Pretty Little Things – Teresa Mummert

pretty little things


I was young enough not to understand that my life was different. Colin became the one person that I could count on to protect me. He suffered for the both of us by carrying the burden of our secret.

We were the lucky few that got a chance to start over. A fake family, a new home and a pretty little life built on lies. But while our lives continued to intertwine, we were put on very different paths. Now it was only a matter of time before they collide and the beast behind the beauty is exposed.

My Thoughts

This is a very odd book to get through. Much of it is entirely predictable, and I’m not entirely sure if I’m satisfied with the ending or not. While the chapters interchange the point of view between characters, it can get odd as readers are unsure about certain time skips, while other scenes are played over twice from alternate viewpoints. It’s not a style I’m very fond of, though when done well, it can be exceedingly beneficial. In the case of Pretty Little Things, it was beneficial, though not done very well.

Let’s step back for a moment. From the beginning, we meet Annie – otherwise known as Annabel – who, for all intents and purposes, seems like your average rich, privileged girl seeking the thrill of “the other side of the tracks”, so to speak. She doesn’t want to be treated like a child, and she feels inclined to inform everyone around her, especially Colin and Jacob, that she is not a child, and can make her own decisions. We learn later that Annie has anything but an ordinary past. Annie comes with baggage, baggage named Colin. Colin who is overprotective, and exceedingly overbearing.

Colin and Annie share the same extremely troubled past. A past that haunts Colin more than it does Annie. It affects his every thought, his every action, and his every decision. Colin must think three steps ahead. And he must, at all costs, protect Annie. It’s not a pretty picture, though it is not unlike real-life accounts I’ve read of individuals who have found themselves in a similar situation.

Generally speaking, the characters are not at all likeable. I did not care for them in the least. Colin blames his past for his actions, and believes himself a flawed monster. At no point is it mentioned that he wishes to change these self-deprecating thoughts. That would not be beneficial to the plot. While he does find some form of help from his adoptive father, Connor, it is not the form of psychological help I think he so desperately needs. Meanwhile, Annie plays the victim to the nth degree – and, well, rightfully so, as we discover later on. She does a fair job of blocking it out, and trying very hard not to think about it. Again, she receives immense help from Connor, but it is not the help she also so desperately needs.

The more we discover about the shared history between Annie and Colin, the more I can understand why they are the way they are – this still doesn’t make me like them. Understanding a person, or a situation, is not the same as excusing. Their behaviour is not excused, by any means, but it’s understandable, if not predictable.

While we get our climax, full of drama and anxiety, it is entirely predictable. The book was headed in this direction right from the first word. While the main issue plaguing Annie and Colin’s past is resolved, the neatness with which everything gets taken care of at the end leaves me with more questions than anything. This is a book filled with drama, with far too neat a conclusion.

To be fair, Annie and Colin are an extreme case of an extreme situation. We’re supposed to see the nitty gritty of that, it’s not supposed to be pleasant, and it’s not supposed to be happy and fun. I get that. But this book still leaves me with a very bad taste in my mouth. It all finished too neatly, too cleanly. We see none of the destruction left in the wake of Annie and Colin’s actions. The explanations are too neat, too easily accepted. There’s little resistance being met from other characters.

Pretty Little Things is a predictable mess of chaos, anxiety, and dirty little secrets. It is a mess that is cleaned up far too neatly, but with little precision or tact. It’s a mess I could, probably, have done without.


~ by Aubrey Smith on January 9, 2016.

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