tried to continue but I could not stomach any more of the sexual sadism. How was I expected to find such cruelty against my kind thrilling? Luckily, after much deliberation with myself, I decided to finish what I had started. I am happy that I did because surprise after surprise awaited me.

When Claire’s nineteen-year-old elder sister, Julia, went missing twenty-four years ago, life was never the same for the Carroll family. Her parents divorced while her remaining sister, Lydia, lost herself in the world of drugs and everything wild. Soon after, Claire’s father committed suicide. Amidst the continued chaos, Claire learned to occupy the least possible space in everyone’s lives. She could be in a room, but you would hardly tell that she was there. She got married to Paul Scott, a tycoon whose wealth ensured that Claire never lacked for anything even if she lived six lifetimes. This is despite that Lydia had accused Paul of raping her. But love can, sometimes, make people do stupid things and Claire will soon regret ever choosing her beloved husband over believing her sister.

There’s an ongoing search for Anna Kilpatrick, a sixteen-year-old who has gone missing mysteriously when Paul Scott is murdered on an evening while Claire helplessly watched. To Lydia, his death is a relief and justice well-served. But to Claire, the nightmare has just begun. The horrors that life unleashes on her have her wishing that she was the one who died in the dark alley. On the day of the funeral, there’s a break-in attempt at her house. On the same night, Claire discovers highly disturbing video files on Paul’s computer containing young women being butchered and brutally raped simultaneously. One of the faces could be that of the missing Anna, but Claire cannot be too sure. Her world as she knew it is slowly coming undone and Claire doesn’t know what or who to believe anymore. The man she had loved and devoted most of her adult life is no longer a man that she can recognize. Thread by thread, the fabric comes tumbling down as Claire realizes that nothing about her life has been real. But this realization is nothing but a small reprieve considering that it’s only the tip of the iceberg.

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter is a psychological thriller that had me on the edge of my seat from the first page to the very end. The first thing that I loved about the book is the way it kept me guessing. Karin successfully managed to introduce suspense early in the story and keeps it constant throughout. It felt like an ever-ending pursuit of finding missing clues in a puzzle that kept getting bigger. For a fan of fast-paced reads, this counted for heavenly bliss.

Character development is also evident and an aspect that stood out for me. As the story progressed, I witnessed Claire evolve from a naïve, conceited, and dependent young woman to a stubborn and confident woman who isn’t afraid to take up space and hold her own. It’s a beautiful and daring manifestation given the chaos that ruled her life demanding that she remains complacent. Claire is not the only one that abandons their cocoons. Lydia, the strong-headed and determined, slowly transforms into a woman who is okay with being vulnerable once in a while. Although there were moments when I hated Claire’s easy-going demeanour, she invoked such deep sympathy that made me want to protect her from the world. If only I could.

Moreover, the plot development is superbly done. Though it is entirely unpredictable with all the unexpected twists, there was no single point when I felt that it was hard to follow. The author uses flashbacks that are delivered in the first person by Claire’s father, Carroll, which serves as an intermission between the past and the future. In normal circumstances, I would have found this as an unpleasant distraction from the main story which is told in the third person. Instead, I came to find them as a necessity as the arrow is to the bow. Without them, the story would have been nothing but hollow for lack of enough context. Additionally, unlike many psychological thrillers that I have read before, the ending is wholly unexpected and oddly satisfying.

However, while I enjoyed much of what the book had to offer, I hated the intense sexual violence that is depicted against the female characters. As a survivor of attempted rape, the violent scenes were triggering, and I struggled to read through the horror. In a way, I felt that the author had taken it too far. She took a great deal of time to elaborate on the specifics, and I had to fight back nausea many a time. When I couldn’t take it anymore, I took a week-long break from the book and even went to rant on several Facebook book clubs. I tried to continue but I could not stomach any more of the sexual sadism. How was I expected to find such cruelty against my kind thrilling? Luckily, after much deliberation with myself, I decided to finish what I had started. I am happy that I did because surprise after surprise awaited me.

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