I recently read A simple favor, a twisty thriller about the friendship of two women and the mysterious disappearance of one of them.
I had a fair amount of feelings while reading this book –
- Unlikable characters with interesting stories to tell: I’ve always envied and wondered on how this can be done in my own writing. And I’m always surprised at home much time I’m willing to spend with unlikable characters in fiction (a fair amount) versus real life (none at all).
- Unreliable narrators always make a story more surprising and harder to guess upcoming actions/events. So much fun.
A simple favor was an interesting story, even with the unlikable characters (I do generally prefer likable characters). I recommend the book, especially if you like Gone Girl or Girl on a train, as it’s in that same twisty mystery/thriller genre. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but it’s definitely on my list.
But back to the book. While reading it, I got to thinking about dangerous connections between people. Most people over the age of 13 have had at least one toxic friendship, and so many readers can relate to some of the dynamics at play in this book (though obviously not murder, abuse, etc.).
I’m someone who (like one of the unlikable characters) actively seeks connections/friends and this book mapped out fictional dangers of connecting with the wrong person. As a result, this book had a different kind of thriller element for me. But even if the author sought to teach a lesson to her readers, I don’t think the point was to not open up, share experiences, or meet people. Maybe the point would be to not try too hard and not to force connections.
After all, as grown ups, we’re a long way from the giggling sleepovers from our youth. And maybe we should let people earn our trust, before allowing them the access to our inner most selves and secrets.