Aching for another Gillian Flynn style mystery, I picked up The Good Girl by Mary Kubica. Marketed to fans of Gone Girl, I had a certain set of expectations going into the book. And while I enjoyed the story overall, those expectations we not met. The Good Girl is an interesting read, definitely, but it isn’t a nail biter.
The chapters are told from the point of view of three people: a mother of a twenty-five-year-old abducted woman named Mia, the police detective in charge of finding Mia, and Mia’s kidnapper. Each chapter takes place either before Mia was abducted or after she was found; it alternates back and forth.
Mia was a school teacher who didn’t fit into her posh family lifestyle. She had always felt like the odd (wo)man out, and was made to feel bad for being an artist and a teacher as opposed to a lawyer like her father. She was joyful, full of life, and a fantastic teacher who was loved by all of her students. When she was kidnapped by Colin Thatcher, her entire school went into shock.
And so did her mother, Eve. Reading Eve’s chapters are heartbreaking and frustrating; it was clear that she knew she wasn’t the greatest mother to Mia growing up, and she constantly let her husband put Mia down and treat her as if she didn’t matter. Regardless of being a vacant mother, at the same time, Eve loves Mia and wishes she would come back to her; she wants to cradle her little girl in her arms and protect her from anyone ever hurting her again.
However, when Mia does come back to her mother (this isn’t a spoiler as we find out very early in the story that Mia has been rescued from her abductor and is suffering from post-traumatic stress) Eve just wants her once underappreciated little girl back.
As I mentioned, the POV alternates. Not only do we get to see what Eve goes through before and after the kidnapping, but the reader also sees inside the mind of a detective named Gabe who is investigating the case. The main reason that Gabe has as many chapters as he does is because he dives deeper into the life of kidnapper Colin. He tracks down Colin’s sick, elderly mother and he eventually solves the case by finding Mia. (He also falls for Eve, but I’m not sure that subplot was necessary).
Finally, I think the best part about the book was Colin’s perspective. As a reader, I was expecting to hate him, but instead I sympathized with him at times; he’s misunderstood. I wanted things to work out for him. I wanted him to move away and get his mother the help she needed. Sometimes Colin even made me laugh.
I don’t want to give away the ending, so that’s all I will say about this novel. The Good Girl kept me intrigued entire time I read it, and while I thought the ending was a bit rushed (and anti-climactic), overall, it was a good mystery that kept me reading.