Testimony by Anita Shreve

images-3Summary:  The book opens with the headmaster of a private school in Vermont viewing  a sex tape.  What is even more disturbing than that previous statement is that the video “stars” three high school male students and one very young (14) female student.  The boys are 17, 18 and 19, statuatory rape in the state of Vermont.  What follows is a look into how this act affects all the members of this one little town in Vermont.

The book alternates points of view, from the students involved in the act to the parents to the reporters to the faculty at Avery Academy. Together all these members of this community tell the story, bit by bit and discuss its aftermath.

Review:  I have said it before and I will say it again, I have a hard time with books that alternate narrators.  Testimony just reinforced this fact.  I found the story really interesting and compelling, but I had hard time losing myself in the book. There seemed to be too many different perspectives for me to fully connect with any character.  However, what I did find really interesting was how depending on the character, Shreve used a different point of view.  The high school students were almost all told in first person, some of the adults involved were third person and one of the parents used the second person, you.

Shreve brings up a lot of issues in this novel, most importantly, why?  What would drive someone to do such an act?  The story is emotional, disturbing and leaves you feeling a little shaken at the end.  It will leave you thinking, that’s for sure.

All in all, I give Testimony a rating of :  3.

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4 thoughts on “Testimony by Anita Shreve

  1. Great review. I actually enjoy reading books told from different view points, especially if the author is able to give each character a distintive voice. I think this topic would very difficult for me to read. As for Shreve, I just haven’t really liked any of her books as much as I did the first one of hers that I read – The Pilot’s Wife. I liked that book so much and the others I’ve read of hers were just disappointing in comparison.

  2. I am addicted to books with multiple narrators, when it’s done well. Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible is one that stands out to me; she was really able to capture the differences in her characters’ voices. But I’m a little leary of “issue” books. Did you think this was dealt with well?

  3. I read this book too, and while I did enjoy it, I found the sheer number of point of view too many. I do like a book with multiple narrators, but this seemed excessive. I was most disturbed in the book by the way things were handled, and how poorly it was done right from the beginning.
    I enjoyed it,but I too left a bit disturbed.
    Pam led me to your blog………I’m looking forward to reading more reviews.

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