A review by savvylit
Betty, by Tiffany McDaniel

dark emotional sad slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated


What I liked: Betty's father, Landon. He was the most fully developed character and a uniquely beautiful example of fatherhood. It's not often that a father is portrayed so well in literature. Landon's patience and compassion for his children was truly wonderful to read about.

What I didn't like: everything else. This book is incredibly long and yet it is nothing more than a catalog of suffering. Trauma porn, if you will. There is very little plot or characterization that isn't directly connected to something traumatic or awful happening to Betty or one of her family members. Just when it seemed like a character was finally becoming more than two-dimensional, they often (spoilers!!) died instead.

Oddly, even though Betty is clearly the focus of this book that's named after her, she also remained an enigma with a sad lack of characterization. Her purpose in this novel ultimately just seemed to be to suffer and bear witness to the incredible trauma of the rest of her family.

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