Taylor’s life dramatically changes when her mother marries the amazing and rich Chad. It soon becomes clear that Chad is neither amazing nor rich, but, as a narcissist, he certainly makes sure to appear that way to everyone outside of his house. Taylor is his favorite target, refusing to allow her to do things that make her happy while simultaneously telling other people Taylor is difficult and just doesn’t want to do those things anymore. Once it becomes clear her mother will never side with her and feeling completely worthless, Taylor turns to drugs and alcohol until an observant and kind school librarian steps in with help.
The author of Remaining Me clearly has experience with a narcissist. Some of the things Chad said and did are exactly like things a friend’s narcissist ex-husband said and did. The emptiness apparent in Taylor’s mother’s actions is spot on for someone who has been verbally and emotionally beaten down. Taylor’s emotions and pain jump out of the pages making you want to hug her and save her from her horrible home life. The book is the story of Taylor’s young life, told from Taylor’s point of view at 17-years-old as she’s thinking about how she got where she is now. It’s very engaging and sucked me right in. Possibly because I supported my friend through her divorce, the whole thing rang very true and hurt my heart and affected me in ways that likely made the book that much better. The author is certainly an excellent storyteller.
So why didn’t I give it 5 stars? I really, really wanted to. It deserves 5 stars and with some editing, it would be. I debated between 3 and 4 stars because the errors are just that bad, but the story itself is so incredibly good, I went with 4 stars. There are an abundance of grammar mistakes. In many, many places there are words that do not belong. Often, I could figure out how the sentence was written originally because of words left in during the editing process (the final sentences were always better). At least one character’s middle name changed. A couple other details changed as well. Not related to the editing issues, I personally felt the last chapter was completely unnecessary. The second to last chapter had a good, not tied up with a bow everything is happy and awesome, but, rather, hopeful, ending that fit the rest of the book very well. The final chapter kind of tried to do the tying up with a bow and it fell flat because Chad’s abuse will affect Taylor and her mother and her baby brother and sister forever. It’s really unfortunate that the editing errors in the book caused the rating to drop because this is a really excellent story and I highly recommend reading it.
4 (out of 5) Stars