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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Review - Anita Shreve's TESTIMONY



A video surfaces in a conservative school of a sexual orgy of a kind involving an underage girl and three boys with one other boy videotaping the whole scene. How it evolves from that point is the whole story of Testimony.

Told by all parties to the story - even those on the periphery - it brings the cause and effect theory very close to the entire community. How one action like the ripples on a pond just keep spreading and spreading till the entire pond is affected. Told from the first person angle it is very upclose and personal - each person outlines and gives his story and the part he played or what he saw overall during the entire time the story and the case was enacted.

Who is to blame for the fiasco. As the boys were all of age were they responsible for their actions. The fourteen year old girl described as a "vixen" and who on tape looked a very willing participant was she to blame on account of her age. Did her cries of rape and being drugged or made drunk sound true after four days. Her interviews seemed also to indicate that for her it seemed a fairy story where she was the main character and she spun it to her advantage when it suited her. How the lives of so many people were destroyed - one commits suicide, two very clever boys destined for very high things all lost in an instant. Parents marriages broke up as they could not take the stress of the case, friendships lost not just amongst the youngsters but even amongst the older folk.

The story was fascinating. The subject is of course commonplace and to take this subject and make it into this intriguing story is the cleverness of Shreve. You couldnt put this down once you started reading this book.

A book of just 305 pages a 4 out of 5 for this one.

11 comments:

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I liked this one a lot; thanks for the great review, now I want to read it again.

sylvie said...

i am so happy to have found your blog! as a fellow bookworm, i am always on the hunt for new reads but am weary of most reviews...i am excited to dive into this one...
thank you for dropping by my blog!
xo,
sylvie of silver lining

Marce said...

I really enjoyed this one and loved the multiple voices.

Great review, I must read more by her.

Kathleen said...

This has been on my "to be read" list for awhile now. Your review certainly makes me want to read it even more urgently!

Mary Jo from TrustYourStyle said...

Wow Rashemon meets a parental nightmare. Very cool idea!

xo Mary Jo

Marie said...

i'm glad you liked it. i love your comparison with rashomon! the incident this was based on took place in my town so i've been avoiding reading the book- maybe htat should change!

S. Krishna said...

I thought this book was fascinating as well. Great review.

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

I couldn't help but think "this would make a great movie!" as I read TESTIMONY. Agree completely with your thoughts on the massive ripple effects of that one night.

Anna said...

Glad to see you liked this one. It wasn't my favorite Shreve novel, but she did a great job juggling the multiple viewpoints.

Julie Anne Lindsey said...

These all look fabulous! What a great mailbox! Enjoy!

Just Mom said...

This one was very good - I really felt bad for so many of the characters involved. In the age of video an indiscretion that woudl have been simply regretful twenty years ago now can destroy a community.