The Duplicate by Helen Fitzgerald

Posted On 6 October 2012

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The Duplicate by Helen Fitzgerald was the last of my holiday reads and quite literally I read it in the Airport and on the flight home.  It’s only a short story so it fitted in perfectly.

The story is split into two parts, firstly following Barbara, a young misfit orphan.  Barbara lives with her rather eccentric, mad scientist type uncle in a large mansion.  She assists him with his experiments on cloning.  As we start the story Barbara is in the middle of her presentation for the school’s science project.  To say her little experiment doesn’t go down to well is something of an understatement and the whole event only pushes Barbara further into the realms of oddity in the eyes of the other students.

As I started this book I wasn’t really sure what to expect.  The first part of the story is told by Barbara.  It starts off with her explaining how she intends to marry the object of her school girl crush.  Barbara has very little experience, no friends and from the sounds of it almost borders on autistic.  Reading her thoughts starts off fairly amusing if sometimes a little cringe-making.  Barbara has bought a self help book and is quite literally taking the advice in there as gospel with more often than not quite disastrous results.  The tension begins to build as the story unfolds and you are left with the horrible knowledge that something disastrous and life changing is about to happen for the ever unsuspecting and gullible Barbara.

This leads us to part two of the story.  Told by Barbara’s daughter Rowena (who is in fact Barbara No.2).  This makes for interesting reading – how will Rowena turn out after all?  Will she be like her mother?  Follow in her footsteps and make the same mistakes.  Rowena, in fact, is only like her mother in looks.  Her nature is different.  She is care free and friendly and her easy going nature makes it easy for her to make friends.  She has a good life style and seems to have enjoyed all the activities and privileges that her mother missed out on.  And yet, something is happening.  Her mother is acting odd (even for her) and events are about to take a turn for the worse.

I don’t really want to give anything further away with this because it would be very easy to just spoil the story for others.  Like I said, it’s a short book, it’s very easy to read.  The author has managed to capture the teenage voices of both Barbara and Rowena very well and to make them sound like individuals.

The book took me through a number of stages starting with humour, cringing embarrassment tinged with a little bit of horror through to relief (as a new episode seemed to start) back through to niggling doubt, horror and tension!

It was good and I really enjoyed it.  Tinges of Frankenstein mixed with schoolgirl mean girls, coming of age and obsession and the dark road it can take you down.

This wasn’t the book I was originally going to purchase by Helen Fitzgerald,  I was intending to pick up The Devil’s Staircase but I had to buy a book for kindle and the other book wasn’t available so I bought this one and I’m really pleased that I did.  I will definitely read more of this author’s work.  This was a YA book but there are a number of other stories not aimed at YA to choose from.  So plenty to look forward to.

This book is classed as both sci-fi and horror and as such will be suitable to add to my RIP reading list.  Check out the details here.



6 Responses to “The Duplicate by Helen Fitzgerald”

  1. jessicabookworm

    Sounds like an interesting read, but the idea of cloning really creeps me out!

    • lynnsbooks

      Hi, it was good, well written and quick to read. It’s definitely a creepy topic and fits well into a horror theme.
      Lynn 😀

  2. geekybooksnob

    Hi Lynn, I’m nominating you for the Liebster blog award. Happy writing friend!

    • lynnsbooks

      Hello, thanks very much for that nomination. I’ll sort out my post and answers in the week 😀
      Lynn 😀

  3. "Auntie"

    Sounds interesting…


  4. TBM

    This one sounds intriguing. I’ve never heard of it or the author. I’m glad you enjoyed it and it sounds like a great plane read.

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