How to Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie

Grace Bernard is serving time for a crime she didn’t even commit, and it is proving to be a darn right nuisance!

Of all the things she gets imprisoned for… and it’s not even for murdering almost everyone in her dad’s family. They’d abandoned her mother and her, and don’t have much merit to their name. So, Grace felt that it was only fair to rid the world of a few vile people.

Image Courtesy – Goodreads

What I love the most about this book is the impassive tone of the writing. It has a bite to it and the language used is full of a flair that beginner readers might find a bit disconcerting.

Grace’s voice has been developed well to reflect her matter-of-fact attitude. You read the story from her perspective with the chapters alternating between the past and the present; in fact, there are 3 distinct timelines – Grace’s younger days, the time when she sets about planning the murders, and also her time in prison.

Gradually, all these chapters form a more conclusive picture of Grace’s mindset and motivations.

On the flip side, the main reason why I didn’t love the book as much also has to do with the writing. There are some sections that digress too much; and with an already medium-paced writing, I felt that it took away from the excitement of the plot progression. So much so that I was barely holding back the urge to skip ahead a few pages at a time.

If these chapters had been cut short, my reading experience would’ve been vastly improved.

Initially, I thought that the lack of build-up surrounding the murders might disappoint me. But that wasn’t the case. How Grace narrates these events aligns with her personality.

Considering the novel is about serial killings, the murders aren’t grotesque. Some of them even seemed too easy and I kept wondering how she was getting away with it. The author does assure the reader that the rich can keep things hushed. But isn’t the opposite also true? Don’t they naturally draw more attention; therefore, more suspicion?

For me, Grace’s characterisation and the tone of writing are the only two factors that make the book worth the read.

There’s so much to unpack about her character – the number of guardians she has had, the solitude she seems to enjoy, her relationship with Jimmy (the only so-called friend she has ever had), and her perceptions.

Getting to peek into her backstory is as much a revelation of the flawed upbringing she has had as it is a commentary on society itself.

I was going to rate the book a little lower but decided on a 3.5-star rating because of the ending. This is not to say that I liked the ending or felt that it was justifiable. I was just glad that something broke the monotony. And so, in that regard, I appreciated the twist.

All in all, it is somewhat of an entertaining read if you are looking for relatively slower mysteries or if you find characters like Grace intriguing.

Published by Meera Nair

A 27 year-old freelance Content Writer, who spends all her free time ensconced in the pages of a book or writing to her heart's content about topics that excite the creative spirit in her.

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