Twenty-one year old Beth is in prison. The thing she did is so bad she doesn't deserve ever to feel good again.
But her counsellor, Erika, won't give up on her. She asks Beth to make a list of all the good things in her life. So Beth starts to write down her story, from sharing silences with Foster Dad No. 1, to flirting in the Odeon on Orange Wednesdays, to the very first time she sniffed her baby's head.
But at the end of her story, Beth must confront the bad thing.
What is the truth hiding behind her crime? And does anyone - even a 100% bad person - deserve a chance to be good?
When we first meet Bethany (Beth) she's a young vulnerable woman who is in prison therapy session with a counsellor and has been asked to write a list of good things, but in her mind there is nothing good and neither is she.
What follows is an insight to the relationships that Beth has had in her young life that has brought her to this point. From the early days with her mother, to the various foster homes she lived in, the 'friends' she made along the way and those who took advantage of her. All of this has shaped her into the person she is today and led her to the path she took regarding the crime she committed. It's clear that Beth thinks little of herself, she feels that she's unlovable as everyone she has ever gotten close to has left her.
Whilst compiling her list, Beth recalls the things that she used to make her happy such as running as it gave her the freedom to go wherever she wanted, and reading as it opened up a whole new world to her. And it's through her love of reading that we can see that she is extremely intelligent, despite her lack of education, and I loved how it was through reading that she was able to help one of her fellow prisoners.
All the Good Things made for bleak. uncomfortable reading at times but was also strangely compelling at the time, showing the bleak realities of the foster system and how people can become lost. Through Beth's narration we're able to see just how fragile life can be and that not everything is black and white, the colours/lines can be blurred at times to create shades of grey. And that for a different path in our own lives, it could just as easily be any one of us in her shoes.
An emotionally-charged debut from Clare Fisher and I look forward to seeing what comes next from her.
I'd like to thank Josie at Penguin for inviting me to be part of this blog tour and sending me a proof copy of the book to review.