August 3, 2013

Review: Accidents Happen

Accidents Happen By Louise Millar
Available now from Atria/Emily Bestler Books (Simon & Schuster)
Review copy

I have been trying to read this book for weeks and I am now throwing in the towel.  I have no desire to finish ACCIDENTS HAPPEN and I have other things to read.  I had really high hopes for this one, and the ever-so-slightly-off opening lived up to those hopes.  But then I just kept getting less interested.

1) Don't mention the thing.  In the first several chapters, Louise Millar has several characters mention a thing that paranoid Kate Parker bought without mentioning what it is.  This builds up quite a bit of hype, intentionally, since most of the characters have no reason not to just say what it is.  The actual object is a letdown.

2) Villain POV.  ACCIDENTS HAPPEN is billed as a psychological thriller where Kate doesn't know if she's right to be anxious and paranoid or imagining everything.  Good thing we slip into the villain POV and know that someone is breaking into the house!  It manages to deflate the tension without giving any indication (at least to over halfway through the novel) as to why the man is stalking Kate.

3) Broke my suspension of disbelief.  Kate is trying to overcome her anxiety, partially because she's sees the negative effect she's having on her son's life.  When she meets a stranger named Jago who is an expert in the field, she instantly trusts him despite the fact that he encourages her to do dangerous and illegal things.  There is a difference to not being afraid to go to the corner store and pick up some milk, and not being afraid to trespass.  There are dumb things to do even if you aren't anxious, so it just strained my credulity to breaking that Kate instantly trust Jago.

4) Unsympathetic to conflict.  Remember I mentioned that negative effect on Kate's son?  A central bit of conflict is that his grandparents are just about ready to report Kate to child services and take custody.  That motivates Kate not only truly seek to change, but to notice that he has been hurt by her behavior.  I'm all for Kate getting help and becoming a functioning mother, but I find it hard to be sympathetic to her keeping custody of Jack at this moment of time.  (Extra especially since I know what she doesn't due to the villain POV.)

I've heard good things about the end, but I just have no steam for those last 180 or so pages.  I regret forcing myself to read as far as I did and I'm sure I'll just be less kind to ACCIDENTS HAPPEN if I keep going.


  1. Sounds like a difficult one to get through, definitely. It's always hard when the MC is just not a sympathetic character!

    1. I don't always mind an unsympathetic MC, but this one happened to hit several of my sensitive buttons. (Which is, to be fair, more my fault than the book's.)

  2. Thank you for sharing why this wasn't working for you-her trust of Jago seems very odd. I hate when characters explain good reasons not to trust people and then go ahead and trust the next person they meet because they just "look" or "seem" nice-not sure if that's exactly the case here but it's frustrating!

    1. Yeah, her defining characteristic is paranoia. So why is she instantly trusting this dude?


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