12 May 2022

The Maid by Nita Prose

My mother-in-law loaned this to me and suggested I read it and since she never asks me to read anything (knowing how eager I am to move to the next book on my own list), I indulged. She said it "just showed how awful people can be" and I would never, ever list that as the takeaway for this novel, but if you know how sweet my mother-in-law Kim is, it makes sense that this was hers.

The story is about a maid named Molly (lol) who works at a fancy hotel and ends up being witness to a crime that happens there with a high profile client. Molly is a bit of a naïve and quirky character and in trusting the wrong people she ends up being manipulated into being the prime suspect. The plot itself makes it a mystery novel but it doesn't really follow the typical mystery genre tropes. It reads to me as more of a character study.

Nita Prose

I liked that this book was different, I've really never read anything like it before, but it's hard to enjoy a character study when you don't like the main character. I found Molly incredibly obnoxious, often quite dense, and a bit uppity at times. She's very socially awkward with very few friends and when the book starts her Gran has just passed, someone who cared about her and whose life advice guided her. Molly is constantly quoting her Gran which is something I think Prose was hoping would be charming but that I found incredibly annoying. 

Gran always drilled into me the importance of a clean and orderly home. 'A clean home, a clean body, and clean company. Do you know where that leads?' I could not have been more than five years old when she taught me this. I looked way up at her as she spoke. 

'Where does it lead, Gran?' 

'To a clean conscience. To a good, clean life.'"

It was also really hard to follow Molly through this mystery when she walks right into one red flag after another. It's like when you see people in scary movies run upstairs or open the basement door and you're like, are you on actual drugs or... I will say, part of Molly's naivety comes from her just being a genuinely kind-hearted and trusting person. It tracks that I would relate more to the people taking advantage of her, where my mother-in-law would relate to Molly herself. 

There were a few parts where I found the humour really good. Molly is obsessed with The Olive Garden (who isn't) and there are very descriptive paragraphs of her menu choices and the food she likes there. I respect Prose for specifically mentioned the appetizer trio. This is the writing I can get behind. 

Gran always said that the truth is subjective, which is something I failed to comprehend until my own life experience proved her wisdom. Now I understand. My truth is not the same as yours because we don't experience life in the same way."

Even though I didn't love this, I am finding it really cool that Canadian authors are making their way onto more and more bestseller lists. The media has really blown this book up and Universal even bought the rights to it for a movie adaptation. Apparently it's supposed to star Florence Pugh as Molly, which I don't personally want to see because I love Florence Pugh but it is a big deal for Prose so good for her.

I didn't really like this but I can see why other people did and I think if you like reading easy, current fiction, this would be a great one to add to your list this summer.

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