Testimony by Anita Shreve
Finished: Oct. 16, 2009
First Published: Oct. 21, 2008
Genre: realistic fiction
It was a small cassette, not much bigger than the palm of his hand, and when Mike thought about the terrible license and risk exhibited on the tape, as well as its resultant destructive power, it was as though the two-by-three plastic package had been radioactive.
Reason for Reading: I really wanted to read this book right from when it first came out but it just kept getting pushed to the bottom of the pile. The book was picked for my October Random Reading Challenge. I received a review copy from Hachette Book Group.
Summary: Avery is a small New England town and Avery Academy, the private high school, is the only prestigious thing about it. That is until the headmaster receives a sex tape of several students in a drunken orgy which someone has filmed. While that may not exactly be shocking these days, especially if it had come from the public school, what is shocking is those involved. One girl is only fourteen. The boys are top A students and athletes with promising futures. One boy is a day student, on a scholarship, one of "them" (a town boy), from an upstanding farm family. What follows is a retelling of the events leading up to and after that dreadful event told through the voices of those involved and many others.
Comments: This was a wonderful book! I really enjoyed the read. Each chapter the voice changes from character to character, going from major players to minor characters such as teachers on staff to room mates. This is a brilliant way to keep what is actually a fairly simple plot going into many different directions. There are secrets that unfold that make the simple incident more than it seems initially. Also viewing the incident from each major character's point of view turns what at first appears to be an easy-to-place-blame incident into one much more profound showing one the other side, multiple other sides and the moral issues involved when one is so quick to make rash judgement on others. A very intriguing story!
The characters are all developed well, at least the ones the author meant to. I became attached to a couple of the characters but knew they were doomed from the beginning. Perhaps that is why I became attached to them? There are a couple of major reveals in the book. One I had figured out from the very beginning so was rather let down that I had actually uncovered it as I think it spoilt the effect for me. If I could have been surprised/shocked over the event my rating would have been higher. All in all, though, I really enjoyed the book. Now she has a new book out, A Change in Altitude, (Sept. 09) which looks very good to me as well. I think I may have found another favourite author.
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