It’s here! Another installment of Books With Friends! This time I sat down with my pal Danielle to talk about a book we’ve both read: All The Missing Girls, by Megan Miranda. It was a lot of fun sharing thoughts on this story, and it was also reassuring knowing that I wasn’t the only one who thought the descriptions of the woods were terrifying!
Lizz: Why did you read All The Missing Girls?
Danielle: I read it because I saw that you had read it. I saw your rating on Goodreads, and I was like, “this looks interesting.” And it had also come up a couple of times on my Kindle suggestions. The summary also seemed very ambiguous!
L: Do you read a lot of psychological thrillers?
D: Do I? No! I don’t.
L: Well one thing I found interesting about the story is that it’s actually told backwards. What did you think about that writing style?
D: I loved it! It was slightly confusing for the first maybe two chapters once it started to go backwards, but it kept me flipping the pages because I really wanted to know what had happened before that. It was like, “Okay, I know that happened now, but why is she so nervous?” Then I would read the next chapter and be like, “Ohhh!” It was weird to have the picture painted that way.
L: Did you ever find yourself going back to re-read things?
D: Yes, absolutely. I would go back, if I started the chapter and was like “What the heck?!” I would go back, especially if it had been a couple of hours in between reading.
L: Yeah, I found myself doing that a lot too because I read it in a couple sittings. Since it was told backwards rather than forwards, I would have to go back and re-read the ending of the last chapter to remember what was happening.
D: Exactly, but I really liked the momentum.
L: So what was your experience like reading it in this style, opposed to a linear story that goes from start to finish?
D: There was a lot more anxiety. They foreshadow what’s going to happen, and then all of a sudden you get thrown backwards.
L: You said that you don’t necessarily read a lot of thrillers, but how does this book compare to others of that genre that you have read? Because for me, trying to guess how something happened rather than who did it made it really different.
D: I’ve read a couple psychological thrillers, like The Girl on a Train, so I was comparing it to that quite a bit because that was the last thriller that I’d read. The Girl on the Train was interesting because you kind of got things in flashes, but it was told forwards, so it was interesting to read All The Missing Girls backwards. I found that I enjoyed it more going that way than I did with The Girl on the Train where it was the flashes going forward. I think All The Missing Girls is a standout for me, within this genre.
L: I can’t think of any other books off the top of my head told in this style.
D: Me either. I kept trying to think of other books, but I can’t.
L: It definitely makes it unique. Another thing I wanted to ask, when I was reading it whenever there was a description of the woods–because they live in a small town surrounded by woods–the woods terrified me. I was convinced there was a monster, so I was wondering if you ever picked up on those descriptions?
D: Yeah, the way her Dad kept saying and alluding to “there’s a monster in the woods” and “the woods have eyes” sort of thing, I imagined, I think it’s in Alice in Wonderland, in the Disney cartoon, where the eyes are popping out at her. I imagined that when they were close to the woods, that there were all these eyes staring at them. And it also made me feel like the town was more secluded from the rest of the world, the way it was so dark and sinister.
L: That’s another thing I thought: the story takes place in a really small town in the middle of nowhere, but if the same story took place in a major city would it be as exciting or mysterious?
D: I don’t think so, because the woods definitely kept things very dark, very sinister, and very nerve-wracking. It was good pathetic fallacy.
L: I thought that too! I thought “I haven’t thought about pathetic fallacy since studying literature in university” but this book really brought it out. Another question had for you, one of the lines in the book, I don’t remember who exactly says it, is “You can leave a small town, but the small town doesn’t leave you.” I know that you’re from a small town, so am I, so I was wondering if that line related to you at all?
D: Yeah, the minute I read that I thought “it’s so true.” It really is. Although I’ve been out of there for a long time now, I feel that a lot of the values I grew up with in a small town, like be nice to your neighbours, I still do that.
L: Who would you recommend this book to?
D: I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to maybe try something different, who wants something that’s going to keep them on the edge because it’s a real page-turner. I guess anyone who’s into thrillers, but I think this book could be enjoyed by almost anyone.
L: Awesome. The last question I have is: what are you going to read next?
D: I’m going to read our book club book, The Only Child. I’m reading that next. However, there’s another one that came up on Goodreads, it’s another thriller, Into the Water by Paula Hawkins, I also eyed that one. I’ve had it on my list for a while because of Goodreads, and I think after reading All The Missing Girls I’m going to read it soon.