Monday, October 21, 2013

Review: Cartwheel by Jennifer DuBois

Sure Cartwheel will be compared to the true events in the life and trial of Amanda Knox. Jennifer DuBois stated thatCartwheel is inspired by that true crime. After finishingCartwheel I decided to familiaize myself with that news story since I'd never really followed it or watched the movies based on Amanda Knox. I wasn't constantly comparing the book to the real events which is definitely a plus. Because I was seeing this with fresh eyes so to speak, I could appreciate that Jennifer DuBois' debut novel Cartwheel means so much more.

Lily Hayes is studying abroad in Beunos Aires when she is accused of killing her housemate Katy Kellers. There's no murder weapon to suggest Lily is guilty of the crime besides cleverly placed red herrings. Red herrings such as her impassive appearance following the murder, bloodstained lips, and an irrational cartwheel done while in police holding. A few other instances are thrown in about the novel in order to sway the minds of readers one way or the other. This is essentially the point. How can we know for sure if she did it or not?

Jennifer DuBois challenges us to put aside what we want to believe and what we should believe to accept the truth that no one will ever actually know what happened that dreadful night unless we were there. What or how should a killer act? How or should an innocent person behave? Is there a diffrence? Lily is either so cold that she's able to do a cartwheel (bizarre), but not calculated enough to know that she should have asked for a lawyer once it was obvious she was under suspicion. 

By way of richly drawn characters, and a plot that's ripped from the headlines, Jennifer DuBois takes readers on an exploration into the many mysteries in life imcluding human behavior, the complexities fo truth, and what we choose to accept is real in the shades of grey. We watch each character struggle with their belief in Lily's innocence or her guilt. I was left unable to decide which side of the fence I fell on. 

In ending, Cartwheel is a must-read by a promising new voice in the literary world. I challenge any reader to choose a side and then end this novel not wanting more closure. Closure which is so ambiguous to true life.  ***

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