I picked up this book because I liked Gone Girl. I think that Gillian Flynn has a knack for exploring dysfunctional relationships. The main character of this book, Camille Preaker, is not the usual protagonist that people expect in stories. She's neither feisty nor virginal, she's quite unremarkable if viewed from the point of view of the other characters in the book. She doesn't stand out, she doesn't always speak out either.
I still like the character because I find her believable. The way that her childhood trauma was uncovered in the book is something I can relate to, and I guess that's what I like most about the character. She has serious issues that she's trying to work through and there are many ups and downs to it. The book shows how a child's fragile sense of self can be damaged by their parent's actions, which is often just perpetuated family dysfunction.
I also like how the book shows those subtle and not-so-subtle ways that women attack each other and are cruel and spiteful towards one another. I like how this theme winds through the different parts of the mystery, like a thread that is part of what ties the story up. It adds layers of dysfunction to already dysfunctional small town and family dynamics.
While I liked how the author created the web of relationships among the characters, I didn't like how the crimes were solved. The way the ending was written (more in the style of an Epilogue, a summary of events, rather than unfolding as a part of the story telling) felt like a cop out. Still, I did enjoy reading it, even if it started out slow and ended a little flat.