The Night Before was entertaining. So many twists and turns- it definitely keeps you guessing. Laura is a woman with a past- she has a nice job in New York City but she has a lot of deep- seated issues going back to childhood, and as the book starts out she's living temporarily with her sister and her family in Connecticut. She's just getting over a bad break-up and is starting to date again- in fact, as the story starts she's getting ready to go out on a date with a guy she met on an online dating site.
This is a great cautionary tale about online dating sites, by the way! At any rate Laura goes to meet Jonathan Fielding- her date- and that's when the fun begins. She borrows her sister's minivan and promises to be back before morning- and when she doesn't show, her increasingly frantic sister Rosie and her husband Joe set out to find out what happened the previous night.
The story is told from both Laura's and Rosie's perspective in alternating chapters, along with snippets of Laura's therapist sessions from several weeks earlier. I didn't really connect with any of the characters here- Laura is almost a deep-dive study in the effects that abuse or neglect can have on someone as an adult, but at the same time there are reasons for some things that happened- it doesn't make what happened okay, but everything here has a layer. And to be honest, I'm not sure how plausible it all is- I mean, by the end I was along for the ride but a little checked out from the realism of it?
There are a ton of twists as we build towards the conclusion- and again, maybe one or two too many, but having said that I still enjoyed it. I wasn't sure if Laura was going to be unreliable as a narrator, and she has secrets in her past that slowly come to light- did she do this terrible thing that occurred years earlier? It was like a train wreck- I couldn't look away from the events of that night, even though I found Rosie's POV actually more compelling. Laura seems like such a loose cannon- I was just waiting for the spark to go off.
All in all I liked this one. It's tense and there's this sense of a slow fuse waiting to ignite- I had to keep reading to see if what I thought was going to happen actually would. And while looking back at some of the clues and red herrings I could see the groundwork being laid, the story still managed to surprise me- several times. Good stuff.