Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten

Received from NetGalley for review.

2.5 stars

Whether this book deliberately makes no sense or I just don’t get it is something I don’t know. Probably never will. Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls is like someone wrote two books and mashed them together in the middle; it doesn’t really make any sense, and the strangeness of it doesn’t really work. I feel like I’m missing something, but I just feel a bit confused and angry towards this book. Confused because the plot makes no fucking sense and angry because I couldn’t figure it out. And the ending? Well, I think I know what happened, but that doesn’t make me feel any better about this book.

The characters are largely assholes, or are at least set up that way. Delia, Ryan, Ashling etc. – none of them are nice or kind or even flawed in a lovable way, although some characters remedy this slightly at times. About half way through the novel the entire plot is flipped around and suddenly you have no idea what’s going on or who people really are. The only character who had any consistency was June – I felt so deeply sorry and sad for her to begin with, although she seemed a bit sheltered and naïve considering her family situation, but after a while she just seemed incredibly stupid; she’s so obsessed with Delia it’s like she isn’t her own person at all, just a tragic, easily manipulated and slightly laughable by-product of friendship that went a bit sour. Her voice seems so juvenile compared to the adult themes of the novel. It’s very disjointed to read because of this. Quick and easy, yes, but disjointed.

The plot is so incredibly weird – you get set up for about five different mysteries before it becomes something else entirely, and massively unbelievable at that. First Delia has committed suicide, then maybe she’s been murdered and a million different people could be to blame, then there’s cheating, abortion, abuse, deceit…it’s a mess. I get that this is fiction but you still need to believe what is happening and, for me, this novel failed at that. It’s just not plausible. I feel like the author has maybe tried to do too much at once, cramming all her ideas into one book, or changed her mind half way through the writing process. It seems quite a clever concept but it’s been executed badly, leaving me with a sense of annoyance rather than appreciation. The second half of the novel would make more sense if the first half hadn’t been setting up for something different; it didn’t feel like a big mystery being revealed, it felt like a cop out.

I’m going for two and a half stars as I’m not even sure if I enjoyed it or just found it fascinating and frustrating, more like a puzzle or crossword that you just can’t crack. I compulsively read it in a day but I wouldn’t say it was a pleasant reading experience, more of a dark oddity, like the compulsion to look at a car crash; you know it’s not going to be pretty, but you can’t help yourself and I guess there’s beauty in that somewhere.

Read: July 6th 2015

2.5/5 stars


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