Reconstructing Amelia

Reconstructing Amelia - Kimberly McCreight On the whole, if I had to sum up Reconstructing Amelia in one word, the word I would use is "average." The plot, characters, and writing style were all simply alright: not outstanding enough to really impress me, but not bad enough to make the read unenjoyable on the whole. Indeed, the characterization was strong enough that I did feel genuine emotions in a few parts. All of the "twists" were highly predictable, save for one or two that did catch me off-guard, but they still managed to be interesting, and, presented in a better way, they might have actually been surprising.

My biggest problem with this book is that it is, as I described it to a friend of mine: "a bundle of clichés wrapped in a blanket of stereotypes and covered in a layer of worn-out tropes." I understand that there are really only so many ways to present a story, and I cannot fault a writer for using a cliché or a trope if it is one that feels genuine for the character or the story. The problem is, the clichés presented here didn't feel genuine. Rather, I repeatedly felt like McCreight had planned out the most predictable and stereotypical mystery novel of all time, and then found some spots to punch in something intended to make the storyline unique, which only served to underline the stereotypes and predictability it was meant to avoid. (For example, this is the thought process I imagine happening: "Oh, hey, I have an awkward and nerdy but brilliant and beautiful teenage girl here who's never dated anyone, and she's gonna fall in love. That's a really overdone trope, though. I know how to make it different! I'll make her a lesbian!) It made the entire novel, and all of the characters, feel very disingenuous, and ultimately is what kept this book from receiving a higher rating from me.

The above said, I do think that Kimberly McCreight is a writer who may well have a great deal of potential. As a debut novel, Reconstructing Amelia was very solid, albeit imperfect, and I will certainly consider taking a look at her future work. And if McCreight learns to avoid the clichés and tropes that tend to surround her genre, she may even get a 5-star review from me one day.