27 January 2011

book review: testimony

I have been something of a reading machine lately, haven't I? I'm not really sure what has gotten into me (although my doctor did mention that I would enjoy reading for pleasure much more now that I am on medicine for my ADHD & I guess he was right!)

Anyway... after talking to my mom about my newfound interest in Anita Shreve... she checked out several of her books at the library and passed them along to me when she finished them. The first book she passed along to me was The Testimony.  I started reading this book during my lunch break on Monday & finished it last night. THREE DAYS-- and I finished this book. The book was phenomenal and my favorite written by Shreve so far... and I highly recommend it to any & all! I cannot say enough good things about this book!!

Instead of my usual copy and paste post of Amazon's synopsis, I decided to write a brief synopsis of the book in my own words in the form of a review. I promise not to give away any important details and I will not reveal anything that you wouldn't read in any other synopsis.

The story takes place at a boarding school in Vermont. The school consists of both local students who reside in the small town, as well as students who are from various parts of the country and live in dormitory housing. The story begins when the headmaster of the school is given a videotape which reveals a scandolous sex act that took place among several of his students in a dormitory on campus. Left facing many difficult decisions, the headmaster must now decide how to handle the information he has just witnessed occur before his eyes. The tape is sure to bring nothing but destruction to everyone involved and even to a few who are not... but the acts on the tape are undeniable and cannot be ignored.

This book throws you into the story from the very first sentence. The events that occured the night the sex tape was made are descriptively written and at times... hard to swallow. It is much like a train wreck... the words make you cringe somewhat but you can't stop reading them either.

The story is told from various characters who were affected by the scandal and their individual thoughts about the events that occurred that day. The writing by Shreve is significantly different for each character. It adds to the story because it gives you the impression that you are actually reading the characters story.

I have come to realize that this is Shreve's style of writing in all of her books. I remember mentioning that the writing in The Last Time They Met was very difficult to get through at times because she used a ridiculous amount of large words and unnecessary detail. I now believe the reason for this is simply because the main characters were writers. She writes in a way that reflects the characters personalities... which adds a nice touch... now that I know the reasoning behind it.  

Testimony was obviously an easy read considering I read it in three days. I just couldn't put it down! The only negative thing I can say about Anita Shreve & her books that I've already read is that they have no difinitive ending. I don't feel any closure when I turn the last page... and I like to have closure. I believe it is her very intention to end the stories open to interpretation.... but, I prefer one given for me. Testimony is no different in that I would have liked to know where a few of the characters ended up and what drove them to their actions throughout the book. Other than that, I loved it!!

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