Friday, June 17, 2011

Review- I'd Know You Anywhere

I have an entire shelf of "airport" books, i.e. books I bought at the airport when I finished the books I had with me. I have discovered some great authors this way, like Libba Bray and Kira Salak. So, I had great expectations for Laura Lippman's I'd Know You Anywhere (Atlanta Airport),  based on some stellar quotes on the cover. Maybe the expectations cause my disappointment in this book to be greater than it deserved.

Premise: Eliza and her family have just moved back into the vicinity of her childhood home, a home from which she was kidnapped, raped, and held captive for 6 weeks by Walter Bowman. Eliza is the only victim he left alive, and now he has found a way to communicate with her. Through an intermediary, he convinces Eliza to not only talk to him on the phone, but also to come and visit him.

I bought it because, as I read the back, I thought "for real? A victim going to have a friendly chat with her rapist?" but according to the New York TImes Book Review, Lippman convinces us that this is possible and logical. And, Laura Lippman is a really good writer. Her voice is engaging, and she has a wonderful penchant for simple descriptions that communicate volumes.  I want to read more of her stuff, despite not liking this.

It pains me to say negative things about other people's work, knowing how sensitive I am about my own. But, the disappointment I felt at the end of this book was overwhelming. I feeel arrogant for saying this, but I disagree with the New York Times. I do not believe that Lippman has created a scenario in which I believe a rape victim will go chat with their rapist (that is a hard sell to me as a woman). And the "terrible secret she's kept burried inside" that the back cover copy promised me was neither terrible, nor really a secret. The characterization is flimsy (particularly with Eliza), and the real strength of the book-- the flashbacks telling of her captivity-- are too few and far between to save it for me.

I'm sorry to Ms. Lippman, and hope you will not find me arrogant for so blatantly arguing with the most respected book review publication in the world, but I just don't buy it. I wanted to love this book. I expected intense psychological prose that sucked me in and made me believe. What I got was a book that forced me to wear a constantly dubious facial expression the whole  time I read it.

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