Luckiest Girl Alive

Luckiest Girl Alive

A Novel

Downloadable Audiobook - 2015
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Twenty-eight-year-old New Yorker Ani FaNelli seems to have it all: she's a rising star at The Women's Magazine, impossibly fit, perfectly groomed, and about to marry Luke Harrison, a handsome blueblood. But behind that veneer of perfection lies a vulnerability that Ani holds close and buries deep- a very violent, and public, trauma from her past has left her constantly trying to reinvent herself, and only she knows how far she would go to keep her secrets safe. When a documentary producer invites Ani to tell her side of the chilling incident that took place when she was a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School, she hopes it will be an opportunity for public vindication. Armed with the trappings of success- expensive clothes, high-powered byline, a massive engagement ring- she is determined to silence the the whispers of suspicion and blame from her past, and prove once and for all how far she's come since Bradley. She'll even let them film her lavish wedding on Nantucket, the final step in her transformation. But perfection doesn't come without cost. As the wedding and filming converge, Ani's meticulously crafted facade begins to buckle and crack- until an explosive revelation offers her a final chance at redemption, even as it rocks her picture-perfect world.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster Audio ; [Prince Frederick, Md.] : [Distributed by] OneClick Digital, 2015, p2015
Edition: Unabridged
ISBN: 9781442380530
Characteristics: 1 online resource (11 hr., 47 min.)

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Feb 12, 2017

Between the synopsis and the blurb on the cover comparing this to a Gillian Flynn novel, I expected some crazy twist. And when you're about halfway through it, the biggest twist that could happen is pretty evident. Which makes it less of a twist (when you can see it coming). That kept me tense throughout the entire audiobook. But it turns out, that's not what this book is about. And it speaks highly to Knoll's skill that, when I figured that out, I wasn't disappointed at all.

And I can't actually lay that all on the synopsis and blurb- Knoll drops plenty of hints that Ani/Tiffany may be an unreliable narrator. It's also pretty heartbreaking to accept that rather than some sociopathic mastermind, she's just a girl who went through trauma after trauma and dealt with it as best as others would allow her.

When the book starts off, she's not a likeable character. Some of her fear-based actions are understandable and relatable, but here's a high-powered, snarky, manipulative woman living a very crafted and artificial life. It's hard not to revile someone who plays life like a chess game rather than embracing it, even though it's admirable that anyone could be that controlled, determined, and clear-sighted (and have that much energy- oof!)
I don't doubt that this kind of thing happens every day. Women and men living plastic, high-powered lives that are carefully crafted around a false notion of success that is, inevitably, doomed to fail when the facade cracks. I don't know NYC, or the Main Line, but the old money/new money socioeconomics behind it is a tale as old as time.

And even though, at points throughout the book, I wanted to scream at every single character except Lolo and Nell, I was fully and constantly engaged in the narrative. The audiobook was well done, with each character's voice distinctive and rich, and Ani herself at turns frustrating and pitiable (but never pitiful). By the end, though, I actually liked Ani. I liked her ability to adapt, her priorities, her realizations (which never were the false-lightbulb kind, but came about primarily because her own skills at manipulating others allowed her to see deeper motivations). I still think Nell is hero, but she's also a subtle background role.

It's rare that I can end up liking a character who embodies things I despise about people in reality, which is why I recommend this book to basically everyone who likes contemporary fiction.

Oct 27, 2015

Not really all that good of a novel. I only read it because it was very popular at the library and on the best sellers list. Not one of the best books I've read. It seems recently that everyone wants to write the next "Gone Girl" type novel.


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