Kiss, Marry or Kill: 20
The book I don't know how to talk about (but I MUST), the best noise for sleeping, care for a placebo? Dolly Parton doubles down, the #BamaRush microcosm
This is my weekly series for subscribers only, where I’ll share things that caught my eye this week in a fun and flirty way (kiss), a sustainable way (marry), or a not-so-good way (kill). And yes, this trendy game is technically “f***, marry, or kill” but we run a family-friendly-ish show around here.
Kiss (things I like right now)
Bright Young Women by Jessica Knoll
(This book contains themes of violence against women, including sexual assault and murder)
I casually tossed this book into my cart while running errands in Target. The reviews seemed to describe it as a thriller; a subversive riff on “true crime.” I was not at all prepared.
The opening chapters, read before bed, gave me a literal nightmare. I didn’t think I could continue. The sparse, unflinching style of writing conveyed the brutality with chilling clarity; what was left unsaid haunted me. I can’t even think about this book without wanting to cry—for me, for us, for every bright young woman who was forced to become “resilient.”
WHY ARE YOU RECOMMENDING THIS MELISSA?
Because it’s important. Because you will feel seen. Because there are lines that hold more truth to the experience of being a woman than anything I’ve ever read.
This book is not a thriller. The Girl on the Train was a thriller; that phrase is an injustice to Bright Young Women. It opens with an act of random violence in a sorority house—throughout the story, randomness plays its own character. That crime is quickly linked to others by the women left behind in the wake of the victims, who spend the next several decade seeking justice and being violated again in the process.
The story spans generations, connected by themes of love, betrayal, and violence. But it’s not the randomness or happenstance that made this book so hard to read. The harshest truth, the one that continues to keep me up at night, was the story it told about the men we already know.
Yes, it was a hard read, but it was also a fierce commentary on misogyny, which makes it necessary. Maybe the Amazon reviewers read a different book than I did? Listen to me, not them—Bright Young Women is not for the faint of heart, which is precisely why we should read it.