Book Review: ‘The Worst Thing I’ve Done’

28 Jul

“I just finished a book that I kind of loved, but I don’t think I should have loved it.”

“How’s that work?”

The boyfriend’s response to my one-sentence wrap up of “The Worst Thing I’ve Done” was pretty understandable. Doesn’t make much sense, does it?

“Worst Thing,” by Ursula Hegi (does anyone else read that and think of the bad guy in “The Little Mermaid?) tells the story of three best friends: Mason, Jake and Annie. They met as children and have quite, as you probably guessed, a love triangle issue going on. In the very first line of the book, we learn that Mason has killed himself. By the second page, we learn Mason is Annie’s husband.

The story focuses on Annie, who as a girl was in love with two boys and, as a woman, is in love with two men. One is mentally unstable and desperately needy. The other is quiet. He complains less. With Mason and Jake, it’s a case of “The squeaky wheel gets the grease,” or in this instance, the girl.

The worst thing Annie has done is, admittedly, kind of terrible. It’s also kind of understandable, and as the reader, I felt guilty that I found her actions understandable. I felt bad about me. I judged me for empathizing with her.

Even if you find Annie to be horrible, selfish and a giant bitch, the reaction toward her “worst thing” is sure to be a violent one. I consider that proof that “Worst Thing” is a wonderfully written book; when a reader becomes so involved with the characters, even if she hates them or disagrees with their actions, it’s an indication of wonderful writing.

“Worst Thing” jumps around chronologically and is told from different characters’ points of view. If this kind of hopping confuses or bothers you, don’t pick up Hegi’s book. If you like chick lit that isn’t self-entitled, stupidly sassy or vapid, give “The Worst Thing I’ve Done” a taste. Let me know what you think.

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