I recently joined a book club and the second book was/is Luckiest Girl Alive and I am on the fence of whether I liked it or not. The main character Ani is one of the most unlikable characters I have read in a while. Throughout the story you learn she has been through great tragedy and that her parents are crap to boot. Despite all that I still do not think that warrants her bad behavior. Ani spends most of the novel using and manipulating people to her own ends which is not any better than those that took advantage of her. They like her took advantage of others because they could. Those that hurt her met horrible ends where her biggest consequence was being miserable and unsuccessfully trying to seduce a married man. In the end she has the best revenge of all, still being alive and able to fix her miserable existence and not marrying someone for all the wrong reasons.
I felt bad for her during the sexual assault and how cavalier she was treated after by everyone but Mr. Larson. I think the fact that Mr. Larson(Andrew) was the only kind person during her worst moment and his draw to broken people created a misguided attachment between them. Thankfully he knew better and saved her from herself one last time. Also, the scene at planned parenthood was horrible. In what universe is a medical professional able to say well I am not qualified to answer that after an underage patient asks, “If I do not remember having sex, does it make it rape?” If abuse of any kind is suspected or implied aren’t they supposed to report that to the authorities?
Oh Arthur! I would never guessed his ultimate role in the novel. I did not see that coming until maybe he went all batshit crazy with Ani and she ran out in the nick of time. I would have never seen him as violent. I guess years of being treated as an outcast got the best of him and Ben who only was marginalized mention throughout the book. Ben’s character never flushed out even though he was a crucial part of the biggest tragedy of the novel. The level of detail in the massacre chapter was a little off putting. This is the only part of the novel I felt the least bit of sympathy for Ani. She made a hard decision in the most difficult of situations.
Ani and Luke were destined to fail from the get go. Her intentions with him were never noble. She hated everything he represented. It was everything her mom wanted for her and that in itself should have been her biggest warning sign of this doomed relationship.
And her mom? The worst mother ever. How the hell do you blame your child for being raped? Ani was so desperate for acceptance she ignored or did not see the warning signs of being the only girl at the party. That does not excuse the boys of taking advantage of a girl who could not consent. Because she didn’t fight them( she was unconscious drunk) they thought she was ok with it? WTF!!!
My favorite part of the book? The ending. Ani finally found the courage to take control of her life and began giving importance to her instincts. She was able to sever a relationship she knew was wrong. She also was able to find some kind of closure with her assault. She was able to get validation that those that caused her harm knew what they did was wrong and could admit that what happened to her was in fact rape. My hope as a reader is that she found closure in Dean’s admission.
Sometimes the best revenge is being happy. You can’t always prevent bad things from happening to you and sometimes all you can do is survive it, learn from it and move on from it. Moving on does not mean you forget but moving is on is simply taking back the power your “bad thing” has on you.