- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Picador (19 Aug. 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0330535455
- ISBN-13: 978-0330535458
- Product Dimensions: 0.3 x 18.6 x 24.2 cm
- Average Customer Review: 114 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,215,058 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The End of Everything Paperback – 19 Aug 2011
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'The End of Everything is already being compared to The Virgin Suicides (and, for once, rightly so) . . . dreamy, shimmering . . . Enthralling.' --Book of the Summer in Marie Claire
When you're thirteen and your best friend goes missing, only one thing is certain: your life will never be the same againSee all Product description
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As with the later Fever and Dare Me her protagonist is a teenage girl, the 13 year old Lizzie, who is just about to move on to high school. Her friend, Evie, suddenly vanishes. Lizzie desperately wants to have her friend back. She seeks even more to recover their friendship. She becomes amateur detective. In a confused way she comes to an understanding of what may have happened and why. In this process she unpacks much of inner self. She also discovers how some things called love, and even felt in that way, are deformed and false.
As with the other two books, the adult world runs in parallel with the adolescent. They too are looking for clues to the vanished girl. Again parents and elders are shown up in a poor light; they do not guide and educate, they are poor role models, they even miss obvious clues to the mystery.
In this book though things are darker. Abbott exposes dishonesty and corruption and the manipulation of innocence. While not especially explicit, emotionally it is not pleasant. I preferred the later novels [and look forward to the new one].
Lizzie and Evie are best friends. They practically live in each others pockets sharing secrets, as teenage girls tend to do. They are inseparable until one day Evie is taken from her. That day everything changes for Lizzie.
What follows is a compelling yet often slightly disturbing effort by Lizzie to get Evie home. Her journey involves delving deep into Evie's family life and she begins to wonder whether she really knew her best friend at all.
The End of Everything really focuses on relationships but it's hard to talk about the individual relationships without spoiling the story but it was interesting that the girl's relationships seem to mirror each other throughout the whole book. Lizzie forms a strong attachment to Evie's father. She worships in a way that is not entirely innocent. The reader is also lead to wonder if his intentions are totally innocent either. What is clear though is that he sees Lizzie as a portal to Evie. He is convinced that she knows something that he doesn't.
There is a twist in this book and although it wasn't entirely surprising it still kept me racing through the pages.
The ending won't be to everyone taste but I loved it. I really love when the last chapter, or even the last page flicks a switch in your brain and makes you re think everything you've just read.
I've only read one Megan Abbott book before this (Dare me). It didn't grab me like this one did but I will definitely be returning to her books in the future.
However, this is a very disturbing book and it is very hard to believe that it was the voice of a 13 year old, particulary the 13 year old Lizzie that we are introduced to in the book. It would have been a lot more believable if the narrator had been Dusty, or even Evie. Furthermore, it is very hard to believe that a 13 year old girl would make the same choices as the two characters in this book made. Suspension of disbelief would have to play a large part in this, even if you could swallow down the lump of discomfort that had settled somewhere between your throat and your stomach at the subject matter. For, yes, this is a very uncomfortable book. The protagonist, and indeed other characters, have an unhealthy fixation on sex. One could say this fixation was almost a perversion for some and there is an inexcusable acceptance of the behaviour of certain characters. Reading through sometimes made me feel sick but I persisted because somewhere in there was a good story. Having said that, the story did start to unravel for me a little bit because I found a lot of what happened so very hard to believe. It would have worked so much better if the narration was through the eyes of a 16 year old. 13 just seemed too unreal for a lot of what happened and, indeed, for a lot of the adult decisions that were made by the protagonist.
Evie was another thing altogether. I can't really nut out the part that disturbed me most without ruining the story for those who wish to read it. Suffice to say that you will know it when you get to that part and maybe you will even wonder at it the same way I did. The whole thing left me feeling very disturbed and sick to my stomach.
Concentrating on the parts I did like: this is the first book I have read in quite some time that I have not dreaded revisiting every time I put my Kindle down - in other words, it kept me reading and I was intrigued to find out the whole story. I feel it could have been a little faster paced in parts, but this did not make me want to stop reading or skip parts. Quite aside from the fact that I never skip parts (I just stop reading if I am that bored), I knew there would be a detail I would miss that would make a later part of the story seem nonsensical or as though something was missing. I liked that there was resolution at the end. A lot of books I have read in the last year seem to end in such a way that there is no resolution so it was comforting to see some. I liked the realistic way that the author did not tie up all loose ends and make everyone live happily ever after. The ending and the way it came to pass was all realistic enough for me.
Would I recommend this book? NO! A resounding no. That is solely due to the content of the book. I found it disturbing and I could not say I liked this book or enjoyed reading it. Readable? Yes. Enjoyable? How could it be?
Would I read another book by this author? Possibly, but I would want a little bit more information as to the content you do not get to see on the blurb and I would do so with wariness. It is not a book to hand to anyone under the age of 18 if you ask me.
In three words: Proceed with caution
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Most recent customer reviews
The End of Everything is the third of Megan Abbott’s novels that I have read and in contrast to Dare Me and The Fever I found it an uncomfortable and at times...Read more
Well written, and with a satisfying ending.