A review by mads_jpg
None of This is True by Lisa Jewell
- Plot- or character-driven? Character
- Strong character development? It's complicated
- Loveable characters? No
- Diverse cast of characters? No
- Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes
- I liked the non-linear storytelling through the Netflix clips that start to reveal certain details.
- The story was interesting enough that I read it quite quickly despite the length.
The negatives (Spoilers!):
- The book seems to paint Josie as a man-hating feminist, which doesn't sit right when she then goes on to kill the only men in the story.
- The author said in the acknowledgements that she wrote this book in less than a year, and it shows, because given the inclusion of something as sensitive as pedophilia she did not portray it in a responsible way.
- I can't tell if the book is a commentary on or a victim of the idea of the 'perfect victim' who never does anything wrong.
- The way the author described Josie's grooming by Walter was awful in almost every case, either saying she "allowed herself to be groomed" or that she in fact wasn't groomed at all and actually seduced Walter herself. Which still wouldn't make it ok since the adult is ultimately responsible for shutting that kind of thing down.
- Every character is incredibly unlikable, and their actions make no sense. E.g Pat who is reviled as this full of life, go getting woman just let's her 16-year-old daughter take her 40-year-old boyfriend from her? And doesn't do anything to stop it?
- Why the hell is Alix still working on the podcast after Nathan goes missing AND after he's confirmed murdered?!?!?! I was reading this assuming the police/documentary filmmakers had gotten a copy of the podcast, not that she'd RELEASED THE DAMN THING.
- Alix mourns Josie's victims as people who were killed "for no good reason at all", and that was a big issue for me. I really did feel like I had no idea why she would go this far, and the last minute twist in the epilogue doesn't account for that.
- I'm all for an unreliable narrator story, but at no point did it feel like the reader had any chance at following what was really going on, and the ambiguous ending made that even more frustrating, but that's probably just a me thing and not a legitimate issue.
- It was also bloody annoying how many times the author said Josie could hear the sound of Erin's headphones through the door, there's literally no way that's possible without Erin sustaining serious ear damage, I'm sorry but no.
Overall this felt like a dangerously careless representation of some very serious issues given the amount of trigger warnings I had to add to this review.
Graphic: Child death, Domestic abuse, Grief, Misogyny, Sexual content, Sexual violence, Torture, Blood, Confinement, Death, Kidnapping, Mental illness, Pedophilia, Sexual assault, Alcoholism, Alcohol, Toxic friendship, Child abuse, Death of parent, Gaslighting, Infidelity, Physical abuse, Adult/minor relationship, Emotional abuse, Injury/Injury detail, Murder, Pandemic/Epidemic, Rape, Sexism, Stalking, Toxic relationship, and Violence