Book Review: PIECES OF HER, a daughter’s search for the truth of her mother’s secret past

slaughter, karin - pieces of herPieces of Her
Karen Slaughter

Andrea, an indecisive thirty-one-year-old who moved back to her hometown, is having a birthday lunch at the mall with her mother, middle-aged speech pathologist and breast cancer survivor, Laura Oliver. Warm and nurturing, Laura encourages Andrea to find her passion but promises she can live with her until she does.

In the brief moment Andrea slips away for a refill, a shooter comes into the mall diner and hits two women before going after Andrea who freezes. Laura, displaying skills Andrea has never seen, confronts the gunman. One of the diner patrons recorded the exchange and his video replayed incessantly on the news.

For all of Andrea’s life, Laura has diligently kept her past a secret, but now, she’s been exposed, and now she and Andrea are both at risk. Laura sends Andrea away, but Andrea is determined to learn the truth about her mother, even if it comes at the ultimate cost.

Pieces of Her is one of my least favorite Karin Slaughter books. Laura’s backstory is interesting but rather unbelievable, and some of the characters (e.g., Paula, Nick) are one-note and stereotypical. Although the book is in part how women find their voices, in the lead up, these women are malleable, inarticulate, and for the most part extremely annoying.

Even one of Slaughter’s lesser books has positive aspects, and Pieces of Her does offer an evil corporation, secret identities, and cult-like personalities. The book is a quick, compelling read for those looking for a “palate-cleansing” mystery.