Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published Saturday, August 16, 2014 at 6:05 AM

  • Share:
             
  • Comments
  • Print

‘Dear Daughter’: Daughter’s investigation of matricide

Elizabeth Little’s confident fiction debut, “Dear Daughter,” is the story of a prickly young woman trying to solve a mystery — whether she murdered her own mother.


The Associated Press

advertising

“Dear Daughter”

by Elizabeth Little

Viking, 384 pp., $26.95

The unlikable protagonist with a biting personality and outrageous actions, but who is fascinating at the same time, has never been more popular. Just think of “Gone Girl.”

In her confident fiction debut, Elizabeth Little puts a fresh spin on this character in the form of Jane Jenkins, a young woman famous for being famous until she was sent to prison for the murder of her wealthy socialite mother.

Little also makes “Dear Daughter” a parable about the cult of the celebrity stoked by a relentless press and a ruthless public’s thirst for details of a woman it loves to hate.

As a teenager, Jane was a train wreck, constantly in the news for her out-of-control drinking and drugs, the complete opposite of her mother, Marion Elsinger, who was known for her philanthropy. Then, at 17, Jane was sent to prison for her mother’s brutal murder.

The case against Jane was sketchy, and now, 10 years later, her conviction has been overturned because of mismanaged evidence. Jane, who has little memory of what happened, now has one goal: to find out if she killed her mother or if her mother’s mysterious past led to her murder.

Scant clues lead Jane to the tiny, crumbling town of Adeline, S.D., and the adjacent community of Ardelle. Although she has dropped out of the public eye with a disguise and a new identity, Jane is vilified in news programs, gossip shows and by a nasty blogger who offers a reward for her location.

Little leads “Dear Daughter” through a realistic labyrinth as Jane’s mission to find out about her mother’s past uncovers some unsettling truths about herself. Little skillfully stays true to Jane’s personality while allowing the character to grow emotionally and mature. Often rage-filled with little regard for others, Jane never becomes a sweet, appealing woman, but she is unfailingly interesting.



Free 4-week trial, then $99 a year for unlimited seattletimes.com access. Try it now!

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

Autos news and research

New 3-wheelers merge fun and safety

New 3-wheelers merge fun and safety


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►