I tried to forgive this book its many faults. I can be a nit-picky reader at times. When Annie describes watching Detroit fade away as she flies out of DTW and I thought, "I've flown in and out of that airport dozens of times heading to or coming from the west and have never seen the city from the airplane," I try to forget that. And when Annie is surprised to read "The Yellow Wallpaper" in the feminist literature section of her lit survey as though it is not the
starter short story for reading feminist literature, I tried to forget that too. And again when the story really heavy-hands it with the yellow wallpaper parallel. But...The Ruining
had a shaky start, but it did have an interesting middle. By chapter thirteen, I had figured out what turned out to be the big reveal, but was still interested in Libby, the mom that Annie nannies for. She obviously is trying to control Annie, but to what end? If she is making her go crazy, how exactly is that? I thought she must be drugging her in someway. After Annie is poisoned by the nutmeg in the banana bread, I think the story goes off the deep end (PUN INTENDED). Annie has moments of lucidity as she spirals toward the crazy house, but none of it makes sense or is even emotionally believable. We are told that she works long hours, has to skip class, doesn't get enough sleep, but also that Libby is great and is the only person who cares about Annie. None of this is actually shown in the story's action. And how is Libby controlling Annie's phone? That part is never explained.
I also found the love interest compelling through the first half of the book, but after that he seems to exist for a kind deus ex machina. He will save you Annie! He doesn't have to move after all! He's rich and you can live with him! He loves you! He will talk to the shrink and the shrink will suddenly become not-a-villain! And he can computer hack away all your plot problems!
"'You're forgetting that I'm an expert when it comes to computers,' Owen said. 'I can hack into almost any system.'"