Friday, November 21, 2008

Testimony by Anita Shreve

While I used to read Anita Shreve religiously, I have been disappointed in her last couple of titles. On a whim, I picked up her latest, Testimony, and I am so glad I did.

Set at a prestigious private high school in an idyllic Vermont town, the reader is instantly immersed in the story, as it begins with Mike, the headmaster of the school viewing a scandalous videotape - one that features 3 of the school's basketball stars in compromising positions with a 14 year old girl. Of the three boys, J.Dot, Rob and Silas, Mike is most affected at Silas's involvement. Silas is a well-behaved and respectful student who Mike helped get into the school, so this seems completely out of character. The remainder of the book deals with the circumstances leading up to the events captured on tape as well as the repercussions for everyone even remotely involved.

Told through multiple point of views, including the actual participants of the events, their parents, the local reporter who broke the story, and the headmaster himself, this is a sensitively told story, and although contributions come from several different voices, I never found it confusing or difficult to follow. It ends heartbreakingly, as all the circumstances surrounding the events come to light.

The beginning of the book was difficult to read - it's a little graphic sexually, but once I made it through that I couldn't put this book down. The way the story unwinds throughout the course of the book kind of reminded me of Shreve's The Last Time We Met, which I also highly recommend.

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