When I began reading this book I wasn’t sure if I would like it. Up until then my primary literary interests rarely expanded beyond non-fiction. However, I decided to broaden my horizons. Right from the beginning the book drew me in. The characters were generally all likable (except the ones you really shouldn’t like, I suppose). Now, I’ve read many reviews that spoke about the mother’s poor choices. While I agree they were not the best, having been in an abusive relationship and had friends in abusive relationships, I can 100% understand why she thought and acted as she did. Granted it’s fictional, but the concept is very realistic. While the story itself was good and kept my attention, I was a bit disappointed at the last 1/4 of the book. It seemed to go on for about 100 pages longer than it needed to and the ending didn’t seem to be closed in a clear, final way. In spite of that (in my mind, relatively minor) issue, I would definitely recommend this book. Is it dark? Yes. Is it tragic? Yes. Even I shed a tear or two at a few points, which I would regularly never admit to. While it’s nice to have stories with happy endings where everyone lives and is always happy, it’s not always reality. Some books you read to escape life’s cruelties. Others you read for fun. Still, others you read because, somewhere in those pages is a message that speaks to you. My final word: I don’t care if this is a fiction book. For some it’s an imaginary world where people do horrible things to people they’re supposed to love. For others, it’s a terrifying, cruel reality. Either way, read this book and think.