Cover Image: The Best of Crimes

The Best of Crimes

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Member Reviews

Overall, I found the writing of this novel to be interesting and solid. It flowed well and was written in a manner that some readers would find enjoyable. The content, however, was not for me. Walter's clear affection for an underage person is a very uncomfortable subject for many readers, myself included. I nearly didn't finish the book, but I felt obligated to do so out of commitment. A taboo subject is something that can occasionally be navigated by authors in a manner that is still overall enjoyable to readers. Sadly, I did not feel as though this book fit that bill.
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I enjoyed the book and it reminded me a little of All the Ugly and Wonderful Things without the actual sexual misconduct. I was slightly annoyed by him calling her honey so often. It almost made me cringe. I was shocked at the end that a female wrote this. For some reason I was thinking it was a male and I have no idea why. Thank you Netgalley for an ARC
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No, just NO.  As a mother I'm disgusted.  Not interested in reading about a nasty adult man having sexual feelings for a child.  DNF'd pretty quickly.
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Billed as a love story by many, I wasnt sure what to expect when I chose to read The Best Of Crimes.  It starts out with Walter turning himself in for kidnapping.  I was prepared for this book to have a high "ick" factor, but in truth, I found myself nodding my head at the decisions made by the characters.  Walter is in his thirties, Amanda is thirteen.  The story is told in the voices of the characters.  I got to read the thoughts  of each character and weigh them against their actions.  Walter is a complex, layered character.  Amanda is less complicated, even a little two dimensional, which I accepted because it went with her age, almost not fully formed. The ending was bittersweet, yet oddly appropriate.  As I was reading there were many times I wanted to talk over what I'd read. There is a great deal to discuss and debate in this novel. I would definitely choose it for a book discussion selection.  I can't say that I enjoyed this book, but I can say that I am glad I read it.  Well done Ms Maher. 
I received my copy through NetGalley under no obligation.
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I’ll start off by saying I’ve never read Lolita and reading other people’s reviews they heavily compared this book to that one. So that being said I had nothing to compare to. I have mixed feelings about this novel. On one hand I found it very well written and the other hand the whole premise of a 30 year old man falling in love with his daughters 13 year old friend,  just disturbed me. A lot of situations in the book were just a little too far fetched for me as well, such as, our object of affection Amanda basically raising herself with her mother visiting a handful of times a year. Not just that but the fact the community is aware of this?! In this day and age you can’t let your child walk to school on their own without some nosey neighbour reporting you to child services. There are other parts that fit into this far fetched category but I won’t list them all. I will say I had to convince myself to finish this book at first because the subject matter made me nauseous but I’m glad that I did. It was a very different read to anything I’ve ever read before and was enlightening being privy to all of Walters thoughts and feelings. You want to like him and want to think he’s a good man, so while he’s having this internal struggle about Amanda, as the reader I found I was as well in my feelings about him.
Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the ARC for an honest review.
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I was hooked from the synopsis when I received the pitch for this book, but the book didn't live up to the synopsis one bit and instead went down a really weird and awkward path that I just couldn't enjoy.  I don't love to read and review books that I don't enjoy, so I will keep this one short and simple.  

Walter Mitchell is your average guy in an average marriage with a semi average daughter.  When his daughter becomes close to another girl her age - Amanda Jonette he also becomes weirdly close.  Many times throughout the book, I had to remind myself how young Amanda was and how weird Walter's actions and thoughts were towards this girl.  I often didn't feel as though their interactions were true or honest and I think this is what bothered me the most.  It all just felt icky and weird and not entertaining like I like my fiction.

This is one of those rare times where I don't know if I would read this author again, I would have to both be convinced by the synopsis and maybe even read reviews before I read the book.
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Having finished completing 2 doctoral programs at Harvard by the age of 18, Walter Mitchell missed out on the social skills that commonly develop during one's adolescence. From a wealthy although distant family, Walter gravitates toward older women who are more than happy to mentor him. 

Precipitously married shortly after starting his Wall Street Job, Walter delights in his family and cherishes his daughter as well as her best friend. Generous to a fault, Walter becomes obsessed with acting as a mentor and caregiver to this friend, who, while provided for, is as neglected as Walter once was.
The story becomes very tedious as Walter becomes obsessed with this young girl and finds her companionship his only purpose in life. I read this book in one day compelled more to finish it than to find out what happens. 
I liked the characters and the story was entertaining until it dragged its way to its end.
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Difficult one to review as I feel The Best of Crimes will be a bit of a Marmite title with obvious comparisons to Lolita upon its publication.  While certainly well written in places, I felt the characterisations outside of Walter were rather sketchy.  This can sometimes be a consequence of a first person narrative but it felt a little jarring in this instance, particularly when it came to Amanda herself.  

The story itself, however, was certainly well thought out with little in the way of plot holes.

Have to admit it did fall on the wrong side of my personal squick level, but I'm sure others will feel differently.  

With thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the arc.
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This was such an usual book. It is very literary, and not a traditional romance at all, which of course I love. I love any stories out of the ordinary!
What I appreciated about this book is that it took its time. We really got to know Walter and see him grow and change through his life. He was always unconventional. The story starts with his history as a wonder child who was super smart and started a career on Wall Street at a very young age.
He marries and older woman, Sterling, and they had a daughter, Olivia. Sterling seems like the typical rich spoiled wife, who always wants newer, bigger and better. We slowly watch their relationship deteriorate, until Sterling leaves Walter alone in their huge home and goes away with the architect she is having an affair with. She takes their daughter with her, and Walter is left completely abandoned in this home.
The only thing that keeps him from loneliness is his relationship with Amanda, a young girl who lives next door and is in the same year of school as his daughter. 
Amanda has a unique life as well, and takes on a lot at an early age like Walter had to do. Her mother actually leaves her home alone for weeks at a time with no money or food. She has to basically defend for herself and learn how to survive on their own.
What's interesting about this love story is that there is absolutely no sex. Walter is a very sweet and well meaning person, and he is hyper aware of the feelings he is developing for Amanda and that they are legitimately illegal. 
I loved this story because I think it speaks to the unconventional nature of humanity and how at the end of the day we just all want to be loved. Social parameters prevent creepy situations from happening (like a 33 year old man having an affair with a 14 year old), but their relationship is not just about sex. Walter actually shows insane resistance to not do anything to Amanda sexually because he is so worried it will damage her. It actually reminds me of the teenage vampire stories and the resistance a vampire must have to not bite and kill the human he loves. There is a childish romance to the story, but also the larger looming doom hovers over the relationship during the entire story.
This story is less about romance and more about how you never know who can help your life feel whole in your life. And that we can give love and company to people in more ways than physical sex.  
I thought this was a sweet very nontraditional love story. The ending really tugged on my heart and broke it a little at the same time.
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Please, no more comparisons with Lolita.  Might as well compare Marvel Comics with 1984.  And why even, as mentioned in the blurb, is there any comparison at all to Lila by Marilynne Robinson?   To be honest, that was my reason for choosing this book to review since I wasn't attracted to the subject matter and had never heard of the author.  The characters never seem to come alive, although mostly being told in first person.  There has been enough in other reviews concerning the plotline, which I won't repeat.   What I will say that stuck with me was the preponderance of detail that neither illuminated nor propelled Walter, the central character, excepting for brief flashes.  The auxiliary characters, most notably Amanda, are not fleshed out at all, and some of the behavior of the adults, especially Amanda's mother, would raise red flags in today's world.   Did not like.
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The Best of Crimes follows Walter, a wunderkind now in his 30's that develops a relationship with his 12 year old neighbor Amanda. What starts at first as a nurturing friendship slowly develops into a sexually strained and fraught relationship as Amanda grows older and Walter finds himself falling in love with her. 

Billed by some as a more accessible version of Lolita (less literary blather), I would argue that this novel better examines our current culture - where childhood is no longer considered sacred and many kids believe themselves to be emotionally if not necessarily physically mature. Whereas Humbert Humbert reveled in his attraction to Lolita, Walter realizes what he feels is inappropriate and that feeling eventually leads him to take account of his actions. 

To say that this book is not for everyone would be an understatement, but if you enjoy character-driven novels that examine fraught or taboo relationships, then this book might be for you!

A special thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a free advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
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A brave book, with good, not great, execution. I haven't read Lolita, so can't compare them, but there are bound to be ratings at both ends of the scale (which for some authors equals success in-and-of itself). Read at your own risk.

I really appreciate the advanced copy for review!!
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I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.   Thank you NetGalley.

The Best of Crimes is  a seriously taboo topic that will likely anger / disgust many people.     BUT don't let that take away from the book or make you not want to read it.   The book was well-written, amazingly so.    The subject matter is hard to swallow, but adds to the drama of teh book for sure.
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I was terribly conflicted as I read this story. I went from feeling sick in my stomach to accepting the plot as do-able. Just when I would think I could accept the relationship between Walter and Amanda, I would think of my friend’s 12-year-old daughter and there would come the conflict, rising its face to me. I think the hardest part in this story is that a child so little was left to raise her self and no one in the community was willing to step in. While Walter’s motives may have been selfishly imposed, his caring for this child probably saved her. I believe you will either accept this book or you will hate it and probably not finish it. It will definitely be a book for much discussion among fellow readers.
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