Sunday, July 25, 2010

Testimony by Anita Shreve

From the Amazon product description: At a New England boarding school, a sex scandal is about to break. Even more shocking than the sexual acts themselves is the fact that they were caught on videotape. A Pandora's box of revelations, the tape triggers a chorus of voices--those of the men, women, teenagers, and parents involved in the scandal--that details the ways in which lives can be derailed or destroyed in one foolish moment.

This was a hard book to read for a couple of reasons. The first has to do with the format of the book. Told in ever changing viewpoints from over a dozen people, it is just difficult to switch gears so frequently. The second reason is the subject matter, there isn't any prettying up the acts that were committed, Shreve only tries at the very end in the last few pages to find some good in the situation, a shred of redemption. The entire book other than those few pages is just watching the relationships in the story go from bad to worse and wondering when the last layer of the story is going to be peeled back so all is revealed and we've hit rock bottom. But the reason most of all that the book was hard to read was how much I aligned myself with the character who was mother to the boy who had potential and threw it all away. It was my worst fears for Tween played out and all the mother's emotions of guilt and love and confusion are things I felt right along with her. She tried to do what she thought was best for her son and he still made the wrong choice with devastating consequences. All the possibilities of the things that could go wrong for Tween keep me in a state of perpetual worry as I try to shield him and the thought is always hanging there, what if my best isn’t good enough? So this book gave me a knot in my stomach as I read it but I kept going, I can't say I had to know the ending because it is one of those books that opens with the "end" and then goes back and reveals the details through recollections but I had to know more. I still would like to know more, I'd like to see how everyone ends up years later. This book, Testimony, is not going on my list of favorite Anita Shreve books but it's not one I am going to forget either so I think that says something!

No comments: