Reconstructing Amelia

Written by Kimberly McCreight

Smore by Myles Osborne

About Kate:

  • Single mother, who had Amelia by accident.
  • She considered having an abortion, but didn't go through with it.
  • Works at Stone, Thayer as a Junior Partner, and is very committed to her work.
  • Has never had a serious relationship except for one, Seth, who turned out to be gay after she finished dating him.
  • Amelia and Kate have dinner every Friday, and a movie night every Sunday.
  • Feels responsibility over Amelia's death.
  • Has a strained relationship with her own mother and father.
  • Loves her daughter very much.
  • Develops as a mother more completely after her daughter dies.

Reconstructing Amelia's Mother, Kate

Reconstructing Amelia written by Kimberly McCreight, published in 2013 set in modern day times at a private school in Brooklyn. The book depicts a mother named Kate who had a daughter named Amelia who died. After receiving a phone call one day from Amelia's school, she discovers that Amelia allegedly jumped and killed herself from the roof. Kate is depicted in the novel as the loving, workaholic mother, best friend to her daughter but who is not around enough and may not know as much about her daughter as she thought.

Kate giving birth to Amelia was an accident, she was a single mom Amelia's entire life, and would not tell Amelia the truth about her father. Kate’s mother wanted her to terminate her pregnancy and she wrestled with this for a long time. Even after she had Amelia she regretted not terminating her for the first few weeks. After she bounded over this hurtle, it was nothing but pure love for Amelia. “Of course, at twenty-four years old, love is the one thing I’ve never come close to succeeding at. So maybe I can’t promise to love this baby right. But I can promise to try” (10% in the kindle version).

The book is written with different forms of media and viewpoint. It will jump from Amelia’s texts and Facebook posts, to a blog written by someone from school, to Kate’s thoughts while she is processing everything that has happened. Kate has received an anonymous text saying that Amelia did not jump, and this sends her on a rampage of figuring out what happened to Amelia, concluding that in fact she did not jump.

Amelia describes Kate in a very loving way. She says, “She wasn’t home a lot, but the time we had together was awesome, and when my mom wasn’t there, I knew she wished she was. We fought sometimes about stupid stuff, but I always knew she loved me. Really knew it” (9% in the kindle version). This is the mother that Kate is. Kate works constantly, she is a junior partner at a firm and is good at what she does, she values her work and genuinely loves it. But she also loves her only daughter, Amelia. When Amelia passed away, everything was brought into perspective and Kate was absolutely devastated and no longer cared about her work in comparison to Amelia.

“Kate thought often about killing herself, too. About how to do it—her many tranquilizers; where—in her bed; and when—immediately. Thinking she needed to pay for her catastrophic failings by living with her guilt was the only real reason she hadn’t gone through with it” (11% in the kindle version). Pure devastation was how Kate responded to her daughter being dead. Wanting so badly to know what happened, Kate could no longer function until she was sure of the truth.

This truth brought to light more about Kate's daughter than she ever could have known. Reading through her texts, emails, blog posts, etc., she was able to see that she may not have known her daughter as well as she had thought. The pinnacle of this discovery was after the detective found pictures of Amelia on a blog wearing nothing but a thong and laced bra. Kate was sick to her stomach and finally felt as though maybe Amelia did kill herself. She blamed herself, believing she was a bad mother. Kate finds out that Amelia was a lesbian, she is upset not by this finding, but by the fact that Amelia had never told her she was in love with a girl. This view of acceptance shows the transcending love that Kate had for her daughter.

Kate at the beginning of the book is seen as the workaholic mother, but very loving. The scene when Amelia dies, Kate is actually at a business meeting that she really does not want to leave. Kate by the end of the book is seen as a determined and grief stricken mother who wants to bring the truth to light about her daughter. She is strong and continues to be a mother even when Amelia is gone by continuously fighting for her daughter who could no longer do so for herself.

We discover that Amelia was accidentally pushed off the roof by her best friend who was angry with her. Kate also discovers that Amelia’s dad was not even who she thought he was, finding out it had been her boss all along. A mix of an extremely loving and protective mom, and a workaholic who knows nothing about her daughter is exactly who Kate is. Though this was true, after Amelia was gone, Kate was provided the opportunity to know Amelia more and develop fully as a mother.

Reconstructing Amelia: Book Trailer


McCreight, Kimberly. Reconstructing Amelia: A Novel. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.