Have you ever argued with someone who quoted past conversations from say 6 years ago with startling clarity and then told you what each pregnant pause in that long-ago conversation really meant? Reading Frances’ mind was sort of like that. Frustrating, unreliable despite her best efforts to maintain the opposite, and unsettling.
For my money, this was a book that did exactly what it set out to do: reframe a woman from a dude’s story where she was the villain into the protagonist of her own tale and remind you that perspective and who gets the privilege of having their story told…? Those things matter.
The book is about a horrible horrible world and the horrors never stop. In the hands of a less skilled writer, you could get desensitized to what is happening. So many murders. So many rapes. So many children being killed. But somehow Butler keeps us feeling those feelings without ever going numb, as much as we might wish we could.
The style of this book is very “beach read.” It is fast. It isn’t deep literary. It’s a Long Island Iced Tea… it goes down smooth and you are all giddy and enjoying yourself and then WHAM you realize that you have been accidentally complicit in racist crap by rooting for Alix and the world is much bigger and more complex… all is not how it has been portrayed and the last quarter of your drink was straight whiskey.