Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

March 26, 2014 Book Club, Coming of Age, Psychological 24

Hidey Ho, Bookworms!

Remember last month when I got all philosophical about choosing a book for book club because last month’s selection in my neighborhood book club (cleverly named My Neighbors Are Better Than Your Neighbors) hit a sour note? You can click HERE if you’re interested. But you’ll be happy to know that this month’s selection worked out infinitely better for me. This month we read Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight, and WHOA.

ReconstructingAmelia hc c.JPGKate is a high powered lawyer living with her teenage daughter Amelia in Brooklyn. Kate has raised Amelia on her own since unexpectedly finding herself pregnant in law school. Kate has done her best to balance her career and single motherhood, though she feels guilty much of the time that her career has won out. When she’s called to Amelia’s hoity toity private school in the middle of an important meeting, she is frustrated. The situation that awaits her is more tragic than she ever imagined. Amelia fell to her death from the school’s roof.

Because dealing with the death of your child isn’t horrifying enough, Kate begins to get mysterious text messages saying that her daughter didn’t commit suicide. Kate embarks on a journey into investigating what was going on in her daughter’s life leading up to her untimely demise and what she uncovers is a whole lot more than she bargained for.

The hoity toity private school is a hotbed of elitism, secret societies, bullying, and all kinds of psychological warfare. Reading about this school, I have never been so grateful to have been raised thoroughly middle class. I went to high school where nobody gave a crap. Seriously. Heck, my school could barely even muster the energy for a traditional social hierarchy, never mind an elaborate set of secret social clubs.

As you probably know, psychological thrillers and murder mysteries aren’t typically my jam, but the addition of the scandalous school elements, really sucked me in. Two thumbs up, kiddos!

Alright Bookworms, I’ve got to know. Was your high school experience ANYTHING like what you’ve seen in pop culture?

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24 Responses to “Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight”

  1. Nish

    Stuff of every mom’s nightmares. My daughter recently went through a bullying incident in school and I was called in the middle of the work day. She was fine, a little teary-eyed and upset but it got sorted out and things are much better for her.

    But so so scary 🙁

  2. Heather

    My high school experience sucked, but it was nothing like what you described here. There were social hierarchies, but they weren’t based on income. And there were no secret clubs. There was definitely bullying, though, and I had an archenemy who made my school life a fucking hell. Sigh.

  3. Megan M.

    I don’t know, really. You definitely knew who the cool kids were and who the rich kids were. I was a very quiet, bookish girl. A lot of people were nice to me but I definitely got made fun of. I didn’t think of myself as being bullied because I wasn’t the target of one person or one group and no one ever tried to physically hurt me, but people definitely teased me.

  4. kristinshafel

    Yeah I’d say my experience was a little closer to Freaks and Geeks or My So-Called Life, without the endless brooding. I was a band nerd! My high school was really big, I think there might have been 1000 or so kids, so I didn’t find there to be “traditional” hierarchy of popularity or coolness. Everyone was popular and cool within their own groups. It was actually pretty good. Although the same people got voted to homecoming and prom court, but those were the people that cared about it in the first place. Enh.

  5. Tanya

    I’ve heard great things about this book and really want to read it. And for the record, my high school experience was nothing like what you see on TV. I’m not saying it was better or worse, just different.

  6. Jenny @ Reading the End

    My high school experience was relatively painless. The thing is that there weren’t any jocks at my school — we didn’t have football or baseball or basketball — and I think that cut back on a lot of the craziness that shows up in media portrayals of high school. It could also be that I was just insanely lucky to go to school with mostly nice people.

    • Words For Worms

      We had sports, I just don’t know that anybody cared about them? In any case, it’s good to hear you spent your formative years without a bunch of meanie meanersons. Yay for nice people. They never get enough credit!

  7. Kelly

    I read this book, too, and I agree – definitely elitist. There were cliques at my high school and you definitely got a sense of who the most popular crew was but nobody was cruel, or threatening or sadistic like these girls are! I couldn’t really relate to that aspect of it BUT the psychological thriller angle did pull me in. And I liked that it was constructed to reflect our modern age (facebook messages, texts, e-mails, etc). Really interesting to piece all that together and form a portrait of a social life.

    • Words For Worms

      I have said it before and I’ll say it again: I am SO GLAD I grew up before Facebook! It’s one thing to have a tiff with notes and a little bit of mean spewed back and forth. Those things blow over. Much harder for them to blow over when there’s a permanent record of the encounter on the internet. I cringe.

  8. Isi

    Sounds really great! I’m not a reader of thrillers, but from time to time you find one you get glued to 🙂 I’ll take this one into account, for sure.
    My highschool was the most normal/plain in the world, so I have very little to say about it!

  9. Katie @ Doing Dewey

    Next month I get to nominate the books from which my book club will vote on our May read and I’m really nervous about picking something! I think as long as I have some variety, voting should lead to something most people will enjoy, but as the most bookish of even my bookish group, I really want to pick something good!

  10. Julianne - Outlandish Lit

    Luckily for me, my school was bass ackwards and the kids who were liberal atheists with obscure music tastes who at one point played WoW were on top on the food chain. I did pretty well for myself, which I realize isn’t everyone’s high school experience at all. So more typical school popularity systems definitely interest me. I put this ebook on hold at the library a long time ago and felt kind of embarrassed, because it’s totally not the sort of thing I normally read. I’m glad to hear it’s actually good!

    • Words For Worms

      LOL that’s kind of awesome, actually. I think since my high school experience was pretty apathetic, it’s really interesting to read about typical hierarchies. You should never be embarrassed about what you read! Genre dabbling is a good thing.

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