The Ghostwriter by Alessandra Torre (Book Summary)

Helena Ross lives alone and is dying of brain cancer. The only person she is in contact with is her agent, Kate, and they are not really close. When she was informed that she only has 3 months left to live, she decided to write a novel on those remaining days. This novel will tell her life’s story, and the truth that she has left hidden ever since her husband died. 

While writing, she realized that her pace was too slow and she was too weak. She may not be able to finish the novel, so she made up her mind to hire a ghostwriter. She coordinate it with Kate, and the ghostwriter she wants is Marka, her ultimate competitor. Marka sends her criticizing emails regularly. Aside from the emails she receives from Marka, she also hates the fact that Marka looks like she is living the perfect life. But no matter how much she hates her, she knows that she will be the best ghostwriter for the novel she plans on writing. 

When Kate and Helena contacted Marka and asked her to meet them, a man showed up in Helena’s doorstep – it turns out that Marka was a man named Mark. She was stunned and didn’t trust him at first, but eventually made him a generous offer, and he said yes. Helena thought that their way of communication will be through email, but Mark planned on staying home with her to write.

During their writing journey, they became friends, although not really the normal kind because it was Mark who was constantly concerned, and Helena was stubborn and was so into finishing the novel. While writing as well, Mark’s cow gave birth and he had to go home, and he brought Helena with her. That was also the time Helena found out that Mark’s wife died of cancer. She also found out that the reason why Mark hates her is because she wrote a letter to his editor criticizing his work, and his editor decided not to publish it, right after he celebrated his family.

Helena wrote outlines so Mark can write it as a novel, but when it got to the part where her husband died, she found it hard to write an outline because she feels like she could not dare confess it. She thought she couldn’t do it, but Mark advised her that she should be the one to write that part of the story down because nobody’s going to write it best than her, and it could serve as a closure.

Here’s what happened: Helena and his husband, Simon was happy before marriage, or during the early days, before they had a daughter. Helena was opposed to having a child, but Simon won her over and they had a daughter named Brittany. She didn’t like her at first because it was a distraction to her writing, but she learned to love her even though there were times that she didn’t do her best as a mother – like locking herself in her office so she could write and ignore Brittany’s cry. Because of her carelessness, Helena’s mother and Simon somehow agreed that she needs medical attention. She tried proving that she is alright and nothing’s wrong with her.

There were normal fights with Simon, and most of it is because of how they are as parents to Brittany (some are from Simon’s extravagant spending). Helena tells the bold truth, while Simon filters his answers. Helena disapproves of his style because she doesn’t want her daughter to be stupid.

The end of their marriage was when Simon died, or when Helena killed him. Helena found the tapes hidden in the media room labeled as old football games. When she played some of the tapes, it turns out to be a video of Simon, having sex with a kid. Helena was disgusted and felt like she should do the right thing. She gathered as much tapes as she can so she can surrender it to the police. While packing the tapes, her mother arrived. She decided to let Brittany go with her mother so she can properly turnover the tapes. That way, it would be safer for Brittany.

When Brittany was gone, Helena lingered in the media room and tried accessing Simon’s computer but while doing that, Simon arrived. He entered the media room and saw what Helena was trying to do. He decied to lock Helena in the basement. Helena feared what Simon might do, but she thought of something before Simon could do anything. She remembered her novel before where a teenage girl tried to kill her mother by pumping nitrogen (i am not sure, i forgot!) . That was what she did. She filled the house with the chemical, enough to kill Simon. After doing that, she looked for ways to get out of the basement. She found a spare key on one of their drawers where they keep all the keys. She went out of the basement and went to her mother to get Brittany. When she reached her house, she wasn’t home, so she waited outside for their arrival. 

When her mother arrived, Brittany was not with her. Her mother said that since Brittany doesn’t have a matching pair of shoes, she decided to drop by and get one. She found Simon at home and he told her that she can leave Brittany with her, and so she did. With that, she ran home, fearful of what could happen to Brittany. But it was too late, when she arrived both her husband and daughter are dead.

When they finished the novel, Helena took a pill (assisted death) and had a painless death. When she died she left a couple of letters to the people she knows. All of her money will go the women Simon victimized before. She started with a journalist whom she shut off everytime because she was asking questions about Simon. She saw her name in the tapes and discovered that she was a victim – so she gave her enough money ($1,000,000) , a copy of the manuscript, and assigned her to look for the other victims. 

Published by

Eva Harmoni

There was one night when the rain poured so hard, and i didn't want it to stop. Weird, because i was afraid and amused by the sound of the rain and thunder. The sound of it made me less alone that night. The next day i woke up to find my collection of journals soaked. I keep it near the window to make sure no one could read it. The writings can still be read but i was devastated by the damage. I wanted it preserved but i don't want it published. Still amused by the rain but afraid of the wrath it could bring to my journals, i created this blog.

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