Thursday, July 30, 2009

Testimony by Anita Shreve

Why did this book have to be so sad? It was really heartbreaking. Well it turns out that in Anita Shreve’s world, if you commit adultery, very bad things happen to you. Testimony is not the only book where this is the case. The Pilot’s Wife and The Weight of Water are two others where death, or the death of one’s child, are deemed suitable punishments by Ms. Shreve.

This book is also about teenage stupidity, a subject that is a little too familiar to me right now. After a late night of reading I found myself reminding my 18-year-old “don’t go with any underage girls.” He looked at me like I had lost my mind. “Mom, I’m a camp counselor. They would fire me.” Yes, and you might die too, if Anita Shreve was in charge.

If you can believe it though, I actually liked this book. Shreve builds tension slowly and with masterful control, as I’ve mentioned in other posts. In this story, a video of a sexual encounter among students at a posh boarding school is posted on the Internet. Who are the students? How did they end up in this situation? How does the headmaster handle it? The parents? The police? Shreve uses multiple points of view to reveal the various characters and what they are thinking. By including the voices of even very small players (the boy from town who provided the liquor) she adds layers of nuance to her story.

(Book 28, 2009)


Serena said...

I really enjoyed this book, and you are right that adulterers better watch themselves if Shreve is in charge.

Gayle said...

Agreed - great book. Shreve is a master of storytelling. And yes, very sad and depressing. What a waste that one night changed all these lives so terribly.

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