Luckiest Girl Alive
By Jessica Knoll
Simon & Schuster
As a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School, Ani FaNelli endured a shocking, public humiliation that left her desperate to reinvent herself. Now, with a glamorous job, expensive wardrobe, and handsome blue blood fiancé, she’s this close to living the perfect life she’s worked so hard to achieve.
But Ani has a secret.
There’s something else buried in her past that still haunts her, something private and painful that threatens to bubble to the surface and destroy everything.
I wasn’t too sure what to expect with this book, I guess I assumed it was going to be a usual chic lit novel with a twist. However I was pleasantly surprised when it wasn’t like that. The first few pages gripped me into the story, Ani the main character is holding a knife and thinking about stabbing her boyfriend.. Like WHAT?! Where does it go from here.
Ani who was previously called TifAni at school is the classic “Don’t judge a book by its cover” At first I didn’t really like her personality or what she was about but the book unravels her horrifying past and you soon discover why she is the way she is. What I loved about this novel was that it flicked from her in the present tense, in the present she is beautiful, slim, rich, marrying a rich successful man, working for a well known women’s magazine behind this rich lifestyle is her dark and unhappy past at school where she was a loner, an outcast and tries everything she can to fit in. The way that the novel flits between past and present helped keep the tension and build up of the story. Knoll unravels the plot layer by layer keeping you intrigued all the way through.
Ani is asked by a documentary team if she would interview and speak up about what happened to her all those years ago at school. This documentary has bought back lots of bad memories and feelings from what happened as in the forefront of her mind. As the story of her past slowly reveals itself you can now understand that Ani’s present life isn’t all that its cracked up to be she is desperately trying to be someone she is not just like she did at school.
This book is described as a thriller which I don’t necessarily agree with. Yes there are some horrific events happening in the novel but I feel these events are very current and more thought provoking and eye opening rather than being described as a “thriller” I guess the book is quite psychological, based on Ani’s trauma from her past and being able to moved forward with these events. A lot of reviews are saying they can’t warm to Ani’s personality or just don’t like her as a character at all, but I disagree with that I feel I understand why she is quite cold and superficial, she makes a great character study.
The novel also highlights a lot of important and heavy themes such as bullying, sexual assault, victimisation, food and weight obsession and trauma. I think the biggest thing I got out of this book was to just be who you are, don’t try and force being someone you are not just to make a point or prove something, you will be a lot happier and healthier if you are who you are meant to be.
I did enjoy this book but there just felt like something was missing I’m not sure what. I liked the characterisation, how the plot unravelled slowly and the major horrific event that happened which was a shock and surprise. I didn’t particularly enjoy the ending, I felt the book was built up layer upon layer and the ending just made the entire book deflate in my hands, possibly too rushed or too abrupt I’m not sure. But overall an enjoyable read, especially if you like character studies and slow burning books.
Have you read Luckiest Girl Alive? What did you think? It has been compared to Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl what do you think of that? As always thanks for reading. Katie x