‘Good Me Bad Me’ is the latest book by Ali Land.
Annie’s mother is a serial killer. The only way she can make it stop is to hand her in to the police. But out of sight is not out of mind. As her mother’s trial looms, the secrets of her past won’t let Annie sleep, even with a new foster family and name – Milly. A fresh start. Now, surely, she can be whoever she wants to be. But Milly’s mother is a serial killer. And blood is thicker than water. Good me, bad me. She is, after all, her mother’s daughter…
I have read some dark and twisted books in my time, but none of them has stood out to me as much as ‘Good Me, Bad Me’.
It’s such a complex tale written through the narrative of Milly, a young girl who’s mother was a serial child killer and she has to testify against her mother in the very public court case. As Milly moves in with a new family with a new identity, she has to adjust to the life around as well as deal with the memories and emotions on the run up to the trial.
Whilst, reading this book I experienced such a flurry of emotions that it was impossible to put it down. Milly is a complicated character, having being exposed to various types of abuse as well as witness to some of the most horrific things that a child has to see, it’s no wonder she has trouble settling in. The family that she is placed with look perfect but behind closed doors, seem quite troubled. Mike, is her foster parent, but not only that he is her therapist and is helping advise and guide her through the court case and helping her deal with what she has been through. His wife, Saskia is a bit of a sad character, her main interest is yoga and she tries to get along with her only daughter, Phoebe who continuously pushes her away. Phoebe is an unlikable character. She’s a spoilt bully, who picks on Annie, publicly tormenting her whilst pretending to be her friend in the house. She’s jealous of the attention, Milly gets from her parents particularly from Mike and never misses an opportunity to make her feel uncomfortable or unwanted in both school and home life.
Milly has been through so much and I wanted nothing more than for her to able to settle in and finally have the life that she always wanted. A loving family that provided a secure and happy environment where she wasn’t on edge and constantly afraid. But every time, Milly tries to relax, something happens that reminds her of dark times, the run up to the court case, the bullying at the school and it is at these times, we see a different side to the quiet girl.
With her narrative flowing back and forth from past and present tense, Milly clearly tells her story of her traumatic childhood at the hands of her evil mother and this truly does make for disturbing reading. She’s a brave character, who has conflicted feelings, the love and hatred for a troubled parent and why she was exposed to so much.
Cleverly written with dark but sympathetic characters that I did feel a strong empathy for, this book was captivating from the very start. Riddled with deceit, this atmospheric story made for truly dark and unsettling reading that really pulls the reader in, touching on the subject of child abuse, serial killers and multiple personalities, ‘Good Me, Bad Me’ is an explosive story of morals, moving on and a teenage girl trying to piece herself back together and just wanting to be loved.
You can buy Good Me Bad Me from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.