We all are many people wrapped into one unique being, asserting the dominant traits when it suits our best interest, and other times submerging them into the murkiness within us. Who doesn’t have shame or regrets over periods of their lifetime? If you don’t, I’d say you haven’t started living yet.
TifAni FaNelli is no different. She has a sorted past that she has worked hard to escape. She now lives a glamorous life in NYC as a magazine editor, engaged to a blue blood- Luke. The story toggles back and forth between the current and previous trauma’s she has lived, and eventually they become tangled, entwined, and unescapable.
I read the awful reviews of this book. I will admit, I had a hard time getting through the first few chapters because I hated Ani. I thought I hated her because she was so superficial (and I still do); she talks about brands and trends that I truly have never heard of and glad that I haven’t. She made me feel inky about my own glamorous wedding, as if I didn’t do it up enough. She made me second guess my own outfits, cheap and over worn. I still dislike Ani for those reasons, but I also realized I didn’t like her because we shared some traits. The tendency to hide from my real self, the passive aggressive digs, the running from the past, the moments alone when I wonder if some of my own truth’s really played out the way I remember them.
I don’t think Ani was written to be liked, and I know that is a hard thing for some readers to overcome. If we truly look at who we are…not just in a storybook, we all have unfavorable traits. No one is just a damn ray of sunshine 24/7. In the end, once I analyzed her as a whole, I liked her because she was real. As the survivor of some trauma myself, I connected with her on many of the emotions she discusses – even though they are a dark, dark, blobby shadow of a black.
Towards the end of the novel, you see Ani’s transformation. It wasn’t a happy ending by any means, but that is also realistic. I had to reread the last chapter a few times, thinking I must have missed something. There definitely was something missing there for me regarding the plot and I’m wondering if I just wanted to see more of a typical book ending, where all the pieces come back together even though the ending isn’t a flowery bar of soap.
Ani goes through this revelation regarding what justice often looks like, which is very telling about her core below all that muddy nastiness she spits out throughout the book. Like most of us with a past and a few rough edges to smooth out still, she isn’t such a horrible person after all.