For the first eighteen years of her life, Rose Gold Watts believed she was seriously ill. She was allergic to everything, used a wheelchair and practically lived at the hospital. Neighbors did all they could, holding fundraisers and offering shoulders to cry on, but no matter how many doctors, tests, or surgeries, no one could figure out what was wrong with Rose Gold.
Turns out her mom, Patty Watts, was just a really good liar.
After serving five years in prison, Patty gets out with nowhere to go and begs her daughter to take her in. The entire community is shocked when Rose Gold says yes.
Patty insists all she wants is to reconcile their differences. She says she’s forgiven Rose Gold for turning her in and testifying against her. But Rose Gold knows her mother. Patty Watts always settles a score.
Unfortunately for Patty, Rose Gold is no longer her weak little darling…
And she’s waited such a long time for her mother to come home.
Trigger Warnings: Child Abuse, Mention of Suicide, Bullying & Body Hatred (Rose Gold is ashamed of the way her body looks from years of abuse and others shame/bully her for her looks)
This is one of those books where I’m not sure how to properly review it because it’s just so twisted. It’s definitely a dark book and it handles some topics that are very serious and horrifying but damn if it wasn’t an entertaining read. I almost feel like a terrible person for having enjoyed it because that’s how sick these characters are.
This book deals with Munchhausen by proxy and for those of you who are unfamiliar here is a definition: “a mental health problem in which a caregiver makes up or causes an illness or injury in a person under his or her care, such as a child, an elderly adult, or a person who has a disability.” One of the most famous cases is that of Gypsy Rose and Dee Dee Blanchard, which you can tell this book is heavily inspired by.
So as I said it’s some serious, unpleasant stuff but you still won’t be able to put it down.
This book is very fast paced, I couldn’t stop turning pages, and it has a high entertainment factor. Sort of like watching a train wreck where you just can’t look away. The beginning of the book starts with Patty Watts being released from her 5 year stint in prison for poisoning her daughter, Rose Gold. She stays with a now 23 year old Rose Gold who has an infant son, all seems to have been forgiven. The story continues from here as well as flashing back to what has happened with Rose Gold over the course of those 5 years Patty was in prison. The story is told by alternating between Patty’s POV and Rose Gold’s POV. I thought the flashbacks as well as both POVs worked together seamlessly to tell a very addictive story.
There are a few surprises along the way but overall I wouldn’t say the story throws anything really shocking in to throw you off. Due to it being told through flashbacks and dual POVs nothing is too much of a surprise and you can put things together on your own fairly easy. I don’t think this took anything away from the story though, it’s still very engaging.
I don’t want to say a whole lot more about the plot specifically because I don’t actually want to spoil anything!
This is a very character driven book so the characters are what’s really telling the story here. Also not one but TWO unreliable narrators makes for a very interesting story indeed. Both of these women are truly despicable, though you can pity them at times. Very well developed and extremely complex, I was impressed with how well written they both were.
Patty Watts went to prison for 5 years after being convicted of poisoning her daughter, Rose Gold. She wants to feel loved and needed by her daughter and that hasn’t changed over the course of 5 years. She wants to win her daughter back and have her be almost completely reliant on her again. Patty does not see anything wrong with what she has done or what she is doing, she honestly believes this and being in her head space while reading is disturbing at times. It’s also revealed that Patty also endured abuse as a child and that trauma has clearly affected her, however, you can’t help but feel slimy after reading her chapters at the same time.
Rose Gold is a character you can sympathize with, enduring years of abuse that have physically taken a toll on her body (rotten teeth from the vomit, extremely underweight, etc) and emotionally traumatized her. Her father is out of the picture and her only friend uses Rose Gold for attention or completely ignores her. And Rose Gold is very upset with her mother for ruining her childhood, she blames Patty for everything that has happened to her. She does some pretty messed up things over the course of the story too but that’s all I will say because I don’t want to spoil too much.
These two women are incredibly dysfunctional and have a very unhealthy dynamic, but as I mentioned earlier you just can’t look away and can’t help but keep reading on.
What I Loved:
- Unreliable narrators ( I personally enjoy this)
- Well written, complex characters
- Fast pacing
- Engaging writing and story (un-put-downable!)
What I Didn’t Love:
- A few things were a bit predictable (which honestly isn’t a terrible thing but I needed to have something I didn’t 100% love here)
Overall I really enjoyed this book though it deals with some dark material, a toxic familial relationship, and some detestable characters, I just could not put it down. I would definitely recommend this book and have a feeling it’s going to be pretty hyped up and popular once it releases. It’s a very entertaining and addictive story and I have a feeling you won’t be able to put it down either!
**** Huge thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review ****