Luckiest Girl Alive – Jessica Knoll

Jul 22

Luckiest Girl Alive – Jessica Knoll

Jessica Knoll creates a world where Cosmopolitan magazine meets Columbine. Luckiest Girl Alive is a perfect blend of big city chic and the horror that is surviving high school. TifAni FaNelli (I cringed every time I read her name; I was a mere breadth away from being named “Taffy Ann”) struggled in her teen years with not quite fitting in with the cool kids. As an adult, she has transformed herself into the girl who has the world by the tail. She is now Ani; she is the epitome of New York chic. She is the envy of everyone who meets her; from her cutting-edge job at a hip magazine to her perfect-on-paper fiancé, she seems to finally have it all. That, of course, is the view she presents to the world. Inside Ani’s mind is an entirely different story. Every move is calculated. Every person she comes into contact with is denigrated in the most horrifyingly funny way. I just kept thinking that it would be utterly exhausting to pretend to be someone you are not, 24/7. She lives in constant fear of her true self being revealed. When speaking of her fiancé, Luke, she worries that he, “…would come to his senses, realize I’m the girl you meet in a bar and bang a few times until you fall in love with a natural-ish blonde with an androgynous first name and a modest trust fund.” Ms. Knoll’s sharp wit is apparent throughout the novel, and I could not put this book down.

The tale of Ani takes an even darker turn when she is invited to be part of a documentary about a Columbine-type incident that occurred at her high school. Ani must revisit her prep school days, and the terrible things that happened to her when she was a freshman. The story goes from being about a rich, spoiled, narcissistic woman to becoming a survivor story. I was reminded of the rapes discussed in John Krakauer’s Missoula, and was horrified all over again.

I enjoyed the author’s writing style immensely; as this was her first novel, I look forward to reading her future works.

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