Friday, April 22, 2016

Everything I Never Told You.

I had a very long flight on Monday.  Four hours on the first leg, then a four hour wait that included a three hour delay, and then eight plus hours more in a cramped seat on American Airlines. The bad news was that I was wasted when I arrived. The good news was that I was able to read Everything I Never Told You in one day.

I rarely have done this before and maybe never have.  I have read many of the Parker, Spenser novels and they are a breeze, but I don’t believe I ever went from start to finish in one rotation. 

It was an interesting experience finishing it in one day in that I could, in the course of a few hours, have diverse reactions to it. And I did.  There were times when I was very annoyed, and still am uncomfortable with messages that may have been intended and, even if not intended, could be extracted by readers.  By the time I finished though, I felt better about the novel and was glad I read it. 

Some bare bones below that I do not think will spoil the read if you decide to get the novel.

The teenage daughter in a family of five is dead. This happens on page one, so I am giving nothing away with this information.  The family is understandably distraught.  Her brother thinks a neighbor is involved, the mother doesn’t know about the neighbor but is certain that the daughter was murdered, the cops are not so sure, the father seems to side with the cops, another insightful sister just wants to keep the peace.  

What I did not like about the book is that some of the negative experiences that upset the family seemed to be presented as justifications for the children's behavior. Nobody lives a perfect life and I was concerned with the depiction of the children as tortured because of issues that, while painful, we all have to deal with. 

When I got to the end I understood what I think is the author’s intent. Emotional blows—even those that we should be able to withstand—can sometimes derail us.  The title refers to many things that the family does not share, not only the husband does not share with the wife, and the wife with the husband, but things that the now deceased daughter never shared with the brother, the brother with the police, the suspected neighbor to anyone including the brother. 

It takes the entire book (not that long--just short of 300 pages) to find out how/why the daughter perishes.  I think the description is one of the more effective elements of the book. When it is revealed you can understand how and why this horrible event evolved as it did.

I recommend the book. It is well written and a good story.  I just would warn anyone who takes away from the novel that it is okay to behave irresponsibly and whine because you took a shot to the gut, that we all have our painful emotional experiences and yet have the opportunity to move forward in a positive direction. 

One last point. The neighbor’s revelation and the intimation at the end about what transpires in the future (the latter is peripheral to the story) does not ring true to me given what we are told about the neighbor throughout the novel. 

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