Pros: Easy to get wrapped up in
Cons: So many horrible people!
Rating: 4 out of 5
Don’t read Jack Jordan’s Anything for Her if you are already feeling depressed. It’ll just make it worse. This book is filled with awful people doing terrible things.
Louise has just discovered that on top of all of her husband’s money troubles, he’s also been sleeping with her sister, Denise, on the side. There goes a twenty-year marriage, up in flames. Louise decides she has to get away for a while, packs a suitcase, and leaves her ten-year-old son Dominic and her 18-year-old daughter Brooke alone with the cheating husband (Michael). As for Michael, he’s certain Louise will come back to him, because she couldn’t possibly leave him over this “minor blip”. Then he uses Louise’s past year of depression as an excuse for his adultery. Louise barely even takes her kids’ phone calls. When she finds out Michael physically hit Brooke, she doesn’t take the children out of their home. Brooke is old enough that she drives herself to see her mom at the country house where she’s staying, but poor Domenic is stuck with his father. All of those personal problems, however, take a back seat when it starts to look like Louise is being stalked.
Louise says, “I’m allowed to run off for a while if I want to.” No, not really. Not when you leave your responsibility for your children in the hands of someone you now completely distrust, and give them no idea of when you’ll return to them. Now, add in that after Louise left, Michael hits Brooke. Brooke then leaves her 10-year-old brother alone with someone who physically assaulted her. I’m not sure I’ve ever met a family that had so little regard for anyone else in it. Dominic’s probably the only person who hasn’t hugely hurt anyone in this book, and well, he’s young–give him time.
For about half of the book, we gradually understand that Louise and Brooke are hiding a great big secret they refer to simply as “That Night”. Apparently that’s when Louise became depressed and she and Brooke withdrew from others. Michael uses the fact that Brooke is on anti-depressants as an excuse to blame her emotions on her pills, particularly when she tells him she saw a man watching her from outside. I have a deep and abiding loathing for anyone who uses the fact that someone is taking meds or having ‘problems’ as a means to dismiss their experiences and feelings. But then again, this is the same Michael who tried to strangle his mistress, Denise, when he didn’t like what she was saying.
“That Night” doesn’t give us any details until about halfway through the book. It’s teased for so long that, while it does create tension, that tension flags after a while. Instead we hit a point where very few things could live up to the buildup. Part of the payoff is worth the lead-in, but it doesn’t come soon enough to keep the reader from getting frustrated by the constant hints. And part of the payoff is obvious by the time the author lets us in on it. I also still can’t quite imagine how on Earth Louise could have done what she did that night. She’s incredibly narcissistic, it’s true, but still.
Of course the bad guy got his hands on Louise’s journal, so he knows exactly what happened on That Night. And it’s important enough to him that he stalks Louise, leaving dead robins on her porch and even in the cottage.
I’m giving this book a 4 out of 5 not because I liked it, but because it really did a masterful job of depicting some horridly unlikable people in untenable situations (IMO, everyone except 10-year-old Dominic and the investigators seem to be narcissists.) Frankly, it’s too depressing for me to have liked or enjoyed reading it, but that doesn’t keep it from being a good book.
Book provided free by publisher for review