1000 Books In 10 Years; Vol. 175: The End Of Everything, by Megan Abbott

The beautiful and talented Megan Abbott.

The beautiful and talented Megan Abbott.

Megan Abbott has, with her earlier works, explored the world the of classic detective novel with work like; Queen Pin, Die A Little and The Song Is You, in each giving a distinct feminist overtone to a genre that has been dominated patriarchal purview.  The novels were each written with a rapid, frenzied pace which kept the pages turning and were like candy to read.  But with her more recent novel, The End Of Everything, Abbott sheds her skin as a crime writer and slides into a more mature narrative.  There is no denying that Abbott’s earlier works were fun to read, and weren’t without literary merit as they provided lots of content for feminist readers, but The End Of Everything, is a departure from that style and is a journey into another style of writing altogether.  Though it is still very much a mystery novel at its core, there is something more to it.  To call it meganabbott1simply a coming-of-age story does not quite capture the magic of the work.  It is a narrative of a young thirteen-year-old girl, Lizzie, whose best friend, Evie,  goes missing and who finds herself at the center of the investigation as she has information that can help the investigation, and is clever enough to uncover things the police could not.  But it is about so much more.  Lizzie looks as Evie’s family as a sort of surrogate family.  She sees Evie’s sister as a friend and mentor and as someone worthy of emulation.  Her feelings toward Evie’s father though are a little more complicated.  It is clear that this young girl, who is experiencing a sexual awakening of sorts, is very much attracted to this father figure, perhaps partly due to the fact that she is lacking a father figure in her own life.  It is a relationship that seems as though it is naturally progressing toward something sexual, but in the context of the narrative this is problematic because her best friend has been taken by a man who is likely the same age as Evie’s father.  Still, there is something that draws the two together.  For Lizzie it is perhaps not entirely sexual, he is after all a paternal figure to her, and for Evie’s father it seems as though he has embraced his role as a surrogate father.  The novel is in part about finding a medium between what you want and what society says is normal, and each character makes a sacrifice of some sort to preserve a degree of normalcy for, if not themselves, than at least the people they care about, but it is also about finding somebody you can open up to.  About finding somebody who will listen to you, and see you at your ugliest and still be there to love you afterward.

If you like this try:  Fish Tank, starring Michael Fassbender.  Megan Abbott recommends The Catcher In The Rye and The Bell Jar, but I do not!  Perhaps A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man would be a happy compromise.   But check out the movie Fish Tank for sure.  It’s pretty awesome.   And look out for Megan Abbott’s latest novel, Dare Me.

 

Rambler About Rambler

Jason John Horn is a writer and critic who recently completed his Master's in English Literature at the University of Windsor. He has composed a play, a novella and a number of short stories and satirical essays.

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