Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Joint Review: Cartwheel by Jennifer Dubois

Author: Jennifer Dubois
Publisher: Random House
Date of publication: Septmebr 2013

When Lily Hayes arrives in Buenos Aires for her semester abroad, she is enchanted by everything she encounters: the colorful buildings, the street food, the handsome, elusive man next door. Her studious roommate Katy is a bit of a bore, but Lily didn’t come to Argentina to hang out with other Americans.

Five weeks later, Katy is found brutally murdered in their shared home, and Lily is the prime suspect. But who is Lily Hayes? It depends on who’s asking. As the case takes shape—revealing deceptions, secrets, and suspicious DNA—Lily appears alternately sinister and guileless through the eyes of those around her: the media, her family, the man who loves her and the man who seeks her conviction. With mordant wit and keen emotional insight, Cartwheel offers a prismatic investigation of the ways we decide what to see—and to believe—in one another and ourselves.

I really wanted to like this book much more than I did.  It started off really well.  I was pulled into the story and wanted to know what really happened to Katy.  But, as the book progressed, I started to get bored.  I think the book was too long and not much happens during a lot of it.  

The only character I really liked was Lily.  I felt really bad for her.  She is definitely a product of her upbringing.  Not enough discipline and being too sheltered from the real world make her come across as rude, naive and thoughtless.  She really isn't like that, but she doesn't know how to portray herself any other way.  Unfortunately this works against her.

I understand what the author was trying to do with the book.  It wasn't a rehashing of the Amanda Knox story, it was inspired by it.  Her afterward explains it all.  But for me, I don't think the book did what she was hoping it would.  I felt like I was reading another version of the Amanda Knox story and trial. I think what would have made me like the book more would have been to find out what really happened to Katy.  We never do find out.  This being fiction, I wanted some resolution and the truth.  This is another book in which I felt let down because I invested to much time in it and got no payout in the end.

I'm like Kari, I felt let down by the ending of this book.  The ending was the only reason I stuck with this book and it was such a letdown.  I found the Amanda Knox story somewhat interesting and wanted to get the author's interpretation of what happened and I don't think the reader ever actually gets that.  I kept waiting for the real story, and it never came.  I could have just read the Amanda Knox news clippings instead of this book and it would have taken less time.   This book just wasn't my favorite.  I think the author would have done better to either have done a true crime book of the Amanda Knox story or have gone further away from the Knox story, maybe focus on the Lily's cartwheel  and personality but in the context of another criminal investigation...maybe that makes since.

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