There are often books that I struggle with from the very start, making me wary of the rest of the book. However with Precious Thing by Colette McBeth, although I did struggle with the start,the plot that presented itself was too strong to resist. Fortunately reading the rest of the book was a great decision, Precious Thing is a gripping, highly sensual thriller that feels so real it makes you worried about your own world.
Precious Thing is about a news reporter called Rachel whose best friend Clara disappears leading to many events, revelations and questions that result in Rachel’s doubt over her understanding of Clara and, furthermore, her whole life. Of course this is just a hugely brief summary of the book, but the story has so many different twists, turns, surprises and different sub plots that I wouldn’t want to reveal even the smallest extra detail. Colette McBeth thought up the idea in 1998 but it took her 13 years until she started to write it, which may appear to be a shame but I see it as a benefit. Colette McBeth spent many of those years actually being a TV correspondent so a lot of what is included in her novel is so real, so believable and so easily visualised. More than this, living with an idea and its characters for 13 years without writing it means that you’re left with some seriously developed characters, over the years you’d think about different ideas, different backgrounds, they grow older at the same time as you do, so by the time it’s on paper they are just as real as you. It’s character development is one of the best elements, without a doubt, you can easily understand everyone’s motives, thoughts and beliefs, whether you agree with them or not.
I’m often impressed by the effect thrillers can have on a person, personally I feel most comfortable writing Romantic comedies with an element of self discovery in them so seeing as the two are such different worlds I always appreciate just how frightening and breath-taking some of them can be. This is no different for Precious Thing, on more than one occasion I was sat on the bus to work, breath held, unable to put the book down until I had to get off. You become so ridiculously connected to each character, and you become ever so slightly malicious in your thoughts towards some of them. In fact you’ll find that there isn’t a character you trust completely, not even Rachel your narrator. Reading the book I was suspicious of everyone, I pointed the finger at almost every character and the end still surprised me.
On top of being a well written and developed thriller it’s also a great insight into a world many people will not know about; the news room, the fight to get a story, the vicious competition etc. Along with a world that nearly everyone will know about, friendship and close bonds… however this book will make you suspicious of the people in your own life, it’ll make you anxious to make sure those around you are who they say they are! Often people who read a book need to be able to compare themselves to a character, so that they can feel a more interior perspective on the story, but for me this book had none and yet that didn’t seem to matter, because I still felt as if I was walking around with Rachel watching everything unfold.
The only problem I have with this book, as I mentioned before is the beginning. I’m not quite sure what it is, but there is something in the writing, in the initial build up that was a little odd, and ever so slightly disappointing when you read the rest of the book. The plot was interesting, and I could see the story was going to be good, but there wasn’t that huge, unfathomable, and physical need to continue the book until a little later. Either way it was still there! So if there’s anything I would say to any readers interested in the book its that if you give the book a little patience it will be worth it. Furthermore don’t go into it expecting it to be another Gone Girl, I heard a lot of people comparing it to it, but although there are similarities, they both have very different tones, and different ways of going about things. If you read Precious Thing expecting Gone Girl you may go in with the wrong emotion, and end up disappointed simply because it’s not what you’re expecting. Precious Thing is best read with no comparisons… and bravery… and maybe some digestives.
Currently Reading: Every Day – David Levithan (I needed something a little calmer this time)