The above represents my reaction to Who is Maud Dixon? by Alexandra Andrews.
Think of the know-it-all in your life you just want to get away from. The overly critical person who has a comment for everything because they think they are better, but are jealous underneath the facade. And even if they don’t have anything to add, they feel the need to disagree just to disagree or play devil’s advocate? The annoying person that gives a sarcastic “okay” when they are really judging you but don’t want to say the quiet part out loud? While the title of this asks about Maud Dixon, it’s really a book about an insufferable snot named Florence Margaret Darrow. A character you are supposed to be rooting for but instead meets the criteria for what I described above.
The plot in a nutshell: Florence is a wannabe writer (who can’t write anything worthwhile) living in NYC (of course) and hates her overly critical MAGA mother. She works a dead end job at a publishing house and lives in a shoebox apartment. After being a freak and stalking her boss’s family, she gets fired. Then, seemingly, out of the blue, she gets a job offer to work as a personal assistant for an author that goes by the pseudonym Maud Dixon, a mysterious woman living in the sticks who has caused waves with her first book named Mississippi Foxtrot. Thrilled at first to be working with a prolific author, Florence soon realizes the real Maud Dixon is an eccentric, erratic, and verbally abusive Southern woman who she both fears and emulates. She also becomes only one of two people who actually knows who Maud Dixon is, which becomes dangerous for a host of reasons. What follows is a series of events (all of them far-fetched and full of unnecessary detail that could have cut this book in half had it been edited out) that reveals the cost of uncovering the truth about someone you thought was your hero, while discovering own decisions about who you want to be and how low you are willing to go to get there. This story also takes forever to get to the point. When it finally does, you find that the “twist” wasn’t all that creative, because you saw it coming. I also didn’t care enough about any character to be excited. Gone Girl, this is not.
The only reason I gave this two stars is because I managed to finish it. And I only finished it because I paid for it. The book got so much positive press that I thought there would be something special within its pages. But no, it’s about terrible women who do terrible things to each other. It’s about sinking so low to get over or gain material wealth, that you lose sight of who you are. I have no problem with horrible, villianous characters. In fact, I’m drawn to them due to their complexity. That’s why I know this was bad. If you are going to give us a false protagonist, do it right. Because if you don’t, the result will be what would happen if a poop and vomit emoji had a baby.
2/5 stars: ⭐️⭐️
If Hollywood must make a movie based on another bad book, here’s the cast I’d pick who might salvage it:
Florence Darrow: Elle Fanning
Maud Dixon: Reese Witherspoon