Monday, June 29, 2015

Luckiest Girl Alive

Luckiest Girl Alive
by Jessica Knoll

Genre:  Fiction
Published: 5/12/15 by Simon and Schuster
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover

My rating:
3.5 out of 5 stars

TifAni FaNelli knows what she wants...a successful career, the perfect skinny body, a rich husband with a new last name.  And she knows how to manipulate people and her body to get what she wants.  With just a few weeks until her wedding, TifAni is close to reaching her ultimate goals. Yet, TifAni is haunted by a secret, tragic past.  With a documentary movie being made to tell her story, TifAni is forced to come face to face with the past and her secrets.

First, I must address the name:  TifAni FaNelli.  Has there ever been a more obnoxious name in the history of literature? Every time I read her name, I was immediately just annoyed.  Perhaps this was purposeful on the author's part; maybe she wanted the readers to be annoyed every time they read her name.  In addition to the name, there are many other things about Ani (she wisely chose to drop the TifAni as an adult) FaNelli that make her unlikeable.

At least at the beginning of the book, she was unlikeable.  As more is revealed about Ani  and her past, I did grow more sympathetic to her character.  I really just felt incredibly sad for her.  I was sad for her superficiality and the immense way that she cared  about what other people thought of her.  From as early as middle school, she was obsessed with altering who she was in order to fit in and be what other people wanted her to be.  And that led to some tragic events and a very miserable existence.  This was a theme with a lot of characters in the story.  Are people really this superficial and shallow?  It felt stereotyped to me, but perhaps there are people who really live this way.  If that's true, I'm sad for them too.

It was also sad to read about the tragic events that happened to TifAni in high school.  What she experienced then helped me to understand why she was the way she was as an adult, thus increasing my sympathy for her character.  I still can't say that I liked her, but I did feel sorry for her at times.  Many other characters in the book suggested that TifAni deserved what she got due to some bad choices that she made.  I disagree with that.  Despite her bad choices, TifAni did not deserve what she got.  The teens at this school were so very vicious.  Are teens really like this today?  Every time I read a book about high school kids today, I am terrified for my own children to ever become teens.

Overall, this was a dark story.  It was a bit too vulgar for me at times, but I did get caught up in the story and wanted to keep reading to find out what happened to TifAni as a teen and what was going to happen to her as an adult.  I thought the end was a little anti-climactic, as I was expecting something bigger to happen.  I don't know that I would recommend this book to everyone, but if you like dark stories with cold, shallow characters, this could be a book for you.

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