Tuesday, September 21, 2021

The End of Everything by Megan Abbott

Good morning, everyone! Today I'm a stop on the Random Things tour for Megan Abbott's The End of Everything!

Yes, I know this one has been out for quite some time, but with the release of The Turnout, the publisher is, rightfully so, bringing some attention to her backlist as well!

Next door neighbors Lizzie and Evie are the best of friends. They grew up together. They share just about everything. And they have no secrets between them. Or that's what Lizzie thought until Evie went missing. 

Lizzie wants to help. Especially when she remembers the car. And the cigarette butts in the backyard. 

But as Lizzie becomes determined to solve the crime on her own, she find out that Evie didn't quite share everything with her.

This is actually a reread for me, which is very atypical considering how HUGE my looking TBR is. But I read this way back in 2011, when it originally released. I found the subject matter disturbing then—and still do!

Set in the eighties and built around two young teenage girls, The End of Everything is an unsettling story amidst gorgeous prose. How is this possible? Because Abbott writes very well and very prettily. Which contributes to making this story even more unsettling than the subject alone. 

That jarring effect helps too, in that the story is one told from the perspective of a fairly innocent thirteen year old. And this time in her life should be about getting to know herself, not getting a front row seat look at the nasty parts of life!

It makes the reader uncomfortable in a way that really sneaks up on you. I think, too, that it's a perfect melding of all of the things that start to happen to a girl at this particular age. 

Thirteen is still a girl. But on the cusp of becoming a young adult. Everything is changing and even though we, as girls, are taught to be wary and to be on guard for potential dangers even from such an early age, thirteen is not a time that you ever think think to consider those things. Thirteen is invincible!

Thirteen is when you start to realize you have a bit of power in your charm. Thirteen is when you desperately want to be older and enjoy the things all the older kids get to enjoy. But thirteen is the age when you realize those things are only open to you if you pretend to be something that you're not. 

And it's an age when everyone around you should be protecting you and sheltering you from those things!

In Abbott's story, Evie and Lizzie are missing at least some of that protection. They're vulnerable without knowing it. And they pay the price for that. 

The End of Everything makes me sad. And it makes me angry. Because while this is fiction, it's also reality for so many. Too many. Abott deftly taps into that fear, that knowledge that we, women and girls, aren't safe. 

If you've yet to dive into Megan Abbott's work, now is absolutely the time to do so! Her prose has so much power! It elicits so many emotions and feelings. It ingrains itself in your thoughts. And, if you're like me, it makes you examine long held fears and be grateful that you were lucky enough to have enjoyed the good parts of the kinds of stories she writes (close friendships, for one) without the bad. While also feeling so terribly sorry for the fact that anyone would ever suffer that fate. 

1 comment:

Anne said...

Thanks so much for the blog tour support x