Elizabeth Flock’s What Happened to my Sister follows her best seller Me and Emma and, according to the reviews, I should have read the latter first. I didn’t, and perhaps that’s the reason for my mixed review. I’d love to hear comments from any who have read it, in order or not.
Nine-year-old Carrie Parker and her mother, Libby, escape their violent past to start a new life, but Libby is beyond coping and leaves Carrie to survive alone, carrying with her only the memory of her sister Emma, who she is not allowed to mention. The buried secret of Emma’s fate and Carrie’s indomitable spunk carry the novel, but Carrie’s survival—her discovery by the Chaplins—is a clumsy dues ex machina (lowering a god by machine as they used to do in Greek dramas when the plot got too tangled). It is the means through which Carrie reveals her past and there is a good story there, but I never regained the lost credulity.
Those who loved the first book also loved Flock’s writing. I, too, was impressed at the start by her grasp of dialect and the nine-year-old voice, but soon it buried me. I found it overdone and repetitive, slowing the story or padding it.
Perhaps if I had read Me and Emma first, I would be invested enough in Carrie to overlook the clumsy plotting and overdone language, and I’d love to hear from those of you who read Flock’s first and very successful book.