Sunday, December 11, 2011

Read: "The End of Everything" by Megan Abbott

Read: The End of Everything by Megan Abbott, 2011, 9780316097796.

That was unsettling. And tense.

Neighbors Lizzie and Evie are 13-years-old circa 1989. They have been best pals since they were four. Very best and inseparable pals with shared clothes, sleepovers, secrets, and other young girl obsessiveness. Evie goes missing and Lizzie is the one to clue the cops on who kidnapped her. Lizzie is narrator and struggling through the stress of Evie's abduction in a way unique to adolescent girls.

Lizzie's tip on a car she saw leads to Mr. Shaw from up the block. Shaw is missing and becomes the main suspect. Lizzie finds more evidence pointing to Shaw, moves the evidence, and pretends to find the evidence. Later, she speaks to Shaw's high school son. The son has his own reasons for talking to Lizzie but Lizzie takes his information and pretends a phone call from Evie to relay her location to the cops.

Evie is released and secrets are slowly revealed. People have changed. Things have changed. Secrets will still be kept. A lot goes on in the novel and I won't bother trying to list it all.

1. I've seen various descriptions about End. A mystery. Secrets of the "golden family" from next door. Phooey. This is a bildungsroman with creepy sexual overtones versus teenage romanticism.
2. Lizzie has a deep crush on Evie's dad that she does not fully understand. Her bodily and emotional reactions are new and confusing. The confusion mixes with the sexuality of her mother and her "secret" boyfriend, the commanding presence of Evie's older sister Dusty, fellow schoolmates gossiping about sex, and Lizzie's misunderstanding of Shaw as a man deep in love with Evie.
3. Lizzie's crush was creepy. The crush was not sweet or innocent or any other Hallmark bullshit. Evie's dad was creepy, too. I was expecting him to be sexually abusing Dusty who he is very close to before Evie disappears.
4. The flyleaf places this in the mid-'80s but the dialogue about LPs and CDs makes me think 1989.
5. Frustration while reading. The tension and mystery quickly build after Evie disappears. I wanted to skip ahead and find out what happens. But doing so would miss too much of the story. At the end of the novel I did scan ahead for a reveal and made myself back up to not miss anything.
6. I put this book off several times because I wanted to sit and read uninterrupted. Uninterrupted reading is very difficult when Boys #1 and #2 are awake and jumping on my head.
7. One of the many YA-style topics Abbott touches on is when the kid realizes an adult is cracking. When a powerful authority figure starts to fall apart.
8. Teen boys angry at moms. The obverse of the dads and daughters theme of the novel.
9. Obverse is a big word for such a small, snarky man, Gerard.

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