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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I'd Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman

What's this one about?
Eliza Benedict cherishes her peaceful, ordinary suburban life with her successful husband and children, thirteen-year-old Iso and eight-year-old Albie. But her tranquillity is shattered when she receives a letter from the last person she ever expects—or wants—to hear from: Walter Bowman. There was your photo, in a magazine. Of course, you are older now. Still, I'd know you anywhere.In the summer of 1985, when she was fifteen, Eliza was kidnapped by Walter and held hostage for almost six weeks. He had killed at least one girl and Eliza always suspected he had other victims as well. Now on death row in Virginia for the rape and murder of his final victim, Walter seems to be making a heartfelt act of contrition as his execution nears. Though Eliza wants nothing to do with him, she's never forgotten that Walter was most unpredictable when ignored. Desperate to shelter her children from this undisclosed trauma in her past, she cautiously makes contact with Walter. She's always wondered why Walter let her live, and perhaps now he'll tell her—and share the truth about his other victims. Yet as Walter presses her for more and deeper contact, it becomes clear that he is after something greater than forgiveness. He wants Eliza to remember what really happened that long-ago summer. He wants her to save his life. And Eliza, who has worked hard for her comfortable, cocooned life, will do anything to protect it—even if it means finally facing the events of that horrifying summer and the terrible truth she's kept buried inside.An edgy, utterly gripping tale of psychological manipulation that will leave readers racing to the final page.

What did I think?

'I'd Know You Anywhere' left me nowhere by the end. The synopsis really caught my attention, and I definitely thought it would be a better read than it turned out to be. This is the first book I've read of Laura Lippman's and while she had a great premise 'I'd Know You Anywhere' was poorly executed (no pun intended). 

The story flips between past and present day. The past focusing on Elizabeth's 1985 kidnapping and present day focusing on Eliza's life with her husband and two children. Both stories for me were completely uninteresting. The flashbacks ended up repeating the same things over and over again, and I also found Eliza's family completely lacking characters. Her husband was so far removed from her past he didn't even remember the last name of the victim whom his wifes abductor is sitting on death-row for--really? I found this completely hard to believe. I understand you don't want to be defined by your past but for the husband to be totally oblivious to this detail just seemed so far fetched.

Eliza's family was further rounded out with a reblious teen and a dog loving son both kept in secret from their mother's past. Other than to label Eliza a mother, these characters seemed totally unneccessary. They almost seemed like character filler for me. I wish Lippman would have revealed Eliza's past to her children, I think it could have been an interesting avenue to explore, as well it may have given these characters a little more depth, and ultimately more interesting dialogue and scenes.

As for the climax, well there really wasn't one. I didn't feel the meet between Eliza and her abductor was earth shattering, and nothing was really accomplished with it. Maybe Eliza's character felt she got closure, but as a reader I felt jipped.

How many stars?




[Laura Lippman's Website]

















Published by HarperCollins
ISBN 0061706558 (ISBN13: 9780061706554)
Hardcover: 377 pages

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