What if you were your own worst enemy? Kristen Seeley explores the darkness of mental illness through her character Beverly Bonnefinche, whose childhood experiences with rejection and ridicule have turned her into a bitter and reclusive adult.
Beverly works in a bookstore—rather, she reads all day, annoyed when she has to deal with customers who interrupt her escape into imaginary worlds. To combat her emotional crises, she hides in the bathroom, chewing toilet paper. Her only friend is a homeless alcoholic who shares her negative outlook on life. Unsurprisingly, she doesn’t know how to respond when kindness comes knocking at her door.
The author succeeds wonderfully at depicting the world through the eyes of a deeply disturbed young woman. Beverly’s anger, depression, and paranoia stand out in her hateful descriptions of people whom she doesn’t know, even those who care about her. Yet there is hope in her determination to break out of her downward spiral. We find ourselves cheering not only for Beverly, but for the people who are willing to accept her as she is and offer her their strength.
I found this novel absolutely riveting. It’s obvious that Kristen Seeley speaks through Beverly from a foundation of personal experience. Sadly, I cannot give her book the five-star rating it would have deserved if she had left out the offensive language and submitted her work to an editor to catch some narrative gaffes and incorrect word usage. If you are willing to overlook these shortcomings, you will find Beverly Bonnefinche Is Dead very much worth your while.