BY LILY METCALFE
“Where They Found Her” by author Kimberly McCreight is an enticing mystery novel about the death of a newborn. It explores the wild world of motherhood by focusing on the mother child relationship.
The main character, Molly Sanderson, is a local freelance journalist that mainly handles the news about her small town’s community festivities until she gets assigned to write about the recent death that took place in the woods fringing the campus of the town’s university.
When she went to the crime scene she learned the horrific news that the body was that of an infant, made even harder for her to handle as she had lost her own child and still has not recovered from that loss. In order to gain closure for herself, her family and the concerned town’s people, she investigates the grueling crime and uncovers past and present secrets.
The story interweaves the lives of six women that are all connected by the death of the newborn child and they all have the same thing in common: difficult mother-child relationships.
McCreight explores the hardships of motherhood, touching upon topics of miscarriage, teenage pregnancy, single motherhood, absent mothers, overprotective mothers, uncontrollable children and mothers who act like children. Such topics are serious and hard to write about, but McCreight effortlessly describes this vast world of motherhood through different characters in different situations.
She also uses many diverse formats in order to tell the story, utilizing things such as newspaper articles, diary entries, interviews, flashbacks and three distinctive character perspectives. The diverse formats make the novel interesting to read and keep readers on the edge of their seats.
The story being told from different perspectives may deter some from reading this novel, as some novels that attempt this format typically fail. This novel does not fall into that category though, being very well and cleverly written by introducing early in the story that the three characters are related to each other in some shape or form. Because the author gracefully intertwines the character’s lives together it makes the story seamlessly flow and easy to read.
With the use of vivid description and imagery, readers are able to imagine each character with clarity, which helps create emotional involvement. This style of writing allows readers to fully understand the situation in every character’s point of view, even the characters that are not telling the story from their perspective.
The concept of a reporter or detective digging up past secrets to solve a current case is very overdone. It is one disappointment many might have about this novel. Even though secrets that are uncovered are interesting, the storyline is similar to other books that have excessively used it, making it come off as pretty generic.
The story in the beginning moves a little slow as it sets up the characters and the plot. But further in, it unfolds and progressively gets better. The novel has plenty of plot twists, which made certain aspects of this generic story more thrilling.
The novel is around three hundred pages and is not a hard read. The author uses simple grammar structure and the diction is easy to understand. This book would be perfect for someone who enjoys mysteries and has a few hours of spare time. The book is available in the Blackwell Library, so it is free for any Salisbury University student who would like to read it.
The Flyer gives “Where They Found Her” a 7/10.