Pages (Mass Market Paperback): 352 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; Reprint edition
Released: Aug 31, 2010
Quick Thoughts: When I read the blurb of this novel and read the reviews of other bloggers who read this, I knew that this was a book that I had to read. I've never read anything by Anita Shreve before, but I thought this would be a good place to start and so, I read the book.
Review: Testimony starts off with a bang. Mike, the headmaster in Avery Academy receives a tape. In the tape, students are drinking and having sex. Four of the students, all men, are 18 years of age or older. The only female on the tape is 14, and therefore underage.
Once the tape is out in the open, Rob, J-dot, and Silas are left to face the consequences of what they've done. The boys, their parents, Mike, and Sienna, the girl in the video, and others share their testimonies about what happened and the fall out.
Things will never be the same again for anyone.
Final Thoughts: There are some good points in the book and some bad. I enjoyed the writing style and how each chapter was the point of view of a different character. The chapters, for the most part, are written differently for each person, for example, Ellen's chapters are written in second person, Sienna is written in first, Mike's chapters are written in third person. This usually throws off the flow for me, but here it worked nicely.
There are some problems with having a chapter per character though, sometimes they sound similar and I forget who I'm reading about, but the biggest problem is that you never get to know them as well as you want to.
I do wish that Sienna was written differently. I don't know if the author wanted us to dislike her or not, but for someone who lied, you would want to see some sort of conflicted thoughts going through her. Instead you have her wondering if she can go on Oprah or write a book about this. You did get the sense that there was more to her, but due to the chapter changes you do feel like you are missing something.
I felt this way about Silas as well. His chapters are letters he wrote to his girlfriend and even though I know I should sympathize with him, I want him to go and talk to someone instead of acting out. He's still just a kid, even at 18, but I wanted him to do something.
I think that the entire situation was blown out of proportion, the sex was consensual and while she is 14, this is a school and seniors are going to date and have sex with freshmen. It happens everywhere. But something like this can happen and once the media comes in you can't control the situation any longer and it becomes a big deal.
Testimony does do a good job in showing how a simple mistake can have devastating consequences. I do wish that the reveal of the fourth boy was handled better, but other than that I did enjoy the book.
Grade: 7.5 out of 10
Read the shorter review at 5 Line Reviews