Have you ever felt like you just made the biggest mistake of your life? Or something was so humiliating and degrading that you wished with all your might that you could force everyone to forget?
Imagine if it was that easy to just try and erase your past as much as possible. To live each day with the goal of becoming someone else entirely and leaving your past behind you.
Well, Jessica Knoll proves that it is possible, if not somewhat emotionally staggering, in her 2015 novel “Luckiest Girl Alive,” to reinvent yourself in the eyes of everyone you know.
“Luckiest Girl Alive” follows Ani FaNelli, editor of a top magazine and fiancé to blue blood Luke Harrison. Ani seems to have it all, from her size zero waistband to the sparkling emerald engagement ring that sits heavily on her finger.
The chapters alternate between 28-year-old Ani and her 14-year-old self, TifAni FaNelli, her former name in high school. The chapters focusing on TifAni slowly shine a light on what lurks in Ani’s past, things that she has tried tremendously hard to forget.
The beginning of the novel informs readers that something big occurred while TifAni was in high school, proven by a documentary that Ani is being prepped for during the first half of the novel.
However, what exactly happened all those years ago is not revealed until the end, leaving readers on the edge of their seat. What exactly turned young, friendly TifAni, desperate for friends, into wealthy Ani FaNelli, who is pessimistic and manipulative to a fault?
This novel highlights topics like eating disorders and sexual assault, so some moments might be triggering for some. While these topics could have probably been delved into more, when it comes to the essence of the novel as a whole, I think Knoll got her point across sufficiently enough.
Without giving anything too huge away, the tones that fill this book are representative of how years can change someone’s outlook on life. From craving acceptance in high school to demanding it in high society. Not knowing what type of life you want to live and then having your pick of jobs as an adult. Dieting to fit in versus dieting for an aristocratic wedding.
Obviously, these are things that not everyone relates to dead on. Not everyone is marrying a rich member of Wall Street and getting the wedding of their supposed dreams.
However, as cold and calculating as 28-year-old Ani comes off, she does showcase someone who went through hell and back as a child and made something of themselves as an adult. While she may have a rich fiancé and live in his classy penthouse, that doesn’t mean she didn’t fight to be at the top of her social life and career.
If readers like the catty tones of “Gossip Girl” mixed with the dark hum of crime documentaries, the psychological thriller that is “Luckiest Girl Alive” is sure to be a new favorite.
Originally published on The Cauldron.