When I Am Through With You, by Stephanie Kuehn
Beyond the mystery and the core relationships at the foundation—both of which would have been rich and solid enough to carry the book on their own—it plays with and explores a whole lot more.
It plays with the outsider/townie relationship, in that a townie can hate where he’s from, but will become protective of it and resentful of outsiders who denigrate it.
It deconstructs and rebuilds and expands on character archetypes like the Manic Pixie Dream Girl and the Femme Fatale.
It looks at the myriad ways that family members hurt one another, how longterm abuse shapes our perspectives, informs our reactions, affects our understanding of every relationship we have.
It deals with how guilt and shame and abuse and resentment dovetail together until they’re almost impossible to separate.
It touches on race and gender and economic class and entitlement and how different people react to similar circumstances—some by constantly fighting those circumstances, some by embracing inertia, some by throwing themselves wholeheartedly into self-destruction.
It shows how capable people are of convincing themselves that the path they want to follow is the RIGHT path, even when they know, deep down, that it isn’t.