Pieces of Her – Karin Slaughter Book Review

“Men can always reinvent themselves,” Laura said. “For women, once you’re a mother, you’re always a mother.”

What if the person you thought you knew best turns out to be someone you never knew at all?


Karin-Slaughter-Pieces-Of-Her.jpgAndrea knows everything about her mother, Laura. She knows she’s spent her whole life in the small beachside town of Belle Isle; she knows she’s never wanted anything more than to live a quiet life as a pillar of the community; she knows she’s never kept a secret in her life. Because we all know our mothers, don’t we?

But all that changes when a trip to the mall explodes into violence and Andrea suddenly sees a completely different side to Laura. Because it turns out that before Laura was Laura, she was someone completely different. For nearly thirty years she’s been hiding from her previous identity, lying low in the hope that no one would ever find her. But now she’s been exposed, and nothing will ever be the same again.

The police want answers and Laura’s innocence is on the line, but she won’t speak to anyone, including her own daughter. Andrea is on a desperate journey following the breadcrumb trail of her mother’s past. And if she can’t uncover the hidden secrets hidden, there may be no future for either one of them…

This book was like two stories in one. And then three, and then four.

I liked the first two, I got confused by the rest.

The setup is similar to a spy movie. Daughter finds out that mother is hiding a secret after she expertly kills a mall shooter with a knife. After finding herself in public scrutiny, Laura explains that she’s just a normal housewife who saw her daughter in harms way and reacted accordingly. I was thinking this could be a book about excessive use of force during self-defence situations but man, was I wrong. Andrea and Laura get attacked again in their home and this time Andy’s the one to kill the assailant using a massive pan.

Her mother gives her clear instructions on how to escape and where to go and upon following those instructions, Andy finds out a getaway car with supplies, $240k in $20 bills and IDs for another name.

As she’s on the run, the third and fourth stories start – talking about the government cutting funding to veteran mental institutions, about a father killing his teenage children and then killing himself, about a mother who went to shoot the guy who had the idea that money for patients needing permanent care and supervision should not be spent.

Then there’s another story about how a woman got pregnant with a smooth talker and then decided to keep the baby.

Then about indoctrination similar to the famous Patty Hearst case.

I lost interest by then. Half way through the book I was mostly skimming and thinking – why did she overcomplicate the plot by bringing in a cast of characters with different names and similar personalities and going away from the mother-daughter story?

“She had always believed—vehemently, with great conviction—that the only way to change the world was to destroy it.”

The terrorist back-plot was terrible, slow paced and made me want to put this book quickly in the charity pile. Andy’s naivete at 31 years old is frustrating and quite annoying at times, and the character development is severely lacking.


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