Last Woman Standing
Author: Amy Gentry
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Genre/Themes: Mystery, Thriller
Release Date: January 5th, 2019
Dana Diaz is an aspiring stand‑up comedian—a woman in a man’s world. When she meets a tough computer programmer named Amanda Dorn, the two bond over their struggles in boys’ club professions. Dana confides that she’s recently been harassed and assaulted while in L.A., and Amanda comes up with a plan: they should go after each other’s assailants, Strangers on a Train–style. But Dana finds that revenge, however sweet, draws her into a more complicated series of betrayals. Soon her distrust turns to paranoia, encompassing strangers, friends—and even herself. At what cost will she get her vengeance? Who will end up getting hurt? And when it’s all over, will there be anyone left to trust?
When I read the premise for this novel, I was immediately intrigued. I knew that this book was a modern retelling of Strangers on a Train revolving around the #MeToo movement. Additionally, I thought it was so interesting that Dana Diaz was a comedian, especially since the Louis CK revelations came out. However, the most interesting part was that this was written before the #MeToo movement happened. Amy Gentry had written this novel by talking to women in the entertainment industry and adding her own experiences. She had heard the Louis CK rumors and created this novel, and I really wanted to know how it delivered.
This is a good novel, but there’s nothing too spectacular about it. Yes, it has Strangers on a Train vibes, but it’s a lot darker than that. The anger and vengeance of the characters color the whole novel and make it far darker than I was expecting. Unfortunately, I never connected to any of the characters and I just couldn’t understand why Dana would let Amanda control her as much as she did. I never liked either of the main women.
There were a lot of #MeToo stories brought up in this book and of course, I found that aspect infuriating. I hate hearing about how blatantly terribly women are treated and this book is full of those stories. I think any woman who has experienced any sort of mistreatment at the hands of men is going to understand why Dana and Amanda were so angry, but it’s harder to get on board with the depths they went in order to exact vengeance.
There’s also a plot point in this novel that I saw coming which really bothered me. I can’t give it away without major spoilers, but I just have to say that Dana was far too trusting around men, which she really shouldn’t have been.
Overall, I think this is a solid mystery/thriller. It’s interesting, fast-paced, and it kept my interest until the end. I liked Amy Gentry’s writing style and I will definitely read her future novels.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has affected my review in no way.