There are books that attract you with their covers, some because they have a strong blurb, and some others, just because of the title. This, again, is nuanced, because there are beautiful titles and then there are titles like this book, Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone that makes you think, “Huh! I NEED to know HOW!” It’s a bold statement to make though, and more often than not, the book ends up being a damp squib. But this one lives up to what it promises. Everyone in the protagonist’s family HAS killed someone and we’re about to find out how.
So… Ernest Cunningham is the black sheep of the notorious Cunningham family because of something he did 3 years ago. But he’s still invited to the annual family reunion, which is taking place this year in a ski resort. But keep the title of the book in mind because EVERYONE in the family is now there. Things are about to heat up (figuratively, of course – imagine it literally happening in a ski resort) and become extra chaotic.
On the whole, the destination of this story, the climax, the tying up of all loose ends, is pretty well done. It becomes better as you reach the halfway mark and it’s only upward from there (no pun intended, I promise). There’s a variety of characters to work with, each with their own secrets than the next and each holding their own grudges. Information flows out bit by little bit, wheedling your brain to accept it and put it into place and is accompanied by that niggling feeling that if only that one tiny window opened up in your brain, everything would fall into place. It takes its time, though, and I mean that in a good way.
But you know how they say the journey is more important than the destination itself? This is a book that has a choppy journey because of how many disclaimers the author inserts into the story. In writing Ernest as this self-aware, ‘honest’ writer whose undertones scream, “I’m better than the rest because I’m saying all this,” the author has turned the book into what could be quirky into a quagmire of hits and misses. Because Ernest’s quirks don’t always work. They will annoy the sh*t out of you at times and make you want to throw the book up into the air.
Then again, as the book progresses, the characters, the plot, and the self-awareness evolves. It becomes clearer and knows what it wants to say and suddenly, you’re craving for that one assurance from the MC because you somehow miss the quirkiness it brings. It’s inexplicable, really, because at one point, that quirkiness annoyed you, but now, that’s one thing that kind of set this book apart. But it’s transformation from something that’s used as a decoy of honesty into a strange combination of light and dark – light, because it’s the truth, and dark because things are about to get serious on that ski resort, is a welcome one. And it’s this that kept this book on the positive side of my opinion.
Here’s a self-aware quote that knocked at my head:
I know I’m the narrator, but it interested me that I wasn’t the only one scratching around the death. Crime novels always look at the motives of a list of suspects, but only from the perspective of the inspired inquirer. Am I really the detective just because it’s my voice you have to listen to? I guess this whole story would be different if someone else wrote it. Maybe I’m only the Watson after all.
Because he’s right. It’s all about perspective. Everyone sees the world in the different way. Everyone processes things in a different manner. So, if someone else had written the story, it would have been told completely differently perhaps. This gave me pause, because though it might not be groundbreaking (I know there have been variations of this born into the world previously), it is still relevant, and it still gives context to the story. This is a constant reminder that no matter how much you scream at the main characters, they don’t have to know everything, do what you tell them to, be completely likeable, or be easily understood.
That’s what you’ll have to remember the most when you go into this book, is all.
What did you think of this review? Have you read this book? If yes, do you agree with me? If not, will you pick the book up after reading my review? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you! 😊
I’ll see you in the next blog post.
Until next time, keep reading, and add melodrama to your life! 😊
2 thoughts on “Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson | Book Review”
Wow. Now I am super interested in reading this book. And I love the quote you mentioned. It’s so true for every book/story I have come across. How different the story would be just by changing the narrator. It’s pretty self-evident, and yet I never thought about it until now.
Great review 🙂
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Me too! Sometimes these reminders are important, I guess, because we can apply them to life as well 😀
Thank you so much, Divya! Hope you end up liking the book at least as much as I did, if not more ❤