The narrator of this new novel is Laura, married with two small children.
Her husband is a lawyer, and I find her quite snobbish just like the rest of women/mothers she hangs out with. She starts the story by mentioning Heddy Partridge, who she insists wasn’t her friend as a child. She highlights her differences. While she and her friends were pretty, blonde and popular, Heddy was clumsy, dark-haired, and big. Laura’s peace of mind gets disturbed when Heddy’s mother calls her to ask for her help. Heddy is in a mental unit, and her mother thinks that Laura’s husband could help since she thinks Heddy shouldn’t be there. Laura has no intention to help, especially since her husband is not that kind of lawyer, but Violet Partridge is too insistent and she reluctantly agrees to meet her. I don’t like Laura much. From her memories of Heddy, we can see that she was a bully at school. She and her friends mocked Heddy for being different, insulting her because they thought she smelled different, so they thought it was wee, and nobody wanted to be friends with Heddy. Laura resented the fact that her parents agreed to give Heddy a lift when they went to dance classes, and Laura felt mortified.
I can understand that children are cruel as they are influenced by their peers. Yet, in this case Laura doesn’t feel remorseful for what she and her friends made Heddy go through. We still don’t know everything. Even when Heddy lost her father, Laura thought that it was different for her because Heddy didn’t have feelings. What a horrible little girl Laura used to be. How can’t she think she was cruel? Why doesn’t she stop to think how she would feel if her children were to receive the same treatment that she gave Heddy?
We still haven’t seen Heddy in the flesh. I mean, her references are all through Laura adn her accounts are all from her memory, so our perspective is biased as it is Laura’s account. I am intrigued to see Heddy and what kind of person she is now.