My two May picks for my Book of the Month subscription were The Knockout Queen by Rufi Thorpe, reviewed here, and A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight. I picked A Good Marriage because I saw a post somewhere that Nicole Kidman was looking at turning it into a movie and that intrigued me.
I’m not sure how I want to rate A Good Marriage yet.
Generally, while I’m reading a book I get the feeling for a particular rating. Almost the whole book, I was set on 3/5 stars but then the last 100 pages happened and I wanted to raise it to a 4. I’ve decided to split the difference and rate it 3.5 but rounded up to 4 on Goodreads.
The book flashes back and forth between two different points of view of women. They are in vastly different marriages and one in particular is constantly questioning hers and comparing it to those of her friends. It begs you to ask the question… what is a good marriage?? Could the marriage of our friends or colleagues really not be as good as we perceive it to be? Especially with social media, people have a tendency to project an exterior that seems perfect. Therefore, trying to compare ourselves to others is unrealistic and unhealthy. I feel like every marriage is different and you’ll know if your marriage is a good one for you. What is good for you might not work for someone else. I also feel like our society judges too quickly on what they think things should look like and have a tendency to lead with negative judgement first.
The story also looks at other relationships including those between parents and children and how they aren’t always easy. This led to the a quote I found that is very apropos to today’s times:
I think there are a lot of people in our country that are trying to pretend all the bad things aren’t really happening. Just because you ignore it or pretend that it doesn’t happen, doesn’t keep the bad things from happening… just because you pretend that there isn’t racism, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
While I’m touching on racism, there was another quote that I feel wouldn’t be in the book if it wasn’t true in a lot of people’s mind. In the book isn’t just a passing comment and accepted as fact. It’s time for the that to change.
Besides the focus on marriages the story mainly follows a murder that takes place in an upper class Brooklyn neighborhood. One of the main POV is the defense lawyer who is trying to figure out what happened and the other POV is the woman who was killed and is her going through the days leading up to her murder.
Overall, I enjoyed the plot but there were a couple of points that were a bit off for me. The pace of the first three quarters of the book was a tad slow and I struggled to stay interested and focused. The last hundred pages though… wow… they sucked me in and, for me, made up for the pace at the beginning. It was classified on BOTM as a legal thriller, but I don’t know if I would call it a thriller, it was definitely suspenseful.