“When I was done with crying, I saw that things wouldn’t change on their own; you had to change them. You had to rise up out of that lazy part of yourself that did what it had done before just because it was easier, and do the new thing, the strange thing, the thing you were scared of.”
*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Penguin Books UK in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***
It’s been a few days since I finished All The Good Things and I’m still struggling to put my thoughts together. Because the truth is: I’ve been having mixed thoughts about this story and its main character ever since I first started reading it. I can’t deny Clare Fisher has written a powerful story with a very interesting character and I can see why so many people seem to love All The Good Things. That said, I personally struggled to get a clear picture of Beth or at least couldn’t properly connect to her character. That might be one of the reasons it took me a while to make sense of the story and unfortunately I didn’t enjoy this story as much as I thought I would. But while this sounds negative, I also found myself fascinated by Beth’s character, history and development. I understand why the complete picture of Beth isn’t revealed until the end, but I also do think I would have actually enjoyed this story better with a little more background information in the beginning. The use of the diary entries is a nice touch, I like the reference to the title and it does create a great opportunity to learn more about Beth, but in the end I just wasn’t fully convinced. Apparently All The Good Things is a book that can go both ways though, so definitely give it a try if you like intriguing and unique characters.
The twenty-one year old Beth is in prison after doing something so bad she thinks she doesn’t deserve to ever feel good again. Her counsellor Erika thinks otherwise though, and tries to help her feel better. She asks Beth to make a list of all the good things in her life, and reluctantly Beth starts to write down her story. As she talks about the good things, we slowly learn more about her… But at the end of her journey, she will have to confront the bad thing. What did she do that was so bad? And how did she get to that point in the first place?
There is no doubt Beth is a fascinating character and one worthy to have a story written about, and that’s probably why it pains me so much I wasn’t able to properly connect to her. I really wanted to love All The Good Things and it definitely has all the right elements, but the story as a whole just didn’t blow me away. Would I have enjoyed it better with a little more information about Beth so it would be easier to connect? Maybe. Would I have liked it better if the story would have been told in a different order/format? Perhaps. But I’ve seen others loving her story, so it might just have been me.