Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberley McCreight looks at the events after a young woman’s suicide by jumping off the roof of the private school she attends. It follows her mother’s actions after the event itself, and traces Amelia’s life in the months and weeks leading up to that fateful day. What led her to the roof? Why did she die?
I have no idea how Reconstructing Amelia ended up on my reading list. It has been there for quite some time now, and since I am attempting to really go through the ones that have been on the list for the longest, I decided to read it. But how long it’s been on there or why it ended up there really isn’t what this post is about.
Reconstructing Amelia is a unique take on look at the before and after of a tragic event. It mixes traditional storytelling with Facebook posts, text messages, and blog posts, something I think could have gone terribly wrong, but actually works very well in this instance. I think perhaps this is because of the setting—you know high school students are all involved in social media and texting their friends, so why not use that in a novel focused around them? I think the switches in formats also helped maintain my attention throughout, largely because of the fact I haven’t read a book written quite like this. It also helped with pacing, given that you would learn something significant from one portion of the story just before it switches on you, which means you are kept on the hook for even longer!
I think the format lends itself well to the story, because I was only able to put together what happened just before or really during the reveal itself. I had many theories before that point of course, but once I was absolutely sure of something it seemed like not too long after I decided I was sure, there would be new information and I would have another theory. This is something I love. Make me think I know what is happening and then pull the rug out from under me in the next few pages.
Although there is a lot I enjoyed about Reconstructing Amelia, the book still has some flaws. One of the most significant in my mind is how it is unbelievable that a cop would take Amelia’s mother around when questioning people about her daughter’s death. No cop would ever allow that! None of that rings true for me, so I did have a hard time trying to suspend my belief while reading to enjoy the story thoroughly.
The other issue is much smaller than the disbelief surrounding the cop and Amelia’s mother, is that there are a few loose ends surrounding one particular character in the book. I don’t want to say their name because it would probably spoil a bit, but let’s say they are closely connected to Amelia’s story, and I think it is a significant disappointment that we do not see much tied up with them in the end, as we do with others.
I think Reconstructing Amelia is worth the read if you are able to suspend your disbelief as I was trying to do while reading. If you are able to do that, I think you will definitely enjoy the read, especially if you are a fan of books with a little mystery thrown in there. If you do decide to read it, let me know what you think! Share the theories you came up with while reading in the comments.
Title: Reconstructing Amelia
Author: Kimberly McCreight