- File Size: 1932 KB
- Print Length: 387 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books (July 31, 2014)
- Publication Date: July 31, 2014
- Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00G3L1194
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #279,699 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Dear Daughter: A Novel Kindle Edition
|Length: 387 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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“Little keeps you guessing until the end — and then closes her book with a final, twisted flourish.”
—Daneet Steffens, The Boston Globe
“Compelling. . . . This novel's engrossing suspense comes from its unreliable (and not especially likable) narrator who pursues answers with relentless fervor, regardless of the painful truths she turns up about herself. . . . Excellent.”
—Stephanie Klose, Oprah.com
“Engrossing. . . The unlikable protagonist with a biting personality and outrageous actions, but who is fascinating at the same time, has never been more popular. Just think of Gone Girl. In her confident fiction debut, Elizabeth Little puts a fresh spin on this character in the form of Jane Jenkins, a young woman famous for being famous until she was sent to prison for the murder of her wealthy socialite mother. Little also makes Dear Daughter a parable about the cult of the celebrity stoked by a relentless press and a ruthless public’s thirst for details of a woman it loves to hate.”
“This is not your mother’s mystery. The clever, prickly and profane heroine is, after all, a former It Girl whose aim as a teen was to be the next Paris Hilton, only better. . . . Sassy and lively. . . . The book’s satisfying conclusion somehow manages to tie things up while also providing a cliffhanger, a pretty neat trick for a debut novel.”
—Colleen Kelly, The Minneapolis Star Tribune
“The best debut crime novel of 2014, a spiky, voicey, jolting, surprising story of a celebutante convicted of murdering her mother . . . Little also produces one of the best endings of 2014, too.”
—Sarah Weinman, The National Post (Canada)
“A former It Girl hunts down her mom’s murderer in this can’t-put-down thriller.”
“Do you want a mystery novel that you can stay up all night reading and then take to the beach to finish it off the next day? Elizabeth Little’s Dear Daughter is pretty much all you need: the tale of a former high society girl who gets out of prison and goes on a mission to find out who really killed her mother.”
—Flavorwire (Must-Read Books for August)
“In prison for her mother’s murder, L.A. socialite Jane Jenkins is released on a technicality. To track down the real killer Jane gets plain, goes underground and stirs up dangerous amounts of dirt in her mom’s South Dakota hometown.”
“[A] fun and riveting debut mystery.”
—The San Diego Union Tribune
“Part celebrity, part sleuth and all sass, the memorable Janie Jenkins is out to prove she didn't murder her mother in this smart debut thriller. . . . Little drives Dear Daughter with the string of surprises and buried secrets revealed as Janie unravels the mystery of her mother's past. It is a thriller much like Gillian Flynn's blockbuster Gone Girl--except instead of the East Coast literary angst of Flynn's protagonists stuck in Missouri, Little's Midwest visitor really does have L.A. ‘glitter in her veins.’”
“Little makes a thrilling debut with this gripping read. Fans of Tana French and Gillian Flynn are going to enjoy the smart narrator and the twists and turns in the case.”
—Library Journal (starred review)
“Agatha Christie meets Kim Kardashian in this sharp-edged, tart-tongued, escapist thriller. . . A stylishly written tale that plays off our culture's obsession with celebrity scandal.”
“Stunning and chilling. . . . A harrowing story that will keep readers on the edge of their seat. The ending is like a punch in the nose, coming out of nowhere and leaving readers breathless. Whether you take this mystery to the beach or relax in front of your air conditioner, this is a novel you should not miss.”
“Clever. . . . This is a killer debut, in every sense of the word!”
“[An] assured fiction debut . . . Little effectively intersperses outside perspective in the form of emails, text messages, and other communications in Jane’s entertainingly caustic first-person narrative.”
“A really gutsy, clever, energetic read, often unexpected, always entertaining. I loved Janie Jenkins’s sassy voice and Elizabeth Little’s too. In the world of crime novels, Dear Daughter is a breath of fresh air.”
—Kate Atkinson, New York Times bestselling author of Life After Life
“Dear Daughter has three of my favorite things in a book: a smart, damaged, unstoppable narrator with a slicing sense of humor; needle-sharp writing that brings characters and atmosphere leaping off the page; and a vivid, original plot full of satisfying twists. This is an all-nighter, and the best debut mystery I've read in a long time.”
—Tana French, New York Times bestselling author of Broken Harbor and In the Woods
—Kimberly McCreight, New York Times bestselling author of Reconstructing Amelia
“What a devilish, delightful treat of a novel! Crackling with wit and shining with originality, Dear Daughter is the kind of whirlwind mystery that will keep you hooked—and guessing—until the very end.”
—Sara Shepard, New York Times bestselling author of Pretty Little Liars
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2014 by Elizabeth Little
As soon as they processed my release, Noah and I hit the ground running. A change of clothes. A wig. An inconspicuous sedan. We doubled back once, twice, then drove south when we were headed east. In San Francisco we had a girl who looked like me board a plane to Hawaii.
Oh, I thought I was so clever.
But you probably already know that I’m not.
I mean, come on, you didn’t really think I was just going to disappear, did you? That I would skulk off and live in the shadows? That maybe I would find a distant island, a plastic surgeon, a white ceramic half mask and a Punjab lasso? Get real.
But I never meant for it to come to this. There’s attention and then there’s attention, and sure, the latter gets you fame and money and free designer shoes, but I’m not Lindsay Lohan. I understand the concept of declining marginal returns. It was the not knowing—that’s what I couldn’t stand. That’s why I’m here.
Did you know that the more you remember, the more you expand your perception of personal time? No, really. There’s, like, studies and shit. Even though we can’t outrun death, if we muscle up our memories the race, at least, will seem a little longer. That is, we’ll still die, but we’ll have lived more. Kind of comforting, right?
Unless, of course, you’re me.
Imagine how it would feel if, out of the blue, someone were to hand you a gold medal and tell you it was yours. Oh my god, you’d think. I am so super awesome! I won the Olympics. But, wait-what did I win? When did I win it? When did I train? Shouldn't my biceps be full-on Madonna? How could I possibly forget the defining moment of my life?
And what does it mean that I did?
Now imagine that instead of a gold medal you were given a murder conviction, and you'll have some sense of how it is for me.
When I think back on the night my mother died, it's like trying to adjust a pair of rabbit ears to pick up a distant broadcast signal. Every so often something comes into focus, but mostly I just get the scrape sound of static, an impenetrable wall of snow. Sometimes there isn't even a picture. Sometimes there isn't even a TV. Maybe if I'd had a moment to stop and think that morning I might've had the chance to imprint a useful detail or two, but the police hustled me out of the house and into a cruiser and over to the station before I could even think to worry about what I was wearing, much less what I might have done. By lunchtime I was in an interview room picking dried blood out from under my fingernails while two detectives explained what they wanted me to write in my confession.
Not that I blame them. I was always going to be the best story. Next was the trial, which didn't have anything to do with what I knew but rather with what other people had decided I knew, and soon enough I lost the ability to tell the difference between them. And now I 'm stuck with a mess of a memory, a hodgepodge of angry testimony, sanctimonious magazine profiles, made-for-TV movies-less linear narrative than True Hollywood Story highlight reel. I don't know what's mine anymore.
And then there's the evidence. The only fingerprints in my mother 's room: mine. The only DNA under my mother's nails: probably mine. The only name written in blood next to my mother's body: definitely mine.
(That's right. You probably didn't know that part, did you?)
It 's hard enough to maintain your innocence when so many people are so sure you're not. It 's impossible when you're not sure of anything at all-other than the awful, inescapable fact that you hadn't particu larly liked your own mother.
The uncertainty ate at me, maggots mashing the already-decaying corpse of my brain. And in jail, isolated from any real means of investigation, all I could do was wonder. I began to treat every action of every day like an omen, a crystal ball, a goat's intestines. How would a killer brush her teeth? How would a killer brush her hair? Would she take sugar in her coffee? Milk in her tea? Would she knot her shoelaces once? Twice?
Totally kidding. Like they would have given me shoelaces.
Of all the challenges of incarceration, this was perhaps the worst: I was a fundamentally rational creature reduced to rudimentary divination. I promised myself that if I ever got out I'd try to find out what really happened, to find out what I really was.
I ignored the voice that said killing again was the only way I'd ever know for sure.
< Messages Noah Contact
Tuesday 5:14 PM
Testing. Is the new phone working? Did you get this? (It’s Noah.)
What the fuck is this
It’s called text messaging.
I know what it is I just don’t know why we’re doing it
I need to make sure I can reach you.
What people don’t actually talk anymore
Welcome to the future.
Can I go back to jail now
Adapt or die, Jane.
:)--This text refers to the hardcover edition.
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I have to say, this book started out slow for me. The whole first half really seemed to drag with not so much going on, it was a struggle y'all. The second half picked up tremendously and really kept me engaged, lots of discoveries and increasingly building tension. The ending was for sure a shocker, I really didn't see that coming, but I was so dissatisfied with how Janies story was wrapped up. I mean, seriously?! I don't want to give away any spoilers for all of you who haven't read it yet, but it really didn't do any justice to the plot line in my opinion. What I did enjoy about the book was Janie as a character. She was the perfect combination of crass sarcasm and dry humor, which was entertaining to say the least. The plot, though slow to get started, was solid with lots of secrets and hidden truths (essential material for any good mystery/thriller). I did enjoy the small town characters and the sexual tension between Janie and Leo was well written and fun to read. For the most part this was a fairly good read. I still think Little could have given Janie a better ending but I enjoyed the story overall.
Jane is bitingly sarcastic, razor sharp, and out to prove the system wrong. In all honestly, she was probably written to be UN-likable, and so succeeds in that department.
So how can a book be 'good' while at the same time leaving you with a bitter taste in your mouth about the main character? Simply put, the author has such a finely tuned feel for words. For example, ‘speculative glint’is a turn of phrase that has stuck with me...and don’t even get me started on the sublime verbs scattered throughout: bellowed, jammed, jangled, mashed, swelled, swarming…for someone who likes plot and story as much the delicate sound and deeper meaning of words, reading DEAR DAUGHTER proved to be a plethora of fun.
Here's what you might *not* like: too many f-bombs.I get it's all about character, etc. but there was just a time when "enough was a enough, already."
But here's what you *will* like: The wild goose chase of finding more evidence, hitting up small South Dakota towns, getting enmeshed in small-town politics and social strata proves to be tediously glorious, and bodes well for someone like Janie Jenkins who thrives on drama. Of course, there are abandoned houses and mirrored sister towns that intrigued the old house buff in me.
And then ending...well, you might not like that, either. Or maybe you will. Seems the harder one tries to prove you wrong, the easier it becomes to make it right. Right?
DEAR DAUGHTER is edgy. It's smart. It’s a mind-twist of psychological suspense that will leave you a bit flat (really?), and perhaps still puzzling things out.
Janie Jenkins was the girl every guy wanted to get with and every girl wanted to be. She was mean for the fun of it and could manipulate any person she came across. She was the 'It Girl" in her hometown until she was convicted of murdering her equally-beautiful, high-society, charitable mother. The night of her mother's murder is a blur to Janie and she cannot honestly say whether she did or did not kill her mother, but she's ready to find out for sure when, ten years later, she gets released from prison on a technicality.
Janie's former fame has not helped her life after the murder and her release from prison seems to infuriate some, especially one man who has taking it upon himself to ask the public's help in tracking Janie's every move after her release. With the press, reporters, and a self-proclaimed detective wanted to document her every move, Janie decides to go undercover and attempt to solve the mystery that surrounds her mother's death. As Janie digs ever deeper into her mother's muddled past, she begins to question if she ever actually knew the woman who raised her.
Did Janie kill her mother or is the murder still out there living the life Janie used to crave? Will Janie choose to slip away into a life of anonymity or risk it all for the truth and a chance to clear her name?
Well plotted tension.
That ending, though. Needed another 20 pages or so to fully complete the character arc. Ending itself was a little too pat, and waaay overly realistic considering the tone of the rest of the book.
Bad girls may get punished, but we read about them because we want to escape into a world where they don't have to be.