Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Review: You Should Have Known Better by Jean Hanff Korelitz

It took quite a long time for me to finish this novel and the first thing I thought was ok?!!? That was it? You Should Have Known is the newest novel by Jean Hanff Korelitz about a marriage counselor Grace Reinhart Sachs and her rude awakening with the truth of her "picture-perfect" world. This novel is about her journey to reinvent herself and salvage any nugget of her life in the before.

Grace is soon to be releasing a novel named You Should Have Known which is an advice guide to women, urging them not to ignore the signs that caution the man they are with is not someone they should spend their lives with. She actually stands on her soapbox and looks down on the women who come to her office as she considers her own life. A caring husband who's a pediatrician, an intelligent son Henry, and a comfortable lifestyle that many in New York could only dream about. In other words, she's smug, uptight, almost unlikeable.

Then there's a death. A woman we really don't know, or have any idea how she is connected to this family is killed in an horrific manner. To top it off, Jonathan, Grace's husband disappears. With officer's knocking at the door, Grace finally takes a hard, long look in the mirror and sees she knows nothing or what she should have known.

Initially, I was on board with this novel. Korelitz had me eating out of her hand. I had to know more about the fall of this woman I never really came to like. After reading page after page of elusive, mysterious, and suggestive verbiage that just didn't give anything, I realized I didn't care anymore. Who cares who, where, or what the hell type of psychopath Jonathan is?

Amidst some well written passages is a storyline I felt couldn't stand up to my expectations anymore. The idea that it's suspenseful failed, but I hung in there. Some sort of sinister reveal was hoped for, but it never comes to fruition. I just wish... I would have known that after I'd spend more than a week on this novel, I would have feel so empty. Then again I did ignore all the signs. Shame on me.

All is not lost with this novel. I feel that maybe if I'd expected it to be more chick-litish as opposed to a true nail-biter I could have appreciated more. And there are moments when I could see that Jean Hanff Korelitz is actually a pretty good writer. It's just buried under a lot of nothing. My final grade is that You Should Have Known Better should have been better. 

Copy Provided by Grand Central Publishing via Goodreads Giveaway

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