The Short Review: A fun, feminist character study disguised as a slow burn thriller; it'll have you chewing your nails to the quick at 2 AM, just to figure out what the heck is going on.
The Long Review: Here's the dilemma: I'm a huge Megan Abbott fan, which means I could be biased when it comes to this review, or it means I could be too harsh. Whichever one, I'm not too concerned about because if you're reading this, you want my biased opinion over some other reviewers biased opinion. The truth is, while this wasn't my favorite of Megan Abbott's, it still ranks as one of the best thrillers I've read this year.
The writing in this book is stellar. I read an interview about how Megan Abbott's writing process has changed since she began writing for television (Abbott and fellow crime writer Lisa Lutz are on the writer's team for The Deuce -HBO-) and she said that she's become more efficient and knows more what gets in the way. It shows. While I loved the lush descriptions of her books The End of Everything and Dare Me, Give Me Your Hand has such great pacing because the writing has been pared down.
The characters in this book are just as complex and interesting as in any of Abbott's previous novels. One of the women, Dr. Severin, refers to the narrator--Kit--as 'Clever girl' several times throughout the novel, and while I sometimes roll my eyes at repetitive language (it can feel forced when new writers are trying to provide such echoes) it was haunting when used here. The way those two, along with Diane- a girl Kit was friends with in high school -are entangled is so interesting and unexpected. I loved it. There was never a moment when I said, why would this character do that because it felt so in character.
There are not too many big twists in Megan Abbott's books, and you can pretty much tell where they're going, but it's the small hiccups that catch you off guard and keep you on your toes while reading. I won't give any spoilers, but just know that you'll see it coming, but still stand slack-jawed as you watch it play out.
So, that's my spoiler free, please go read this and let's discuss it review. Now, if you read the book, keep reading. I have some spoiler-filled thoughts I want to know if you guys thought too haha
1, what the heck, Kit?! Don't make out with your co-worker. That's not appropriate. Also, when did he get a fiance, because I honestly didn't see it coming.
2, I knew there was going to be some connection between Stevie Shoes or whatever and Diane. I did not expect it to be her stepdad, but OMG! That little twist was fun and I like how it played out.
3, Was I the only one who felt like Diane got the short end of the stick in this story? I mean, I get it. She's a beauty queen who got away with killing her father...but can we just pay for our own crimes and not someone else's? Or maybe I just feel too bad for people sometimes, I don't know. It was just so heartbreaking at the end of it.
4, That ending...I love when a book takes you back before the main drama but after the past drama, because you know things are about to get messy but the characters don't. I just enjoy that.
Anyway, thanks for reading and I hope you have a great weekend!! If you read Give Me Your Hand, leave a comment with your thoughts so we can discuss!!