My inexplicable need to read books before watching the movie prompted me to pick Every Secret Thing prior to the release of the new thriller starring Diane Lane and Dakota Fanning. In the first few pages, two young girls, Alice and Ronnie, stumbled upon a baby, were convicted of murdering it, and were locked away for seven years. When a new spree of kidnapping occurred right after the girls’ release, some people were convinced they were at it again.
After the fast past beginning, I waited, and waited, and waited, for something else to happen. Still, I read on, convinced this must be great to warrant being turned into a movie. Ronnie and Alice, were discussed on nearly every page, but their characters were actually given very little attention, so I never got to know them. Instead, the author provided background details for too many characters (Alice’s mom, their lawyer, the victim’s mother, a detective…), and that pulled the plot in too many directions. I would have preferred for the author to eliminate the stories of those characters and to have provided more information on the trial and evidence that sent the girls away.
This was a creepy and bizarre story that needed a better execution. A surprise ending just doesn’t work when the reader isn’t let in on any version of the story. Because the murder was barely described, the big twists at the end fizzled. There was also a racial component here that was awkward and seemed misplaced.
I rarely say this, but this is one time I think the movie will be better than the book.