2 January 2012

Review: THE END OF EVERYTHING, Megan Abbot

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 480 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; Australia/New Zealand ed edition (August 1, 2011)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005EOLW22
  • Source: I bought it
Synopsis (author website)

In a placid 1980s suburb in the Midwest, thirteen-year-old Lizzie and her next door neighbor Evie Verver are inseparable, best friends who swap bathing suits and field-hockey sticks and between whom, presumably, there are no secrets. Together they live in the shadow of Evie's glamorous older sister Dusty, who provides them a window on the exotic, intoxicating possibilities on their own teenage horizons. To Lizzie, the Verver household, presided over by Evie's big-hearted father, is the world's most perfect place.

And then, one afternoon, Evie disappeared.

My take

Some might argue that THE END OF EVERYTHING is not really crime fiction. When Evie disappears no-one is sure that a crime has been committed, although the longer she is gone, the more likely it seems that she has been abducted. The question of planned sexual abuse is raised. There's plenty of mystery though and, in the end, the reader can't be sure he knows he/she has all the answers.

Much of the story relies on the memories and interpretations of Evie's friend and neighbour Lizzie and her memories are unreliable and her interpretations often one-sided. Lizzie's mind has played with some of her memories, trying to make sense of them.
    Both our memories self spun, radiant fictions.
THE END OF EVERYTHING is really about relationships, particularly between adolescent girls and their fathers and male neighbours. Although Evie and Lizzie are almost exactly the same age, their bodies are not in sync, and Evie has secrets from Lizzie. Their mothers don't seem to understand much and Evie's mother in particular does not cope well. Their older siblings, Lizzie's brother Ted, and Evie's sister Dusty, have more clues but Dusty's interpretations are tinged with jealousy as she sees Evie about to move into the centre stage that she has occupied for so long.

As Evie's father searches to understand what may have happened to his daughter, Lizzie and he seem to grow closer. Lizzie comes up with the initial clue to who took Evie, and after that plants "evidence" to reinforce that conclusion, and at the same time seems to place herself centrepiece.

My rating 4.5

THE END OF EVERYTHING has provoked some very different reactions from readers, but be aware that some of these contain more plot spoilers than I have:
I read THE END OF EVERYTHING for discussion at my face to face book group and we chose it because Megan Abbott will be at Adelaide Writers' Week in March. It will be interesting to see what group members think. One has already commented to me on what she thought was an abrupt ending.

Other reviews of titles by Megan Abbott on MiP


bermudaonion said...

I gasped as I read this book. I just loved it and was lucky enough to chat with the author after I read it.

Bernadette said...

I think you liked it more than I did...will be curious to see what the rest of the group make of it. I saw a discussion guide about it somewhere back when I read it but then lost the link


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