Ani is about to have it all: the Harrison name and money, a great New York City job as an editor of a popular women’s magazine, and the size 0 figure to go with it. It seems as if she is the Luckiest Girl Alive, but under it all, she’s tormented by her past, doubtful of the choices she’s made for the future, and working hard for this “effortlessly” perfect life.
Ani is not very likeable. She is a shallow striver. We glimpse hints of her humanity, like the way she treats a disfigured coffee vendor, but in the context of the rest of her story, as a reader I was skeptical of her motives. Through flashbacks, we learn about several tragic events that happened her freshman year in high school. I don’t want to give anything away, because it is the kind of novel you want to let unfold. The things that Ani experienced in her early years are humiliating and horrific. Did they cause me to see her with a little more empathy? Maybe, but not wholly.
That is the beauty of this book. The tone is dark, set by her callous views on life. The language is rough and some of the scenes are explicit in a way that is unsettling to me, but Ani shares it all as if she’s one degree removed from the situation. She does not want pity, and so she didn’t get any, at least not from me.
This is yet another novel that is being compared to Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train (linked to my reviews), and I think the general dark tone and untrusted narrator definitely support the comparison.
NOTES ON THE AUDIOBOOK:
Madeleine Maby does an excellent job of reading Luckiest Girl Alive. Her voice is easy to listen to, but also evokes the detachment that I referenced above.
Hear an excerpt and learn more at the Simon & Schuster Audio site, with extras like this video from the author Jessica Knoll about creating an unlikable female lead.