Yay a review! I haven’t written a review in a while and after finishing All The Little Pieces, I couldn’t wait to get my thoughts into a review.
I read this book in a few sittings, starting it just before I went on holiday and then finishing it as I sat in the car waiting for my partner to finish climbing Skiddaw in the Lake District! Despite the fact I was stuck in a car for hours with very little to do, I found I was unwilling to and couldn’t easily put this book down – it was asking to be read.
All The Little Pieces is a chilling read that really tests your empathy. If you were faced with the same decisions as the protagonist, what would you do?
The narrative starts in the pitch black. A burnt cane field in the middle of nowhere sets the scene with a woman running for her life slashing the tranquility. Immediately we are sucked into the night, the sounds of footsteps hitting solid ground and ragged breathing surround you as you flick through the prologue, desperate to find out what this woman is running from and whether she will make it out alive.
We then get thrown into the world of Faith – a mother, wife and sister – who is on the way home from her sister’s surprise birthday party. Thrown by her sister’s husband, who Faith despises, the party took an awful turn when Faith ended up rowing with her sister. Bundling her daughter, Maggie, into the car, Faith decides to drive the long journey home during the night even with the threat of a storm hanging over the country than spend a second longer in her sister’s company. In her haste to leave, Faith forgets to pick up her handbag which has her phone in, and pride stops her from doing a U turn to retrieve it. Instead, she heads on into the night, hoping to get home before the storm fully hits. However, without the aid of her phone and daylight, Faith doesn’t quite know where she’s going and when she ends up in the middle of nowhere, tired, tipsy, and desperate for her bed, she takes a quick break for a nap. What Faith doesn’t realise is that this decision will change her life forever.
She is woken by the sounds of tapping on her window and is shaken to find a soaking wet woman standing outside the car door, screaming ‘HELP ME’. In the horrifying seconds that follow, Faith chooses not to open the door, afraid of putting herself and her sleeping daughter at risk. When the woman is pulled away from the window and dragged away by two men, Faith feels tremendous guilt that she’s done the wrong thing. When she finally makes it home in the early hours of the morning, Faith decides to keep quiet, after all, she wasn’t exactly 100% sober and there are no breaking news reports about a woman being found dead. Surely no one will ever know Faith was there?
When the woman’s body is found and her face is shown on the news, Faith’s daughter Maggie recognises her and says, quite innocently to her father…’Daddy, that’s the woman mummy wouldn’t help.’
And then Faith’s nightmare really begins.
This book is INSANELY good. I was gripped from the first page and as the novel progressed, I only found myself becoming more entrenched and invested in the plot and lives of the characters. It was painful to see Faith’s life change so drastically when it really boiled down to her being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I found myself torn between loyalties a lot. I felt like I needed to be on Faith’s side but then I felt as though Faith could have opened the door and the whole nightmare would never have happened. But, if I was in that situation, I genuinely don’t know if I would open the car door to a stranger. We all like to think we would but would we?
As the novel progresses, a whole host of new characters join the plot and begin to circle Faith in her nightmare. The husband, sister, work colleagues, police officers and unsavoury characters all blend into this claustrophobic environment that I felt trapped in as I tried to race to the end of the book to find the conclusion. The end is hard going – events happen that had me open-mouthed but then sitting in slight annoyance at the lack of finality of certain aspects of the plot.
Hoffman has dealt with alcoholism, the law, the justice system, sexual assault, mental health and a whole host of other sensitive issues incredibly well in All The Little Pieces whilst keeping the novel feeling real. The writing style really works for this genre – the sense of danger lurking at every corner and the short, snappy chapters that leave you clawing desperately at the pages for the next small tid-bit of information really add to the overall experience of reading this book.
I really, really, recommend you pick this book up. It is a total corker of a story, a wicked moral dilemma and a novel about the butterfly – effect style of events that occur after one unfortunate meeting.
A summer reading MUST have!