This book is all about Carol, the girl. We are introduced to Carol as an impressionable teenager and one of the main leads Frankie as a devil may care playboy who attracts Carol’s attention and they become lovers after a very short courtship where the reader can clearly see that Carol is young, naïve and way out of her depth while for the very experienced Frankie, this is not his first or last relationship. We are also introduced to Sarah, Carol’s childhood friend, her brother, Matthew and Perry, the neighbour’s son and Thora, another neighbour and also Frankie’s long lost mother. We are also introduced to Schmidt, who is Carol’s teacher and is suspected as a paedophile around the village.
This psychological thriller sketches Carol’s life through the years from the 1960’s where she is a teenager who gets pregnant with her boyfriend Frankie’s child and whose relationship with Frankie ends with the death of Frankie through to the year 2016 where she marries Perry who had actually helped her bury her dead boyfriend. Carol experiences a lot of heartache, and after many twists and turns and a sojourn to the hospital for the mentally ill, she inherits a large estate from Thora, who has learnt about her pregnancy and wanted to make sure that her estate was left to Carol and Frankie’s unborn baby.
The major factor in this novel is that the protagonist, i.e. Carol is also the perpetrator and that kind of leaves the reader with bad taste in the mouth, because you feel sorry for her but at the same time you are frustrated at some of her behaviour. It is very apparent to the reader that Frankie is a player and he is cheating under Carol’s nose yet Carol is stuck in her fanciful dreams of a future with Frankie just because he spent the summer with her and gave her some jewellery. Frankie also turns out to be a bigamist, which Carol finds out much, much later as she also finds out that he has been philandering with her best friend Sarah
In 2016, when Carol’s Estate needs renovation and she has to move out and stay with Perry, does the matter of Frankie’s disappearance come up again. It was assumed that Frankie died through drowning in France, however his remains are discovered and finally Carol’s deeds catch up with her. As an older woman on antidepressants and painkillers, Carol is much more vulnerable and Perry also does not turn out to be her protector, he is violent, not the reassuring husband that Carol thought she had found. The climax of the book is it’s saving grace and without revealing too much it ties everything up neatly and explains a lot. It involves Matthew, Sarah and Carol and the events that led up to the death of Frankie. Initially it was thought that Schmidt was being blackmailed by Frankie due to his unsavoury activities and he was involved with his death but the climax of the novel delivers a powerful and emotional ending to the novel involving those the most closest to Carol.
It is very rare that I lose interest in a book that I have chosen to review. Unfortunately Killing the Girl is one of those books. The girl, Carol, in most of the book is killing a lot of things but not the girl. The girl survives through most of the book and experiences a lot of highs and lows and there is a certain lack of continuity and my interest wavered a little during the middle of the book. I have rated the book four stars because for me, the middle of the novel did not hold my attention but the end was engaging and involved Matthew’s character, who did not make too many appearances throughout the novel.