Friday, February 14, 2014

The Ruining, by Anna Collomore

Annie is excited about her new job as a nanny in San Francisco.  She'll be able to attend classes at SF State, live in a fabulous house on Belvedere Island with a great couple, take care of a sweet little girl, and (most importantly) finally escape her traumatic past.  It is a dream come true.

At first, things go well, but slowly circumstances change.  Her employers accuse her of doing things she cannot recall doing.  Strange things start to happen (Annie get mysteriously sick, things disappear, the walls get redecorated).  Annie begins to question her sanity.  In the end, her employers completely destroy Annie's life.

This very creepy story is at its best in the beginning when the freaky manipulative stuff is just starting to unfold.  But the pace picks up and eventually simply goes over the top.  At that point, since I no longer believed that the story was plausible, I stopped caring about the character.  And, since Collomore painted herself into a very tight corner, her solution has to be pretty drastic (and invoking a deus ex machina solution, it is dramatically disappointing).  The ending also completely sidesteps the issue of the evil that was done to Annie, so we're robbed the satisfaction of a final confrontation.  In all, I'll grant that the earlier parts of the book are engrossing psychological stuff, but I felt let down in the end.

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