The Little Friend

775346Donna Tartt never ceases to amaze and kill me with her writing, suspense and disturbing events in her books. The Little Friend follows a broken family haunted by a death. The son and the precious centre of the family named Robin was mysteriously murdered, hanged in a grotesque way. No trace of the culprit but Robin’s youngest sister Harriet sets out to discover who killed him years later. She tries to find clues including her painfully withdrawn older sister Allison who was with Robin at the time of his death but can’t remember and/or refuses to reveal what happened – since she was old enough to remember what happened…

Harriet’s quest leads her to suspecting Danny Ratliff, a member of an infamously outcast and poor family with a history of gang-related crimes. Harriet plans her revenge…despite being in her pre-teens. But her life becomes entangled with problems as a result and serious circumstances leads her to think that maybe Ratliff isn’t the one who killed Robin…

Since The Little Friend is set in 1970s Mississippi, I had to endure the racism and its effects on the victims, and other negative things associated with Southerners. But it’s comforting to have Harriet as a character who isn’t racist (she only hates her brother’s killer and the state of her family) and a contrast to her friend Hely, showing that not all Southerners live or act the same way; even some members of the older generation are liberal.

Nevertheless, The Little Friend is worth a read on what’s like to be a child and encountering adults, and it will leave you feeling haunted like the characters.

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