Review: The Gosling Girl by Jacqueline Roy

Jacqueline Roy's latest novel takes a dark subject and forces the reader to look within themselves and ask some deep questions about notions of good and evil. Michelle Cameron is considered to be the worst of kind of monster. When she was a child, she lured a smaller child away from her home and murdered her. She was demonised in the media (and by the public,) as the black girl who murdered a white girl. As the book opens, Michelle is an adult released from prison and struggling to fit in to a world that she is ill equiped to handle, and with only minimal support. Can Michelle ever move on from what happened? Or is she doomed to always be a monster? 

Told through the eyes of Michelle, Natalie, a black police officer, and Zoe, a journalist who wants to write a book about Michelle, the book takes an empathetic look at a horrendous crime, its impact and the implications for the very real, and very human, person who is forced to live every day with the aftermath of her actions. 

Straight up. This one is not easy reading. The themes may not necessarily be for all readers. Some readers may feel triggered or disturbed by the content matter. For me personally, I felt challenged. Author Jacqueline Roy has a great talent for making her readers feel empathy and this is especially apparent in her portrayal of Michelle. Roy also explains the reasons behind such a devastating, unthinkable act, and portraying Michelle as a confused and frightened kid who did a bad thing, rather than portraying her as a cold blooded killer. She also offers a sympathetic portrayal of mental illness and loneliness.

Overall, this isn't an easy read. It is a deep and complex book about a dark subject. But it is also one that is well worth giving a chance.

Recommended.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster Australia for my ARC of The Gosling Girl.

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