Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Ruining

Title: The Ruining
Author: Anna Collomore
Number of Pages: 313
Date Read: 3/26/14
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Realistic Fiction

Synopsis (Found on

Annie Phillips is thrilled to leave her past behind and begin a shiny new life on Belvedere Island, as a nanny for the picture-perfect Cohen family. In no time at all, she falls in love with the Cohens, especially with Libby, the beautiful young matriarch of the family. Life is better than she ever imagined. She even finds romance with the boy next door. 
All too soon cracks appear in Annie's seemingly perfect world. She's blamed for mistakes she doesn't remember making. Her bedroom door comes unhinged, and she feels like she's always being watched. Libby, who once felt like a big sister, is suddenly cold and unforgiving. As she struggles to keep up with the demands of her new life, Annie's fear gives way to frightening hallucinations. Is she tumbling into madness, or is something sinister at play? 

My Review:

This has got to be the only book where I liked the plot and the writing but not any (well maybe 2) of the characters. 

So the story is basically this: Annie has answered an ad to be a nanny for a rich couple out in California. She lives in Detroit and has a horrible home life with tragedies that happened to her that are very messed up. She sees her chance to escape and work plus go to college somewhere else where she thinks she will have a better life. When she first moves into the Cohen's house every thing is peach keen. The mother, Libby, likes her. The father, Walker, is handsome and friendly. The baby, Jackson, is adorable and the child that Annie is to be the nanny for, Zoe, is a adorable 3 year old with some emotional problems. But slowly as time moves on, things in the house begin to change. Libby has mood swings and it really does seem that Annie is going crazy. She does have one ally: Owen, the boy next door who genuinely cares about her and you guessed it, is the romantic love interest. 

I didn't like Annie, the main character. Yes I felt for her because of her situation and the things she goes through in the book but she is very annoying. She has this weird obsession with Libby and wanting to become her. Her affection and I want to say love for lack of a better word, for Libby is unhealthy. Libby can talk Annie into anything and Annie always thinks she's right. Annie defends Libby until the very end when circumstances force her to open her eyes. She has this obsession with gaining Libby's approval for everything and works herself to death to try to get it. I felt that Annie was very naive, gullible and a push over. She didn't set any boundaries with Libby and was basically treated like a maid instead of a nanny. Libby asked her inappropriate questions and even though Annie felt uncomfortable with them, she didn't say anything and answered the questions. Annie does make some stupid decisions and choices that cause Libby to get angry but those decisions would cause anyone to get angry because she didn't think. So I can't blame Libby there. One think I have to give Annie credit for is that she is a hard worker. This is evident in her school work (in the beginning) and with her dedication to being Zoe's nanny. 

I downright hated Libby. I didn't trust her from the beginning. She seems so fake. I knew things were messed up with her when she could go from loving to cold and nasty in 1 second flat. Libby is very manipulating especially to Annie but also with Walker, her husband. Libby can get anyone to do anything she wants. I think she may be bi-polar or have some personality disorder herself with her mood swings. She gives Annie a lot of mixed signals. One minute she's telling Annie that Annie is like part of their family and then next she's saying that Annie is just the staff. She talks Annie into things and deliberately does things to make Annie think she's going crazy. She causes Annie's breakdown and then turns everything around making Annie believe that she is going to take care of Annie and make sure she gets better. Libby is very evil. The way she treats Zoe is horrible. The poor 3 year old is all alone in one wing of their mansion, with a room that is undecorated and bare, and Libby is an interior designer! Libby shows no love towards Zoe and doesn't hug her or show her affection in the slightest. Libby only loves Jackson who is an infant. I hated Libby and I do not feel bad in saying that she should die. I wanted to go into the book and kick her ***. 

Walker was just an idiot. He let Libby walk all over him and rule him. He had no say in anything in the house. She talked down to him and treated him like a kid in front of Annie and yet he was head over heels for her. He knew Libby was treating Annie badly but did nothing to stop it. I have absolutely no sympathy for him.

The only two characters that I liked in this book were Owen and Zoe. Zoe was a cute 3 year old with problems (you find out why but I'm not saying anything). She still has that cute baby talk and she is very affectionate to Annie. Zoe has bad nightmares that cause her to wake up screaming and crying. She is a very nervous and serious 3 year old. Owen is the guy next door~ literally. He and his parents are the Cohen's neighbors. He is very sweet and caring. He feels that there is something wrong at the Cohen's and watches out for Annie. He tries to be the voice of reason but Annie shoots him down in defense of Libby all the time. Frankly I don't really see why he put up with Annie and her crap like he did. But hey I guess that's love.

I really liked the plot of the book and they writing. When Annie was losing her mind and thinking she was going crazy, I felt like I was going nuts too. I too was confused with what was Annie's reality and what was in her mind. At one point Annie feels like she is two people, Annie and Nanny (the name Libby calls her) and at that point in the book, you as the reader, aren't sure if she is Annie or Nanny either. That's good writing. 

I did feel like the book could of been good without the romance. This really wasn't a book that needed romance. I would of like it better if Owen became a good friend. What Annie really needed in the book was someone who cared about her, someone who would look out for her well being and help her. Owen was that and he could of just as easily done that as a friend and not a love interest. I just feel like this was a book that didn't need a love story because it was dealing with the huge issue of mental health. And lets face it, while some people with mental issues have people who love and support them, there are just as many out there who don't and it would have been interesting to read about a character from that end of the spectrum. 


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