Is She Or Isn’t She “Good As Gone”?

thGood As Gone started off with an Elizabeth Smart type kidnapping that rocked a family until Julie returned home eight years later. Julie looked like the missing daughter, but was clearly hiding something. Her strange behavior coupled with a private investigator’s hunch that a newly discovered body was actually Julie left her mother, Anna, extremely suspicious.

The first narrative of the novel was told in the present with Julie attempting to get comfortable in her old home despite the changes that had occurred. Her bedroom became an office and her younger sister was in college. Information emerged about how her parents reacted in the aftermath of her kidnapping, but not a great deal. Her family’s ability to cope with the tragedy wasn’t a major focus for this novel and in a way made the characters a little distant. Obviously, time had passed, but small details showed that the family had not really moved on. The first scene of the family dinner with Julie’s other sister sitting awkwardly with the parents showed each family member as deeply wounded.

The second narrative explained the sordid tale of the girl who said she was Julie. That story was told in reverse, which left the big reveal for the ending. Was she or wasn’t she Julie? I found the way that story was told to be a little confusing. First, Julie has impersonated so many people that it was hard to know what was going on. She also bounced around from different homes and states so frequently that it was hard to empathize with her as a runaway because each story was so brief. To give this book the question mark it needed to make it a mystery, the reader couldn’t know whether Julie was the real daughter or not, but that meant the story couldn’t have a detailed background.

I liked this novel that had a serious plot. The story moved very well and was entertaining. I would recommend this.


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