Little Girls

Little Girls - Ronald Malfi

[I received a copy through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

An idea that seemed creepy and interesting, but that just fell flat for me.

The beginning was rather slow, with descriptions that quickly became too tedious to go through, and often the dialogues felt useless and too on the "daily conversation" side. It worked at first, to establish the normalcy of the situation (as normal as it could be considering the circumstances); however, after a while, breakfast banter and the likes didn't bring anything to the story, and were tiring to go through. I skimmed some of those parts, hoping to get to the next creepy bit, since creepy is what I wanted.

Too many of the characters' actions and thoughts were told, rather than shown. Although it's never easy when dealing with psychological aspects, as obviously a lot is internalised and cannot necessarily be "shown", here I never felt close to the characters, as if I was meant to stand remote, and watch them without "feeling" anything for them—especially when flashbacks were concerned. At times, they would come out of nowhere, at length, and then mentioned again later to other characters, almost in passing: maybe it would've worked better for me if I could have read them at those moments, when they were more relevant, and not at some random point in the first chapters. When Laurie's secrets started surfacing (what Sadie did to her, for instance), I couldn't bother caring anymore. I could muster neither much interest nor compassion for Laurie or Ted—who had a knack also for coming up with his own crap when it wasn't needed. (Seriously? You really had to tell ease your guilt by telling your wife, when clearly she was going through her father's death and potentially getting crazy?)

The ending was frustrating. It hinted at a specific event, but without spelling it, and echoed in this way the fact that no answer was given as to whether Laurie was actually crazy or not. I still don't know now if she imagined everything, was just stressed out, was haunted by an actual ghost, was plain crazy... In this regard, a more definite ending would have been more satisfying for me. It seemed to me that there wasn't that much of a plot, and that the "ghost" didn't do much for most of the story except just be there. Not to mention the twist about Laurie's father, coming when I didn't care anymore. I admit I finished reading because I expected an answer... and I never really got one.

I liked the setting, though: the creepy house with its old furniture, the well and the dilapidated glass house that were clearly a catastrophe in the making, the photographs of little girls kept in an album, what Laurie discovered in the garage. Still, it wasn't enough to sell me on this novel.