‘Girl A’ by Abigail Dean – review with spoilers

‘Girl A’ is a book where the past resurrects itself in the present. It is a story of Lex (Girl A), who escaped her tragic family life, i.e. the house of horrors. She also exposed her mother in court. ‘Girl A’ is set in the Manchester area, where Abigail Dean was born and lived her formative years. However, it is not a semi-autobiographical novel. Own experiences of the protagonist are selectively chosen, and the effect is magnificent. The past and present are woven in a very skilful manner. 

As the story progresses, we learned more about Lex’s childhood and her glamourous but unhappy present life. Since then, Lex launched a successful career in law and fled to America. She broke with her past, but during her early childhood, she had a special bond with one of her sisters. This propels the story forward. 

Upon her mother’s death, she is summoned to the UK to act as a trustee of her family’s inheritance. She accepts the role, but she gets lost in the process. She dwells deeper into her own past and has to face the ghosts she forgot afresh. Her previous love interest, JP, makes contact as soon as she learned on the grapevine that she is in London. The reader soon learned that this person was Lex true but doomed love. The latter is a type of relationship which destroyed to a large extent by Lex’s independence and her unwillingness to compromise. Meeting with her ex is not nevertheless the catalyst for Lex’s destruction. Her true and final longing is a sister that she had a special bond.

Despite many setbacks, Lex is a hopeful person and very resilient. She has prospects. Steller law career and a new love interest waiting for her in the USA. Jeffrey Deaver said that Abigail Dean tackled the narrative with incredible sensitivity.  Abigail Dean said that ‘Girl A’ is about strength and resilience rather than suffering. I would also suggest that it is about making meaningful but often fleeting bonds between people. Such an obvious bond is created not only with Evie (Girl C), but also with Lex’s previous boyfriend, JP. The former is a bond that will lead Lex to destruction. It can be said that Lex’s horrible past makes her co-dependent and, in a way, unwilling to open herself to close relationships with other people. The only things she succeeds in are her studies and work. She achieved a lot in her professional sphere, but she struggles in her personal life. She has some close colleagues at work, but she is not fully open with them, keeping them distant on many aspects of her life, especially her childhood. Even with JP, she does not open up. They have a special bond, but early in the relationship, she only tells him what was in the papers about the house of horrors. Furthermore, since she does not communicate her story fully to him, he does not understand her when she says that they are not going to have babies in front of his mother. 

It is interesting why Abigail Dean decided to write about family, and she explained that in family relationships, the members are very free to express themselves, and she has had an interest in family-related literature. But what really strikes me in this story is the story of an individual, Lex.