By Jessica Knoll
Rating 4/5 Stairs
I’ve got some mixed feelings about this book. I liked the set up. Ani FaNelli is living the life she’s always dreamed of in New York City. She’s got a job writing at a women’s magazine, and is engaged to a wealthy socialite. There’s just one thing that might be holding her back: her past.
The book flips back and forth between Ani’s present and memories from her freshman year of high school, when she was still TifAni FaNelli. She’s the new girl at the Bradley School, trying to fit in and navigate her way.
Here’s where I had trouble with this book – there were things in Ani’s high school memories that were very difficult to read. The first part was bad enough. Horrible, in fact. But there’s more. A second incident from her freshman year is the subject of a documentary that Ani is taking part in.
Honestly, if I knew this second “twist” was coming I most likely would not have picked up the book. To put it mildly, it is a sensitive topic for me and I usually choose not to read about it. Ms. Knoll mimics a very specific event in this book, and the similarities are shockingly disturbing, at least it was for me. I have chosen to read one nonfiction book on this particular real-life incident, but it sat on my TBR list for a number of years before I finally was mentally ready to pick it up at the library and begin to read it. As I was reading TifAni’s fictional account I was starkly reminded of this book. In her acknowledgements Ms. Knoll references the author and book that I am referring to, thanking them for their insight.
You know me and spoilers, so I don’t want to say too much and ruin the book for others. Sorry if that last paragraph is kind of a jumbled mess. It’s hard to talk about something but not talk about it. Which now as I type that it’s kind of a good reflection on Ani FaNelli.
It was an interesting story, and by the time your reach the end you realize it’s no wonder that Ani FaNelli ended up becoming the person that she did. Successful on the outside, but very scarred on the inside. She rose above her past the only way she knew how to. And became the luckiest girl alive.