Author: Clare Fisher
Format: Advance Reader Copy
Source: Received from the publisher for an honest review
Blurb: Twenty-one year old Beth is in prison. The thing she did is so bad she doesn't deserve to ever feel good again.
But her counsellor, Erika, won't give up on her. She asks Beth to make a list of all the good things in her life. So Beth starts to write down her story, from sharing silences with Foster Dad No. 1, to flirting in the Odeon on Orange Wednesdays, to the very first time she sniffed her baby's head.
But at the end of her story, Beth must confront the bad thing.
What is the truth hiding behind her crime? And does anyone-even a 100% bad person-deserve a chance to be good?
This was such an experience of a book. I wasn't expecting to be so thoroughly absorbed, especially when much of the book is based around flashbacks almost, and therapy sessions. But from the first chapter I was totally hooked into the story and into Beth's mind.
I found myself getting really emotional, even in only the first few chapters, and I definitely felt for Beth. Even the "Good Things" of the title sometimes made me feel a little sad. The stories about her foster parents especially I found quite moving. This wasn't a foster-nightmare, there wasn't abuse or mistreatment. But the sheer fact of being in a home that isn't really yours and being raised by people who aren't your parents just came across as so lonely and I just wanted to reach through the book and hug her so many times.
I wasn't totally surprised by the bad thing Beth did, I obviously don't want to say too much because I don't want to spoil it for anyone else. But I did suspect what it might be from fairly early on. However this didn't really change the effect the journey and the discovery had on me. I was so willing to just go with Beth and learn whatever she was willing to tell me whenever she was willing to tell it. And I definitely still got very emotionally affected towards the end of the book.
I've never been to prison but I have been in therapy and whilst I had a very different kind of therapy I still related to Beth's journey and her personal growth. The main strength of All the Good Things is just how real it felt. Not just the characters but the situations and the events all felt so, sometimes devastatingly, real and it added so much to the impact of the story.
All the Good Things wasn't at all what I was expecting from it but it was such a great, emotional and just brilliantly crafted book. I definitely recommmend picking it up if you're at all intrigued and I can't wait to see what Clare Fisher writes next!