Review: RECONSTRUCTING AMELIA: A NOVEL by Kimberly McCreight

It seems that RECONSTRUCTING AMELIA is all over the blogosphere these days, so I requested it from the library. There were a ton of holds already ahead of me. When it didn’t materialize after a month, I purchased it for my kindle. I had heard a lot about this book and it didn’t disappoint me!

In RECONSTRUCTING AMELIA, high powered attorney Kate Baron gets a phone call from her daughter’s private school that there’s been an incident of cheating and her daughter is being suspended. When she reaches the school, her daughter Amelia is dead, apparently having committed suicide by jumping off the roof. “Sorry” is written on the wall near where Amelia was. Then Kate receives a text: “She didn’t jump”. Thus begins Kate’s journey into discovering who her daughter really was – her secrets, her desires, her inner self. Kate harbors a lot of guilt for being a working single mom, and she seeks to prove that Amelia did not commit suicide and she did not plagiarize. The more she digs, the more she finds, and that makes her rethink all that she thought she knew.

This story is told in present day tense (Kate’s voice) and then through flashback (Amelia’s voice), texts, blog posts, and emails. Even though it jumped around a lot chronologically, I liked that way of telling the story.

There were some of elements in this story that did NOT work for me (SPOILER ALERT!! SPOILERS AHEAD!!). For instance, this principal at Grace Hall had a lot of spare time on his hands (having worked in independent schools for over twenty years I can tell you that spare time for a headmaster is rare!). Also, no one questioned the writing on the wall at first. And Amelia didn’t think it odd that Ben got her private cell number supposedly from Princeton since they would be attending a summer session there (strangers, but both attending, and Princeton just gives it out?). Kate, supposedly brilliant, was the last to figure out who Amelia’s father was (I figured it out before she did – lol). And that English teacher?? Can we say: quick way to lose your job?

But – overlooking these things – I found this novel to be compelling and thought-provoking, suspenseful and exciting. I could hardly put it down because I wanted to know what happened. My only sadness was that it started with Amelia’s death and I knew she wasn’t coming back. Having the book in her voice and getting to know her made for a poignant reading experience.

Here’s a book trailer I found on You Tube for this book — also found on the Amazon page — it’s interesting and thought-provoking!!

Let me know what you think!

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