Monday, October 4, 2010

I'd Know You Anywhere

by Laura Lippman

I inter-library-loaned this book from another library, so I felt the need to read it fast, especially since it is a new book and I could only keep it for two weeks.

I had seen Lippman's interview with Craig Ferguson on the Late Late Show and was intrigued. She talked about taking a personality test and that it showed she has sociopathic tendencies, but she said, since she puts all of those thoughts into her books she thinks she's ok. Naturally I was thinking this would be some seriously twisted crime novel.

Lippman does offer creepy insight into the mind of the rapist/killer, especially when it comes to his way of thinking and the justifications for his actions. But, on this whole, this book just didn't push it far enough for me. If I'm reading a suspense-type novel about a rapist contacting his one victim who got away (or whom he let go, rather), I want it to be seriously disturbing. By the way Ferguson and Lippman spoke about her book, I thought it was going to be far more twisted. Unfortunately, Lippman's novel falls short for me.

She spends too much time on the exposition. I don't care that much about Eliza's life now, or then as a child. If anything, Lippman should have worked bits of that among the story of the creep and when he kidnapped Elizabeth. There was too much time devoted to, frankly, boring details that I could have gone without - about Eliza, her sister Vonnie (weird name, by the way, then again so is 'Iso'), Mrs. Tackett, etc. I was more than halfway through the book and dying to hear more about Walt Bowman and Barbara Lafortuny. Spend your efforts on the good stuff! I know you're trying to get me to connect emotionally to the victim/s and care about their well-being, I understand that as a reader right off the bat, you don't need to spend so much time spelling it out for me, I get it, now get to the psychopath. It wasn't until about 260 pages in that I really became invested and was eager to know what was going to happen, and ultimately I was just disappointed.

Also, I don't understand the point of dividing the book into parts and naming them after popular 80's songs. It seemed arbitrary and without purpose. It makes me wonder if her editor said anything. In her notes she mentioned that she watched a lot of 1985 MTV music videos while researching/writing the book; that's not enough of a reason to include them.

In the end, I gave a little nod to Eliza and though, 'Good for you.' Beyond that, I really don't care about any characters in this book. Mrs. Tackett was a total bitch, so kind of was Barbara, so was Walter, blah blah blah. At least Eliza changes because of her ordeal. But really, this book leaves me feeling luke-warm.

Though this book did make me think of "The Life of David Gale" (a truly excellent movie). They're somewhat related theme-wise. However I much prefer "The Life of David Gale" to I'd Know You Anywhere.

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