I've been reading Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight as part of an online book club that we like to call "Book Lovers Unite" lead by Tamara from Traveling with T. Tomorrow, Tamara has arranged for the author to answer questions about the novel. Be sure to check it out but be warned, there may be spoilers.
Kate, a junior partner at a law firm in Manhattan, is busy with an important client when she receives a call from her daughter's private school in Brooklyn. She is informed that her daughter has been suspended from school and Kate needs to come pick her up immediately. In shock because her daughter Amelia is a straight A student--respectful and good. By the time Kate gets to the school, she is devastated to find the school surrounded by police and to learn that her 15 year old daughter has committed suicide by jumping from the roof.
Months later, Kate is just starting to emerge from the grief to return to work when she receives a cryptic text that implies that Amelia didn't jump. Desperate to get the truth about her daughter's death, Kate starts digging with the help of a police detective. What she learns about her daughter will break her heart; make her question her own ability to parent and search out the people ultimately responsible.
Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight is a suspenseful, emotional read. Normally, I would have devoured this book in a matter of days in a desperate attempt to get to the ending. Because I was reading with the book club and we had a reading schedule that spread out over several weeks and I was determined to stick to the schedule, I took my time and read this novel more slowly. In some ways, it made the characters and situation more powerful as I had more time to think and dwell on the story.
As a mother of children that are growing up way too fast, the topics of bullying and the choices our children make resonated with me. Kate is surprised often to find out the horrible things that Amelia was not telling her. It's easy to want to judge Kate for not being an attentive mother, yet I was reminded of Neal's fourth grade year. He was being physically bullied by older boys and I did not pick up on the clues. It wasn't until I witnessed it myself in front of the school, that I realized that I had completely missed Neal's earlier pleas for help (I wrote about it in a blog post *here*).
Reconstructing Amelia is a powerful and scary book for a parent. McCreight has written a compelling, suspenseful and very realistic book about the life of a teenager. Though it takes place in a private school in New York with very wealthy students, the situations they face are not entirely different from the teenagers going to a public school in a religious area of the west. The ending was surprising and not completely satisfying but the book is definitely worth reading.
**There are some language and brief sexual encounters in the book.**
If you'd like to become a part of the "Book Lovers Unite" online book club, check out Book-alicious Mama who will be hosting the reading of Painted Girls By Cathy Marie Buchanan in July. I read it earlier this year and loved it. Read my review *here*.