The Fall of Lisa Bellow by Susan Perabo: A Review
Lisa Bellow is a mean girl. Everybody would like to see her disappear from their lives, especially Meredith Oliver. Until, of course, she does. On a random day in which Meredith decides to treat herself to a root beer from a sandwich shop, she witnesses the sandwich shop being robbed and Lisa Bellow being taken by a man that Meredith has never seen before. Soon, Meredith is asked to be a part of Lisa's old clique and Lisa's mom wants to spend time with her; at first to get information, but then just to serve as a reminder of Lisa. Meredith begins to have flashbacks that morph into imaginings that she was also kidnapped and held in an apartment with Lisa. Will these fantasies help Meredith find Lisa?
This was a beautiful story. Perabo has a unique ability to weave a story that is complex and engrossing. The writing is fluid and easy to read, making this for a very enjoyable book. I was a bit disappointed when I came to the ending and I still had so many questions, though. I think this was due to my own misunderstanding about what this book was about. When I first read the synopsis, I was under the impression that this would be a mystery or thriller. I read the novel as if suspense was building, waiting for the unfolding of what happened to Lisa and Meredith. This is less of a mystery, however, and more of a work of literary fiction. The book touches on subjects, such as bullying and how families deal with trauma and tragedy, in ways that don't take sides. Lisa is a mean girl, bullying Meredith to make her friends laugh, but she can be kind as well, telling Meredith that it was "the best day of her life" when she ate lime snow cones with her. Meredith may have been hurt by Lisa's cruelty but she still became obsessed with Lisa's life after the kidnapping. The characters in this book were incredibly complex, real, and far from cliched. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to readers of literary fiction. Just know going into it that this is not a mystery novel and you might not have all of your questions answered in the end.
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