POVone: The First Person Perspective

Rants and Reviews on Novels Written in the First Person Point of View

Tag Archives: Motherhood

Book Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Author: Paula Hawkins
Title: The Girl on the Train
Genre: Mystery and Suspense
Publication Date: January 13, 2015
Publisher: Riverhead (Random House)
Number of Pages: 336
Narrators: Rachel, Megan, and Anna
Quality Rating: 81.34

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

What’s It About?

Everyday, Rachel takes the train into town so that her roommate thinks she still has her job. Ever since her husband cheated her and left her for another women, she has dissolved into a pitiful drunk. Eventually, her new slovenly manner had cost Rachel her job. Now, she rides the train everyday and makes up stories about the people she sees. One of these people just happens to be Megan.

Megan has grown restless in her marriage. She is tired of simply being a housewife. In an attempt to experience something new and exciting, she starts an affair with another man that has recently come into her life. One day, Rachel happens by on the train and sees her kissing a man who isn’t her husband.

Soon after Rachel sees her betraying her husband, Megan disappears. Trying to help, Rachel tells the police about the affair Megan was having. Given that she’s a drunk, though, her testimony is deemed unreliable. Anna, Rachel’s ex-husband’s new wife, had recently hired Rachel as a babysitter. As the worlds of Rachel, Anna, and Megan collide, all three women must face a truth that neither of them are prepared to face.

Should You Read It?

If you enjoy a good psychological thriller built around dark secrets and hidden relationships, you’ll love this book. It has rightly been likened to Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, and it also bares a resemblance to Kimberly McCreight’s Where They Found Her. Themes include drunkeness, adultery, abuse, female independence, and broken memory. While the story does contain a good bit of reflection and introspection, there are a large number of twists and turns that build mystery and keep the reader guessing until the end.

Links and References

Author Information: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

Book Reviews: The New York Times, The Guardian, NPR, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com

Other Books By Paula Hawkins: The Girl on the Train is Paula Hawkins’s debut novel.

Book Review: Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight

Author: Kimberly McCreight
Title: Where They Found Her
Genre: Literary; Suspense
Publication Date: April 14, 2015
Publisher: HarperCollins
Number of Pages: 336
Narrator: Molly Sanderson
Quality Rating: 84.2

Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight

What’s It About?

Molly Sanderson is a new reporter for a small newspaper in Ridgedale–a university town in which her husband has gotten a job as an English Professor. As she seeks recovery from a recent mental breakdown, she wants to make the best of the job in order to become a better mother again for her young daughter. When a lead reporter takes a few days’ leave for minor operation, she receives the opportunity to cover a major story. There’s just one problem: the story involves an investigation into the discovery of an infant’s dead body–and Molly’s recent bout of depression had stemmed from the miscarriage of her second child.

As Molly investigates the story, despite her misgivings, she stumbles across a large cast of characters from a police chief, an overbearing mother, and the “town whore” to a university president, a campus security guard, and a school teacher–all who may or may not be connected to the baby. As she digs further into the case, she discovers a dark history buried for decades by some of Ridgedale’s most long-term and well-respected residents. As the truth slowly begins to come to light, Molly herself is drawn into the story in unexpected and heartbreaking ways.

Should You Read It?

If you like the kind of psychological mystery that climatically brings a slew of disconnected characters together in a web of dark secrets, you’ll love this book. The story is heavily character-driven, with the inclusion of perspectives from several other characters in addition to Molly’s first person account. But the mystery surrounding the identity of the baby and its parents also gives the story a suspenseful momentum that readers of authors such as Gillian Flynn would enjoy. Essentially, if you love a mystery built around the secrets of rich, fleshed-out characters, you may want to give this story a shot.

Links and References

Author Information: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

Book Reviews: Kirkus Reviews, Books on the Table, Jen’s Book Thoughts

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com

Other Books By Kimberly McCreight: Reconstructing Amelia (2013)

Book Review: The First Bad Man by Miranda July

Author: Miranda July
Title: The First Bad Man
Genre: Literary
Publication Date: January 13, 2015
Publisher: Scribner (Simon and Schuster)
Number of Pages: 288
Narrator: Cheryl Glickman
Amazon.com Reviewer Grade: D, Bad; of the first 116 reviews, the average reader rating was 67.24%.

The First Bad Man by Miranda July

What’s It About?

Cheryl Glickman works at a non-profit in which she trains women in self-defense. She is withdrawn and experiences life in her own fantasy world rather than interacting with people in real life. When her bosses request she take their twenty year old daughter in as a houseguest, her world is thrown off kilter.

Cheryl’s new houseguest is ungrateful, rude, and sometimes downright abusive. To avoid confrontation, Cheryl loses herself in deep sexual fantasies and obscure beliefs about reincarnation.

Should You Read It?

If you enjoy books that revolve around the surreal, you may enjoy this story. It’s a little like Hermann Hesse’s Steppenwolf without the philosophical coherence. The narrative consists primarily of Cheryl’s explicit and sometimes disturbing sexual fantasies–so much so that it’s difficult to tell what is actually happening and what is simply going on inside the narrator’s head. Although it’s obscure, there is also a good bit of subtext on feminism. So, if this sounds interesting to you, I would give it a shot. If you’re sensitive to graphic sexual material, I would avoid it.

Links and References

Author Information: Website, Wikipedia, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter

Book Reviews: Washington Post, New York Times, The Guardian

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com

Other Books By Miranda July: The First Bad Man is Miranda July’s first novel, though she has written a collection of short stories called No One Belongs Here More Than You (2005), and she is an acclaimed artist and filmmaker.