Review: Good as Gone

Author: Amy Gentry
Published by: ‎ Harper Collins
Published in: 2017
Rating: 3.5/5

Set in a interesting premise, Amy Gentry examines the lives in a family after a kidnapping and how it distorts their relationships.

Eight years ago, thirteen-year-old Julie Whitaker, daughter of college professor Anna and accountant Tom Whitaker, was kidnapped from her bedroom in the middle of the night. Her younger sister sees the kidnapping while hiding in a closet, too scared to shout and awaken her parents. In the years since, her family has papered over the cracks of their grief – while hoping against hope that Julie is still alive. The younger sister, Jane, has grown up with self resentment and guilt has turned her into a rebel who gets along with her dad just fine but her relationship with her mother looks beyond repair. And then, one night, the doorbell rings and to everyone’s wonder Julie is back. But also doubt starts creeping in as events don’t add up. Is Julie really back or is it an impostor – even the mother struggles to identify.

Amy Gentry handles her characters really well. Her best is Anna, the mother who lost her eldest to a kidnapping and her younger one to the grievance and neglect from the older one’s loss. Her struggles have been portrayed really well as a mother still grieving her daughter’s loss while trying her best to mend her relationship with the other daughter who she has discretely held responsible for the first daughter’s loss though she cannot say it out loud. Jane, on the other hand, suffers from guilt and resents her mother for treating her as the guilty party. Also, the way the story picks up with Anna slowly finding out facts that do not add up – the hidden cellphone, the missed therapy session, an encounter with a private detective, has been paced right enough to keep one entertained.

What I did find confusing and rather unnecessary was the way the story was narrated by seemingly unrelated female characters (Of course, you know they are related as the story is told from their POV, but its just a little annoying to read it from their POVs without their significance known in advance). Another surprising thing about the plot was how no one in the family was really interested in knowing Julie’s story. Agreed, they want to give her time to recuperate mentally before they dig through her harrowing experiences but how long do parents wait before they start gently broaching the subject?

This one is for all the suspense junkies who are looking for a fast read but let me warn you that you will be left with a few questions (though nothing major) unanswered at the end!

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