Friday, August 7, 2009

120 - Life Sentences; Laura Lippman



In Life Sentences, by Laura Lippman, Cassandra Fallows is a writer of two successful memoirs. In one memoir she blames her father for her problems, and in the other, she points fingers at her lovers and husbands.

After her third book is a bomb, she decides to write fiction. Her idea is part inspiration, and part true story, and it takes Cassandra back to her grade school days, growing up in racially charged Baltimore. A former grade school classmate Calliope Jenkins was accused of murdering her infant son. Instead of answering questions about the incident, she chose to remain silent, and spent seven years in prison as a result.

Cassandra tries to reconnect with three former grade school classmates to compare notes on what each person recalls about Calliope Jenkins. Cassandra is surprised when her former friends do not welcome her with open arms, but instead show resentment, and begin questioning her about how she had portrayed them in her earlier memoir.

Cassandra learns that not only can memory be deceiving, but one person's version of events can totally contradict someone else. In the process, Cassandra must reexamine her own past and her own memories.

This review is based on the audio book (unabridged) which was read by Linda Emond. The reader was great, but the story seemed too bogged down in details, and a little short on mystery. A good enough story, but not a great one.

RATING - 3/5; COMPLETED - 8/7/09; Library Book

10 comments:

  1. Great review. This is the first I've heard of this book. It sounds interesting but I'm not a big fan of too many details that just bring down the story. If I get the chance, I might still read it though.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Interesting story. The main character comes across as quite self centred, by her actions - is that what she seemed like to you? Does she change by the end of the book?

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  3. For some reason I've decided to give this author a pass for right now. Thanks for the honest thoughts on this!!

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  4. It really did not seem like it should be classified as a mystery/thriller! But I enjoyed it nonetheless.

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  5. I kept waiting for the story to "happen". It felt like one big prologue to me. This was the first Lippman book for me and I'm not too sure I would try another.

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  6. I've got the written version of this one. I'm sorry to see that it gets too bogged down with details - that can make my eyes glaze over.

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  7. I felt similarly about this, good not great. I think if a reader is expecting this to be a straight mystery, they're going to be disappointed.

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  8. I think this book sounds like something I would like. I have often wondered how people react when they are portrayed a negatively in memoirs, and I think it's interesting that this book lets you in on that, among the other topics.

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  9. I love Laura Lippman's Tess Monaghan series, but her stand alone novels just don't seem to work for me. :(

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  10. I've seen mixed reviews on this one...I still want to read Lippman but think I will start elsewhere.

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