Good Me, Bad Me is the kind of debut novel that stays with you long after you've finished reading it. Even as I turn the pages of another book and attempt to immerse myself in its reality, Ali Land's disturbing psychological thriller is still on my mind.
Good Me, Bad Me explores the implications of growing up the daughter of a murderer. Is it possible for a child who has witness brutality and disregard for human life in childhood to grow up a stable individual and feel compassion for others? This is the question that Ali Land proposes to her readers.
Fifteen-year-old Annie has only ever known violence and abuse at the hands of her mother. A mother who used her daughter as bait to lure in her child victims and gain the trust of their parents. Despite showing signs of loyalty and attachment to her mother, Annie turns her in to the police. And so her mother is arrested and Annie is given a new identity and a fresh start.
Now named Milly, Annie is placed in foster care with a couple and their daughter. Over the course of the novel, Milly's foster father Mike tries to help her come to terms with the past, adjust to her new life, and prepare her for her mother's upcoming murder trial. Whilst Mike is caring and supportive of Annie, his wife Saskia is distant and distracted, and his daughter Phoebe, a bully.
The novel is narrated from Annie's/Milly's perspective, which makes for an interesting read. It's undeniable that she is damaged from her disturbing childhood, but seems eager to make a go of her new life with her foster family. But when her new family turn out to be dysfunctional, life becomes anything but idyllic for Annie.
This book was recently published and seems to be on its way to earning a spot on numerous bestseller lists, and rightly so. Ali Land has constructed a compelling narrative that will keep you up at night until you turn that last page.
I'm so happy that I was given the opportunity to read Good Me, Bad Me early on, and I'm enjoying seeing the author celebrate her new-found success. She deserves it. I look forward to reading her next novel.
Rating: 5 stars!