{Audiobook} Review: Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

Miracle Creek

Angie Kim

Narrator: Jennifer Lim

How far will you go to protect your family? Will you keep their secrets? Ignore their lies?

In a small town in Virginia, a group of people know each other because they’re part of a special treatment center, a hyperbaric chamber that may cure a range of conditions from infertility to autism. But then the chamber explodes, two people die, and it’s clear the explosion wasn’t an accident.

A showdown unfolds as the story moves across characters who are all maybe keeping secrets, hiding betrayals. Was it the careless mother of a patient? Was it the owners, hoping to cash in on a big insurance payment and send their daughter to college? Could it have been a protester, trying to prove the treatment isn’t safe?

Publisher: Sarah Crichton Books

Published: April 16th 2019

Child Death, Blood, Amputation Depiction, Child Abuse, Suicide Ideation, Suicide, Infidelity, Pedophilia, Rape, Infertility Struggles, Gaslighting, Racism, Micro-Aggressions, Victim-Blaming

“That was the thing about lies: they demanded commitment. Once you lied, you had to stick to your story.” 

Let me start with my listen, which was such an alluring performance. Every voice was distinctive and Lim was such an engaging narrator. Even when I needed to stop my listen, I didn’t want to. I was rushing towards the finish and I have the narrator to blame… or thank, haha.

Another book I had decided to pick up on a whim and… I have decided to leave this review and this book without a rating. My feelings are a bit too complex, too tangled up to form a definitive star rating. If I’m honest, I don’t really know how I feel about this book, so if this review feels or sounds a bit ramble-y or muddled, I’m sorry. I shall try to construe a cohesive… thing here.

“Tragedies don’t inoculate you against further tragedies, and misfortune doesn’t get sprinkled out in fair proportions; bad things get hurled at you in clumps and batches, unmanageable and messy. 

Most reads I listen to while performing my workly duties are easy, breezy, beautiful right? This one… I was this close to skipping some parts. Which is a feat in and of itself. I don’t have the weakest stomach when it comes to disturbing topics, but wow. I would like to give warning and advise if this is on your TBR to please make sure your mental health is okay. Please

This would be my first court drama and honestly it’s very intriguing. I appreciated the back and forth, the slow unveil of information, the shock I felt with everyone in the courtroom. It’s a very easy case and storyline to follow and each new piece of information had me on my toes. And considering the author herself is a lawyer really adds to everything here.

I had actually read a few answers the author had given on Goodreads and had listened to an interview at the end of the audiobook on how being this was her first book, she had put a lot of herself inside of the pages. How she has a disabled son and has gone through medical scares, participated in HBOT (which I had never heard of? And sidenote, I don’t think you need to do any research on the topic to get the full experience here, Kim does an excellent job making everything accessible) and the works, so I appreciated and felt the authenticity in the read, especially showing how much goes into taking care of your child, the intrusive thoughts, the good and bad and everything in between.

There’s also a discussion on motherhood, immigration, micro aggressions, poverty and sacrifice. She mentions a “disability hierarchy” in the sense of how there’s a thin line between support and the intrusive thoughts and ugly sides of being a parent of a child with disabilities or autistic children— I appreciated its altruistic nature, it’s ugly raw truth that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.

As for the characters, no one is wholly good and no one is wholly bad either except for Matt we hate him.

❥ Pak– The creator/runner of the HBOT submarine in Miracle Creek, a “penguin father” who just wants the best for his daughter who may have done some bad things, with the best intentions.

❥ Young– Pak’s wife and honestly the only one who I was rooting for and felt any kind of sympathy. The way her own family treated her, icing her out, her being the obedient wife who’s slowly but surely finding her agency and asking questions, again, I felt for her the most and she deserved a lot better than what she had to deal with.

❥ Mary– Their daughter, recovering from a coma after the events, smart, pretty, close to her father and is angry and disdainful towards her mother. The deeper we delve into her part of the story, the more I had felt for her. Sure, she’s an annoying teen rebelling against her mother and doing things she’s not really supposed to be doing, but that’s normal and in the end, my heart went out to her.

Matt– the most DISGUSTING CHARACTER IN THIS ENTIRE BOOK I HOPE HE BURNS FOREVER. ahem But, a doctor who was a part of the program for his infertility issues, who’s involved with infidelity, I just… I can’t say much without spoilers but… I absolutely hated him, the most irredeemable character this the entire world I hate him. If you want some more spoiler-y thoughts, you can click this paragraph. ⤵ So, he raped Mary. Underaged Mary. Full stop. He verbatim SHOVED HER HAND DOWN HIS PANTS AND MADE HER GO UP AND DOWN. AT THE END OF IT SHE LOOKED “CONFUSED’ AND ‘CHILDLIKE’ HE’S HAD PORNOGRAPHIC DREAMS OF HER?? I just… And he LIED TO HIS WIFE ABOUT IT. Then when you get Mary’s POV on the situation, it’s so heartbreaking how he took advantage of a girl who was lonely and just wanted a friend. Did she like the attention? Sure, but she didn’t consent or ask for anything that happened to her. And in a realistic fucked up way, nothing happens to him. No repercussions at all. And that hurts.

❥ Theresa – a woman who was a victim of the explosion, a friend of Elizabeth and takes care of her daughter with cerebral palsy. She had a small-ish role to play here, but she gave a complex perspective on being a mother to a disabled child in all of its beautiful, ugly sides.

❥ Shannon– Elizabeth’s lawyer who honestly… we don’t get into her head until much later, but watching her in the courtroom and doing her thing, those were some of my favorite scenes.

❥ Elizabeth– the woman on trial for allegedly blowing up the HBOT submarine killing her child in the process. Another character I have very complex feelings on, a character who loved her son, but didn’t always go about loving and taking care of him in…. nice ways? Listen, I’m trying to go about this without spoilers. I know we’re not supposed to like her since so early in the book has established her as villainous, but she has a complexity about her that out of all of the character may have penetrated me the most.

“We all have thoughts that shame us…but if that were to actually happen, that’d be unbearable” 

I think my lack of definitive feelings of this book has to do with the subject matter. Intrusive thoughts, child abuse, pedophilia… and the fact that there is no redeemable character (except for Young… she deserves the world) however, you feel a sense of understanding and sympathy for most except Matt, he can suffer a painful… something that I just….

There’s a mix of appreciation, disgust, sadness and everything here that I can’t untangle. And at this point I don’t want to. All I can say is this was an engaging, enthralling read that disturbed me and allured me all the same. And that’s that.

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