I’d Know You Anywhere

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I’d Know You Anywhere
by Laura Lippman

Eliza Benedict lives with her husband and two kids, Iso and Albie, in the suburbs. Her peaceful life is interrupted when she’s contacted by the man who kidnapped her when she was 15-years-old. Walter, who now sits on death row, claims to want forgiveness and Eliza’s life is shaken up as her past refuses to stay buried.

I didn’t love Eliza’s character. She’s too passive, too disconnected from reality in some ways. I did like seeing her reactions change as the book progressed, it was just hard for me to relate to her.

One thing I liked about the book is the thought-provoking line it walks. There are moments when you are left wondering about the actual nature of Eliza and Walter’s relationship, but it doesn’t leave things open-ended. It gives the reader a definite answer and to me that was necessary in this case.

There are two other characters that narrate pieces of the story. One is Barbara LaFortuny, a woman, haunted by her own demons, who thinks Walter is a changed man. The other is Trudy Tackett, the mother of one of Walter’s other victims. I felt like we only had glimpses of the story from their point of view, but they did add another dimension.

I didn’t find this out until I finished the book, but apparently it’s inspired by, or at least very similar to, the real case of Caril Ann Fugate. That certainly added an extra layer of creepiness to the whole book.

On the whole, I really enjoyed this one. It was a fast read that clipped along at a steady pace as it switched back and forth between the present and the past. I wouldn’t call it a thriller, as many reviews have, because it deals more with the psychological impact of the crime than the crime itself, but either way it was interesting, quick read.


Alex (The Sleepless Reader) said...

Did the author want the main character to seem detached or was that something she could have done better?

Sandy Nawrot said...

I've heard that criticism from others as well, about this character. I do really want to read Lippman someday. She has a great track record. I believe I have Life Sentences (?) on my shelves.

Kath said...

Ooh I do like a story inspired by real events - mainly because I'm nosy and want to see inside people's heads. It sounds like an interesting book. If I come across it, I'll give it a whirl :)

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Alexandra - I think it was a bit of both. The story wouldn't have worked if the main character had been strong willed, but at the same time, she certainly could have had more personality. She just felt very hollow, which could have been a way of coping, it was just hard to connect with her.

Sandy - This was my first by this author, but I've heard she has some other great books.

Jenners said...

I listened to this on audio and thought it was pretty effective. I didn't know it was loosely based on a real story. That does make it extra creepy!

mari said...

I read this last year and enjoyed it though not as much as some of Lippman's other works (sorry, I'm really bad at remembering titles...). Interesting that you felt you needed a definite answer about Eliza and Walter's relationship. I felt very much the same way, and it's part of what kept me going. I'm a big Lippman fan, and I believe she's married to one of the creators of HBO's "The Wire." omg, how I loved that show.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Mari - I had no idea she was married to one of The Wire creators. That's awesome! It is a great show.