Review: You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz

Posted March 22, 2014 by Charlotte in Reviews / 0 Comments

You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz
Review: You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff KorelitzYou Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz
Published by Grand Central Publishing on March 18, 2014
Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 439
Format: E-Arc
Source: Netgalley
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Grace Reinhart Sachs is living the only life she ever wanted for herself, devoted to her husband, a pediatric oncologist at a major cancer hospital, their young son Henry, and the patients she sees in her therapy practice. Grace is also the author of You Should Have Known, a book in which she castigates women for not valuing their intuition and calls upon them to examine their first impressions of men for signs of serious trouble later on. But weeks before the book is published, a chasm opens in her own life: a violent death, a missing husband, and, in the place of a man Grace thought she knew, only a chain of terrible revelations. Left behind in the wake of a spreading and very public disast and horrified by the ways in which she has failed to heed her own advice, Grace must dismantle one life and create another for her child and herself.

The first quarter of You Should Have Known was disappointing (and yes that is according to the percentage tally on the corner of my kindle). I’m not sure what kept me going, other than the fact that it felt that the story hadn’t really began.

We start with Grace moaning. Moaning how she is not in the elite rich of society while admitting she is rich.  After-all she sends her son to a $38,000 school and owns a birkin bag (but only the one – other mums have a lot more…). Grace also moans about the time she was snubbed by a parent (not invited to have coffee in the kitchen) and instead told the doorman would hail her a taxi… because that’s a nasty thing for someone to do…

As well as the moaning the plot follows Grace through a detailed day. A committee meeting for an auction to raise money for the school. Her patients and their problems. And finally the press coverage of her upcoming book.

These are all details that could have been really been cut down as I felt that it prolonged the story. Yet they were necessary for us to know Grace’s character.

The second half of the book was much better. Perhaps it was the writing, perhaps it was because the story felt like it was progressing rather than meandering along the same themes. How would Grace act? Would Jonathan be caught? What will be the effect on Grace’s family? And can everything ever go back to normal?

I was sold on this book on the comparison to Gillian Flynn. And perhaps it was this high expectation that left me disappointed. Instead I  found once I had fully gotten into the book (which wasn’t until the second half) that the story was a thought-provoking psychology. Perhaps if I read You Should Have Known for a second time my rating would be higher.

How well we do know the people around us?  And should we have known?

 

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