When I picked up Jennif Weiner’s Goodnight Nobody, I dimly recalled reading one of her novels but could not remember the story. Reading the blurb on the back of this one, I was interested enough to turn the first page. The main character in the story is Kate Klein, a mother of three, who finds herself living in suburbia. Her once-loving husband is hardly ever home, the supermommies on the playground snub her, and her days are spent with three children under the age if five. A fellow mother is murdered and Katie launches an unofficial investigation – from 8:45 to 11:30 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays when the children are at nursery school.
The blurb promised not only a story of investigation, but also a tale that considers the choices that all modern women make as they navigate between independence and marriage, being a mother and having a life of one’s own. The promise, however, was not delivered.
Goodnight Nobody skates on the surface of the above-mentioned themes. The marriage problems between Kate and Ben, her husband, are hinted at but never addressed. The reader is told that Kate feels to be an incompetent mother – but these feelings are not explored. Even the investigation seems pedantic. And the solution is arrived at by Kate suddenly with with no suggestion as to why she makes the connection between events and the person she suspects to be the murderer.
Reading the appendix to the book, I learned that this novel was Weiner’s first attempt at a novel of this genre. And it shows. Goodnight Nobody is not a novel I would recommend to readers who enjoy detective stories or novels that explore more deeply the female experience.
I gave the novel ⭐⭐ 2 stars on Goodreads.
Have you read any of Jennifer Weiner’s novels? What did you think?
© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018
(This novel was the 34th in my 50 book pledge for 2018)