Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight
Written by Ashley Kelmore, Posted in Reviews
I bought this book at noon today, and finished it tonight at 7PM. Admittedly, I bought it at the airport as I was FOUR HOURS early for my flight and really looking for something that might be a quick and compelling read. Woo, did I choose wisely.
The book is told in alternating chapters from the perspective (in the third person) of Kate, a single mother to 15-year-old Amelia, and in the first person from the perspective of Amelia herself. The Kate chapters start with Amelia’s death (ostensibly by suicide); Amelia’s chapters cover her life starting two months earlier, at the beginning of her sophomore year.
The main question we’re trying to figure out is whether Amelia has actually killed herself, or if someone else may have helped her off the roof of her school. There are multiple mysteries within this book – who really is Amelia’s father? Who is Ben? Why the fuck does Zadie hate her so much?
It’s possible I had a little more love for this book because it is set in my old neighborhood in Brooklyn, and the author (who lives there) calls out actual shops and restaurants that I used to visit. I could very vividly picture the scenes in the book because I’d actually been to those places. But mostly I think I enjoyed it because it was a well-told story. It was interesting, it wasn’t totally predictable (at least not to me), and the high-school students weren’t all silly or making utterly inexplicable decisions.
I think it’s worth a read. If you’re travelling over the holidays and find yourself looking for a book that will make the wait and the flight go by, this is a good choice.