Book Review of The Girl I Used to Be by Mary Torjussen

While at a conference, real estate business owner Gemma Brogan bumps into a client and agrees to go out for an innocent dinner. Gemma loves her husband Joe and would never do anything to compromise her marriage, but when she begins receiving cryptic messages and photos Gemma begins questioning just how innocent her dinner really was.

ARGH… how can I possibly describe how much I disliked this book. It’s broken into two parts – the first from Gemma’s POV and the second flip-flops between Gemma and another main character. Part one was so incredibly boring I nearly fell asleep. I have no idea why the author thought readers needed to know every tedious minute of Gemma’s boring life, but it was there for us to read all the same.

Part two picked up a bit, but by then I’d already figured out who was behind the messages, I just couldn’t fathom why. When I did find out the why I felt sucker-punched. The author had conveniently left out a very crucial detail in her opening prologue. Clearly, the event in the prologue would come into play at some point, but the actual “play” was glaringly missing.

I deeply disliked every single character in this book. Well, that’s not true. Lucy and Brian seemed nice enough, but they were only minor players. Gemma was an absolute idiot in every way possible. When the truth about the event from the prologue comes out, I couldn’t help but think how incredibly tragic it was and it made me hate Gemma even more. Her husband Joe was a lazy, selfish moron. In fact, all the male characters were sexist – and that included Gemma’s four-year-old Rory who insisted on spa-style baths and buffet dinners. Good going, Gemma, you’re turning your son into another spoiled Joe.

Why didn’t I toss this book back on the library shelf when I read the title? Ever since the success of Gone Girl, everyone and their dog has been throwing the word GIRL into a book title and hoping it makes the writing better. It doesn’t. This one should have been titled, The Stupid GIRL I Used to Be and Still Am. Please make it stop.

1 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton