Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Review: The Ruining by Anna Collomore

Title: The Ruining
Author: Anna Collomore
Pages: 313 pages
Format acquired: Hardcover
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication date: February 7th 2013
Source: Received from Louisse
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

Annie Phillips is thrilled to leave her past behind and begin a shiny new life on Belvedere Island, as a nanny for the picture-perfect Cohen family. In no time at all, she falls in love with the Cohens, especially with Libby, the beautiful young matriarch of the family. Life is better than she ever imagined. She even finds romance with the boy next door.

All too soon cracks appear in Annie's seemingly perfect world. She's blamed for mistakes she doesn't remember making. Her bedroom door comes unhinged, and she feels like she's always being watched. Libby, who once felt like a big sister, is suddenly cold and unforgiving. As she struggles to keep up with the demands of her new life, Annie's fear gives way to frightening hallucinations. Is she tumbling into madness, or is something sinister at play?

"The Ruining "is a complex ride through first love, chilling manipulation, and the terrifying depths of insanity.
(Image and summary taken from Goodreads.)


I'm back from hiding under my rock.

I just realized I have not reviewed anything for the longest time!! If it weren't for Louisse constantly bugging reminding me to post a review, I would have severely neglected this blog. Thanks so much, Lou!!

Aaaand to break this reading dry spell, I present to you, The Ruining!!! *insert happy face*

This is not the first attempt I have a psychological thrillers/mysteries. I have read Pretty-Girl-13 and The Yellow Wallpaper (different plots but same concepts-ish) and they both amazed me quite a lot. I believe The Yellow Wallpaper served as an inspiration to The Ruining and in fact, I do see it as a more subdued and PG-rated version of the The Yellow Wallpaper. It tinkles with your mind and memory of the story, along with the main character (Annie) and the simple, straightforward narration really helped me follow along. I feel that if the narration were too messy or complex, I wouldn't be able to follow the story well anymore.

The book starts off with our girl, Annie who we know really wants to leave Detroit because it's sad and gloomy and everyone wears shades of grey all the time. Her ticket out is this new babysitting job that she got for a family in San Fran or Cali (? She mentioned Hollywood then a beach in San Francisco), where she will now live full time. She also expects to attend college at the same time, which I found odd because how would you take care of a 3 year old toddler whilst attending classes? It didn't click right with me, but I let it go. At first, Libby is the super friendly and hip mommy/employer/friend who helps Annie, though not that much. She made me really suspicious with the way she treated the toddler, but what do I know about toddlers? (they're small humans) Her only "real" help shown would be 1) Giving Annie the job and 2) Giving Annie some clothes. And even though she offered herself as a friend to Annie, I still wasn't buying it. Suspicious, remember? so for a while, and by a while, I mean like, 2 days, she starts turning really annoying and cold and "WTF, man?" She starts butting in Annie's life, an it doesn't matter whether Annie was her employee or not, she had no right to do so. Then we have Owen, who is a really strange character. He's like the cool dad, not really caring and stuff. But like Libby, it seems he was a bit off too. He was really chummy with her and all, but because of one mistake, he suddenly wanted to fire Annie's ass so violently. Libby actually had to reason with him to keep her, which I really didn't understand at that point because Libby was starting to complain how incompetent Annie was. Soooo. This may be the part where the who mental part kicks in. She starts hearing Libby call her "nanny", which was really clever, btw. Then she's blamed her for mistakes she doesn't remember doing at all, like buying so much condoms she had to use her credit card (!!!), or supposedly going through the kitchen with Owen the other night and making a mess out of it, stuff like that. Speaking of Owen, he seemed like a genuine guy but he seemed too cookie-cutter leading man, you know, the rich kid who loves you forever no matter what. But I still like him. Why? His parts or scenes with Annie really gave me a break from all the brain drain. It's like, Owens' scenes with Annie give us a bit of her sanity back. Maybe that means she feels safe and not mental with Owen around. Hmm. Then we have little the little toddler who really creeps me out, btdubs. She sings that nursery rhyme so much and she calls on to "mommy" a lot. *wink wink nudge nudge*

I really appreciated the book all in all. I really walked with Annie through her mental illness. You could see the progression or the decline of her mental health. I really felt what she was going through and even I understood her circumstances. And even in the Big Reveal, I was equally shocked as she was as I had never seen that coming. A lot of people say they did, but I really didn't. Maybe it's just me. But either way, it helped me stay in the story a lot.

The only thing I wished that was not is the near-end of the story. I felt that it was too abrupt and... neat? Nothing went down, no fights, no drama, no last minute revenge seekers and you had the perfect situation. Which by now even just as a young person I know never happens. Yep. Life didn't waste time showing me that!

All in all, The Ruining is a great psychological thriller/maze that you should definitely try to experience. I recommend it to anyone who wants a break from overly-romanticized books!!


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