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REVIEW: Nothing Can Hurt You by Nicola Maye Goldberg

Stories about the aftereffects of an event of any kind have always fascinated me. The ripples that a single action can have on people outside the immediate circle can be cruel and maybe even enlightening to others. The murder of college student Sara Morgan in 1997 causes such effects, and Nothing Can Hurt You by Nicola Maye Goldberg is an eye-opener to cause and affects others’ lives have and how an impact a single action can resonate differently between people.

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I need to get off my chest. Can we please stop comparing every piece of fiction, or even non-fiction, concerning a dead girl, to Gone Girl? This story is nothing like it, so please don’t let the reviews portion on the book’s back cover, or even on the Amazon page fool you otherwise.

Following, and even preceding the murder of Sara Morgan, Goldberg takes us through time documenting several women and their involvement with it. The book spreads across the characters, looking into the investigation somehow and even the people associated with the murderer. What interested me the most about this debut novel wasn’t because it was a thriller, because it really isn’t in the traditional sense, and it wasn’t terrifying either. Psychological is the term I would describe it best as we dive into what these women do surrounding this event, the motivation. At times, the justification they have as they attempt to understand from all perspectives.

While Goldberg’s debut does deserve praise, it may be a bit hard to follow for some. By the time I got to the end of the book, I had found myself flipping through pages to make sure another person the author was referencing was one I had already read about before. Having each chapter’s title named after the author’s character she was focusing on helped put the pieces together, but I wish there were a table of contents to make referencing easier. That, or maybe I should have created a map to help know which person coincided with another. Fortunately, I believe I got the majority of it and knew the relationships in family terms.

I may be off the mark, but I took much of this book as telling the audience that not everything is just about the individual, and we need to take notice that others deal with shared dilemmas in different ways. Regardless of if we agree, we should try and understand. Nothing Can Hurt You is an excellent look into how other people view a single event, but it didn’t resonate with me as much as I wanted it. I’m not sure if the marketing behind it had me anticipating something different that makes me feel like this, but I do believe that if you go into this novel knowing more than the short reviews lead on, you will get something more out of this book.

For my review, I give Nothing Can Hurt You by Nicola Maye Goldberg a 3.5/5, but for Goodreads, it will be a 3 out of 5.

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