What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan is December 2015 release from HarperCollins that tells the story of a child's disappearance, the way the mother becomes a public scapegoat when she does a poor job of appealing to the public for help finding her son, and how a detective develops insomnia and other issues after he thinks he's made a terrible mistake.
Rather than using a single narrative, author Gilly Macmillan tells the story of 8-year-old Ben's disappearance through mother Rachel Jenner's viewpoint, along with the transcripts of the detective's sessions with a psychiatrist and articles and comments on social media. She does a pretty terrific job of showing how easily a person can be tried by the jury of public opinion and how appearances are not always what they seem.
Having said that, What She Knew was just a so-so read for me and I think that is almost entirely down to timing. The story didn't grab me until I reached about page 150 (out of nearly 500 pages) so I should have probably put it aside. I also admit to being so worried that the child was going to turn up dead that I kept putting off the reading. It does not bother me at all to flip to the end of a book if I'm worried it's not going to turn out the way I'm hoping; I have no idea why I didn't bother just doing that (apart from the fact that I had a migraine most of the week), but eventually I got over myself and the pace picked up. I didn't love the ending but I won't tell you why because it's a spoiler.
Recommended but not a favorite, probably due to bad timing - In spite of the fact that I never did fall in love with What She Knew, I can tell you that there were moments that I really appreciated the depth of emotion portrayed by the author and I thought the use of social media and the way people make judgments without knowing all the facts is timely. I've talked to several friends who found the book a very fast-paced read so I want to reiterate the fact that I think it was just bad timing for me.
Total unrelated note: I completely forgot to put links to last week's reads in my Monday Malarkey post, yesterday. The post has been updated and republished to fix that error.
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I know exactly what you mean about bad timing.ReplyDelete
Yep, and I know better than to force my way through a book because I've found many times in the past that just trying again later works. I guess now and then we just need a reminder. :)Delete
I think what I remember best from this book was indeed the 'trial by social media' that the mother was subjected to. And I do think that this happens a lot. I read this one last year as I ordered from the UK - with the title BURNT PAPER SKY. I have no idea of the significance of that title. Or can't remember if there was anything. I agree that sometimes, it's just not the right time.ReplyDelete
I think that's what I loved best about the book because it's fairly new thing but it's definitely realistic. People have been pretty much crucified by public opinion without ever getting the chance to explain themselves. Interesting, the British title. Can't imagine where that came from. What She Knew makes decent sense, I think. Yeah, sometimes it's best just to set a book aside and return later, although tomorrow's review will show that even that doesn't work all the time.Delete
Well this one really intrigues me. Was it a slow start or a mood thing that kept you from falling in love with it? Should I try it, I wonder?ReplyDelete
I think it was entirely down to mood. It wasn't the book that started out slow so much as the fact that it wasn't the right time for the book so that first 150 pages took me about 4 or 5 days to get through. Then, I finished it up pretty quickly. It's worth trying, Jenny. I know quite a few people who enjoyed it and one of my friends mentioned reading it in one day.Delete
That is too bad you didn't like this more! I hate when mood affects that more than the book.ReplyDelete
Yeah, it's kind of nutty that I never managed to talk myself into just waiting -- not sure why I've done that, lately. Tomorrow's review is another book I decided to go ahead and push myself through. I think it's a good book and I did eventually whip through the majority of it, after nearly a week of dragging (including a couple days that I didn't read a single word of anything). It's not the book's fault; it's my fault for not saving it for another time. I think another time I might actually have really enjoyed it.Delete