I recently finished The Favorite Daughter by Kaira Rouda. The main character in this book, Jane, is a mother of 2. She recently lost her older daughter, Mary, and questions remain as to what happened. When the book begins, they are approaching the one year anniversary of Mary’s death. Jane has spent a year, heavily medicated, to get through the grief of losing who she believed was her perfect daughter. During that year, her husband has been working longer hours and her younger daughter, Betsy, is keeping secrets. The family appears to be falling apart and Jane has made it her mission to find out what is going on and what actually happened to Mary.
I don’t want to give any spoilers. But, I have read a lot of books that follow what I have mentioned before as being in the “Gone Girl” genre and this one definitely follows that same genre. As we all know, Amy was a certifiable lunatic in Gone Girl. Compared to Jane in The Favorite Daughter, Amy was actually very sane and normal. To say Jane is crazy, would be an understatement. While I had fun reading this book, I did have a hard time dealing with the true insanity of Jane, I can’t remember the last time I read a character that was crazy and so void of humanity. In a word, WOW!
The Favorite Daughter gives us a very fictional glimpse into the perfect, All American family living in Orange County California. The neighborhood that they live in is over the top idyllic and the people who live there are nothing more than characters. If this is what it is really like to live among the rich in California, I will continue to be happy in Midwestern America. No one seems real in the story, making it hard to actually care about the characters. That being said though, I did have fun reading the book and read it quickly. It is a very easy read and while the ending is very predictable, Jane is very transparent, the story will draw you in.
Don’t expect great literature with this one. I came across one very glaring mistake the author made while writing the book. Throughout the story she talks about all the years her girls were one year apart in school. However, when the oldest daughter goes to college, the younger daughter is starting her junior year of high school. This was, in my opinion, a major mistake that the editor missed. That set aside, expect to have fun reading it and know that the ending will be very satisfying. I gave this book 3 stars on Goodreads. I would have given 3.5, with a half star for the fun factor if that was an option.