Muddied Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Muddied

Experiencing a traumatic event during childhood continues to weigh heavily on Greta Mills's conscience and negatively affects every aspect of her life. Greta is a 28-year-old waitress who is haunted by memories of being sexually assaulted when she was a kid. Greta was 11 years old when Brody, an older boy in the neighborhood, tried to rape her while she was playing on a frozen pond. Greta stabbed Brody with a stick and was able to escape from his clutches. As Brody attempted to stand upright on the pond, the ice cracked underneath him. Greta didn't attempt to help him as he fell into the cold water and drowned.
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Greta didn't tell anyone what happened that day. Since Brody's body wasn't found, the mystery surrounding his disappearance was never solved. As an adult, Greta feels guilty about not trying to save Brody. She has low self-esteem, desperately wants to leave her hometown, and drinks alcohol excessively to numb her pain. Greta is also involved with Brody's brother, West.

The relationship between Greta and West mostly consists of drunken hook-ups. He is verbally and physically abusive. He often humiliates her in public. Greta knows that the relationship is toxic, but has a difficult time ending it.

In the meantime she develops a crush on Lance, a loan officer at the local bank. Lance is smart, confident, and kind. The two of them get to know each other when she applies for a loan to purchase a car. He is genuinely interested in Greta and treats her well, but Greta doesn't believe she deserves someone like him.

Greta decides that she can no longer live with the pain and anxiety that has plagued her for years. She attempts to commit suicide by drinking vodka and swallowing several Vicodin pills. Lance finds Greta passed out at her home and wakes her up. He tells her that she's lucky to be alive, but Greta doesn't feel lucky. Greta is humiliated and wants Lance to leave, but he refuses to go until she signs a piece of paper stating that she will call him if she ever thinks about killing herself again.

When Greta returns to work, she finds out that human remains were found in the pond where Brody died. She wonders if West has found out as well. Greta knows it is terrible timing, but she is determined to break up with West later that night.

Greta goes to West's house and sees that he is crying. It was confirmed that the human remains belonged to his brother, Brody. Greta finally lets West know what happened on the fateful day Brody died. She tells West that Brody tried to force himself on her and when she pushed him away, the ice broke and he fell into the water. West is filled with rage and violently attacks Greta until she loses consciousness.

When Greta wakes up, she realizes she is in a hospital. A police officer visits her to get a statement about the events that occurred at West's house. Greta admits that West attacked her because she told him that she killed Brody. Greta knew that eventually this day would come and she must finally deal with the consequences of her actions - whatever they may be.
Best part of story, including ending: There were several scenes in the book that seemed superfluous because they didn't raise the emotional stakes for the protagonist and they didn't move the plot forward. It probably would have been better if the author wrote this as a short story instead of a full novel.

Best scene in story: When Greta woke up in the hospital and told the police officer how Brody died, she was no longer a prisoner of silence. Admitting what happened was the first step she needed to take in order to heal form the emotional wounds that have been hurting her for years.

Opinion about the main character: I didn't feel a connection to the main character, Greta. I wasn't invested enough to really care about how her life turned out. The story was written from Greta's perspective, but the author didn't give her character much emotional depth. The lack of insight given to Greta's character also prevented me from caring about her relationships with other people in the book.

The review of this Book prepared by Pamela Parker a Level 3 Eurasian Jay scholar

Chapter Analysis of Muddied

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   depressed Time/era of story    -   2000+ (Present Day) Internal struggle/realization?    -   Yes Struggle over    -   actions leading to death of someone    -   rape Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   blue collar Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American)


Small town?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Amount of dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

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Meg Mathisen Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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