“My last year of high school, when Kaycee Mitchell and her friends got sick, my father had a bunch of theories.”
Author: Krysten Ritter
Publication Date: November 7th, 2017
Abby Williams escaped the small townBonfire: A Novel life of Barrens, Indiana immediately after she graduated high school and is now back as an environmental lawyer to look into allegations of the a local factory that led to a boom in the small town improperly dumping waste and potentially harming people.
And yes, it is just as boring as it sounds.
Combined with all of this is a missing persons case of another student that Abby had gone to school with disappearing days before Abby moved away ten years ago.
I just didn’t buy any of this.
Abby talks about and demonstrates her obsession with Kaycee Mitchell, the girl that disappeared, constantly throughout the book. I mean, CONSTANTLY. So why did it take her 10 years to decide to try and get to the bottom of it? Because that’s what this book is about. The company poisoning people thing is sort of the backdrop and it ties in at the end but most of this book is focused on a 10 year old mystery.
Apart from her obsession with girls that she used to go to school with, I did not get any sense of personality from Abby. She was just…there. I couldn’t say if I like her or dislike her because I just don’t feel like I know anything about who she is.
And then there were just these lines that were just too much and bothered me to know end.
“But I just want to know-for sure, for good, forever. For a decade the same questions have been knocking around, over and over, in my head. Only the truth can shut them up.”
I actually cringed at this line and it was not the only one of its kind.
The town of Barrens itself I felt was written like a caricature of a small town. As backwards and as quaint as you can imagine and Abby, as the narrator, pours as much disdain as she possibly can into her recollections of her hometown. And while that makes sense as she does have some pretty shitty memories growing up, it just felt a little overdone. Maybe if this whole “person escapes small town life only to be sucked back into it” story hadn’t been done over and over and over again.
Beyond all that, environmental law is just not thrilling. Important though environmental regulations may be in the real world, in fiction it just did not work here. For this plus all of the above reasons, I just did not care about anything happening in this book.