11 September 2009

Testimony by Anita Shreve

Flap Copy: "Enter a world upended by the repercussions of a single impulsive action. At an exclusive New England boarding school, a sex scandal unleashes a storm of shame and recrimination. The men, women, and teenagers affected - among them the headmaster, struggling to contain the scandal before it destroys the school; a well-liked scholarship student and star basketball player, grappling with the consequences of his mistakes; his mother, confronting her own forbidden temptations; and a troubled teenage girl eager to put the past behind her - speak out to relate the events of one fateful night and its aftermath."

What a tragic yet wonderful book about the ways in which several intertwined lives can be derailed, or worse, destroyed, in one thoughtless moment. The narrative is told from several different points of view and travels back and forth through a limited period of time - this tactic might have been confusing from a lesser author, but Shreve kept each voice so clear and distinct that I had no trouble falling seamlessly into the many stories being told.

The idea of teenagers and sex isn't new, nor is it often particularly interesting - here, though, the story was less about sex and more about reason and consequence, about the fine lines between action and reaction. Four students and one night had the power to change the course of history for themselves, their parents and their school at large - a power they never considered nor ever seemed fully to realize throughout the story. Shreve captured the various characters and kept them rich and true to life, and though I had a feeling early on where the story would end, I couldn't put it down until I got there and saw for myself. I highly recommend this book - 5 stars!

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