Rating: 2 / 5
Darcey Bell’s A Simple Favor tells the dramatic story of the disappearance of fashionista mother, Emily. She leaves behind a best friend, husband, and son to worry about her whereabouts and cope with the hole she’s left in their lives.
Stephanie, Emily’s best friend, is a single mother and self-proclaimed “mommy blogger”. After Stephanie’s husband and brother died, she was lonely and bored. Emily befriended her and life became exciting. So she’s crushed when her best friend unexpectedly disappears.
It’s second nature for her to step in and care for Emily’s son – and subsequently her husband – while they worry and grieve. They’re all convinced that Emily just took off for a few days to clear her head, but when she doesn’t eventually turn up, they begin to accept the truth that the light of their lives is gone. As Stephanie grows closer and closer with Emily’s family, she sometimes thinks she can hear her best friend’s voice or smell her signature perfume… or feel her watching eyes.
Stephanie attempts to unearth what happened to Emily, and with that she also unearths secrets that shock her and leaver her wondering if she even knew her best friend. Where did Emily go, and what became of her? Stephanie will find out, and it won’t be pretty.
Please take caution when reading A Simple Favor if any of the following topics may trigger you:
- Drug and alcohol abuse
As psychological thrillers go, A Simple Favor is surely unique, as well as somewhat fun and whimsical. The plot twists are interesting and abundant – there is so much going on in this book – and it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Unfortunately, the interesting story line only starts halfway through the book. The beginning is very slow and the writing is not challenging.
I understand why Bell wrote the first half of the book the way she did – it’s from the point of view of naive and simple Stephanie, and thus the writing and story should also be naive and simple. This translates when you cross over into the more exciting half of the book, but doesn’t totally make up for the relatively bland first half.
A Simple Favor‘s saving grace is that it is nothing if not interesting. Bell does a good job of making you question the intentions and honesty of the characters, which keeps you on your toes. With so much going on, there are an abundance of shocking secrets that are unearthed and keep you interested. Further, the idea that you must move on and live life when you’ve lost someone, and the question of how best to do that, are grappled with a lot and are fascinating concepts for a book.
The movie and the book are about the same in terms of cinematic/literary excellence – that is to say, average. Both are worth spending time on if you have time on your hands, but neither is exceptional. A Simple Favor has been my least favorite psychological thriller I’ve reviewed thus far, but if you love psychological thrillers I’m sure you’ll enjoy the myriad of plot twists that Bell weaves into her whimsical story.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read my thoughts on A Simple Favor. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the novel in the comments or at my Instagram, @bookmarkedbya.