Title- All the Good Things
Author- Clare Fisher
Published- June 1st 2017
Genre- Contemporary, literary fiction
Length- 240 pages
Synopsis (Goodreads)- Twenty-one year old Beth is in prison. The thing she did is so bad she doesn’t deserve to ever feel good again.
But her counsellor, Erika, won’t give up on her. She asks Beth to make a list of all the good things in her life. So Beth starts to write down her story, from sharing silences with Foster Dad No. 1, to flirting in the Odeon on Orange Wednesdays, to the very first time she sniffed her baby’s head.
But at the end of her story, Beth must confront the bad thing. What is the truth hiding behind her crime? And does anyone-even a 100% bad person-deserve a chance to be good?
Review- I received an ARC of this from the publisher so thank you to them.
This story is told from Beth’s perspective, mostly as if she is talking to her child. The majority of it is told in the past tense but that is interspersed with present day therapy sessions and time in prison. It is well done and easy to follow.
The story is nicely detailed both in terms of Beth’s actions and personality. Her “story” is traditionally sad, however some of the time it feels like her early life is used as an excuse for her actions, and not just in terms of the “bad thing” that put her in prison either. It’s not really done by her, she blames herself for everything, but it is done by the author in the way that others in the story respond to the “bad thing”. Not everyone that has a bad start ends up in prison, and not everyone in prison has had a bad start. The story is more complicated than that in that there are overlapping more common mental health issues, but it just seems like the author is encouraging a stereotype. Anyway, it is an interesting read, and if you aren’t trying to critique it you might not really notice the few flaws it does have.
The “bad thing” isn’t revealed until the end and if I had known what it was before reading the book I never would have picked it up. It’s not something I want to read about. As I don’t do spoilers in my reviews I can’t really say more but if you are considering reading this book you might want to google it if you are a bit sensitive or have issues with any particular type of crime.
If you are looking for an interesting contemporary and aren’t particularly sensitive then I would recommend this book. In terms of my rating, if it wasn’t for the topic of the “bad thing” I would give this a higher rating as it really is interesting and well written, I just have a personal issue with the crime in question.