Customer Reviews for

Testimony: A Novel

Average Rating 3.5
( 270 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(54)

4 Star

(73)

3 Star

(64)

2 Star

(51)

1 Star

(28)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

MUST READ

i never read an anita schreve before but because of this book - i want to read more of her.

this book was amazing in so many ways. it was a slow read for the first 80 pages but after that, i couldn't put it down. the characters are amazing and could be the pers...
i never read an anita schreve before but because of this book - i want to read more of her.

this book was amazing in so many ways. it was a slow read for the first 80 pages but after that, i couldn't put it down. the characters are amazing and could be the person who sat next to you in college or high school. it's real. the story is given up front and then goes backward which is beautiful. it tells you the end result right away and then starts to tell you what happened before, during and after the end result.

a must read!

posted by DaniHall on November 5, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

avid reader, anita shreve fan

I have read everything that Shreve has written to date. I looked forward to this book. However, I was very disappointed. The characters were weak, and too predictable. Her storyline just didn't have the impact I would have thought that this storyline would have had. By ...
I have read everything that Shreve has written to date. I looked forward to this book. However, I was very disappointed. The characters were weak, and too predictable. Her storyline just didn't have the impact I would have thought that this storyline would have had. By using each character to tell the story I think it left the plot weak. The book was too predictable. This is not one of her best works. Very disappointed!

posted by loverofbooks27 on November 11, 2008

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  • Posted November 11, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    avid reader, anita shreve fan

    I have read everything that Shreve has written to date. I looked forward to this book. However, I was very disappointed. The characters were weak, and too predictable. Her storyline just didn't have the impact I would have thought that this storyline would have had. By using each character to tell the story I think it left the plot weak. The book was too predictable. This is not one of her best works. Very disappointed!

    9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Not Bad

    This book was an enjoyable read. The story was very intriguing and suspenseful. The thing that really bothered me about this book was how it was written. Shreve chooses to go back and forth between about 20 different characters which gets really annoying because half of the characters are extremely insignificant to the story.

    8 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 5, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    MUST READ

    i never read an anita schreve before but because of this book - i want to read more of her.<BR/><BR/>this book was amazing in so many ways. it was a slow read for the first 80 pages but after that, i couldn't put it down. the characters are amazing and could be the person who sat next to you in college or high school. it's real. the story is given up front and then goes backward which is beautiful. it tells you the end result right away and then starts to tell you what happened before, during and after the end result.<BR/><BR/>a must read!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 28, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Good Book-Kept me up reading

    Ms. Shreve's sensitive story telling about a sexual incident that takes place in a private school and how it affects several families is a wonderful book. This could have been a very difficult topic to write about but Ms. Shreve carried it off very well. Told from the various views of the people involved, as a reader you get everyone's opinion, which keeps you wanting to read page after page. The characters are well developed.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 12, 2009

    Good, but not good enough

    This was also my least Shreve book. It was very Jodi Picoult'ish in the way it's told - each person is a chapter - but not as effectively as Picoult. Even though it's a potential wake-up call for teenagers who might read this I don't feel that's what was intended as Shreve doesn't usually write for teenage boys. Thus, I don't feel they would read this. As for parents of teenage boys - I think they are already aware of these types of situations (I have 15 & 18 year olds and have talked with them about this kind of thing for the last several years). The story was good, the plot good, too many characters with not all of them developed enough - especially that of Mike's wife, in my opinion. If the story had been a bit longer, more involved with some of the characters and their relationships with each other it would have been a much better read. To me, this was more of a rough draft - still requiring work, but good start!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Good idea, good writing, but poorly structured.

    I have loved Anita Shreve ever since I read Fortune's Rocks. The idea behind this book intrigued me, and I enjoyed it to about half way at which point it got difficult to remember who each character was. As the title suggests, each chapter is written as a testimony of a person who was somehow involved in the incident at this prestigious school. This makes it hard to really get into any of the characters fully. And you are introduced to a new character with a new perspective every few chapters. Also the book goes back and forth on the timeline, and sometimes it's hard to piece the parts together. I found myself asking did this happen before that did? It was a "novel" idea of writing a book (pun unintended), but it got annoying after a while.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 29, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    This is a well-written, thought provoking story . . . .

    I have long appreciated Anita Shreve's writing style and her ability to portray sensitive subject matters in an understandable way. The story is told in alternating chapters by the different characters. Even though I understand why it was done this way, there were a couple of times I had difficulty discerning whether we were in the past or present tense in the chapter being read. With that said, even though parts of this story were painful to read, I was touched by it and brought to tears in certain parts. The suprise element at the ending was interesting and possibly meant to be somewhat redeeming in nature for the students involved in the incident. I always look forward to the next Anita Shreve book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 25, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I couldn't put it down. I had to find out what happened next.

    When I started this book, I thought it would be just another sensationalism on a rape case, but it was not at all. The perspective of each character told in turn, brought forth the story in such a way that i just couldn't put it down. And, when I finished the book, I had such a tightness in my chest from the emotional trip, that I had to go listen to some crazy music just to alleviate the mood.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Not what I expected

    I was really eager to start this book and when I finally got it, I found that I just couldn't finish it. It was hard to get in to and when I thought it would pick up, it just didn't. I felt like the story wasn't going anywhere and that I was never making any progress. I didn't feel the build-up to the turning point in the book. I didn't mind reading from different points-of-view, but felt like I was circling the story. Had to put this one down and move on to something else....

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2009

    Uncanny Similarity

    Did anyone else read The Headmaster's Dilemma by Louis Auchenclaus? His novel took place at a New England boarding school, Averhill Academy. Shreve's is Avery Academy, also in New Elgland. Averhill's headmaster, Mike. Avery's is Michael. Coincidence?

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 10, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Should Be Required Reading for High School Teachers and Students

    The key to The Testimony is how one's actions can have a domino effect on others. In a very timely story (read current newspapers about teen sexting), Shreve details the lives of many people effected by the actions of just four students. The bad behaviors of these four leave a permanent and irreparable mark on the lives impacted. The story takes place in a private high school setting in New England but could translate to any school, anytown, USA. I recommend the book highly and have passed it to my daughter, a high school teacher, as recommended reading for her advanced students and colleagues. Anita Shreve's writing is wonderful as usual, her characters rich and believable.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 18, 2009

    FRAUD

    This story is based almost entirely on true events. Passing this book off as fiction is a horrifying act of fraud. Anita is simply profiting from an actual event that ruined many lives and had a profoundly tragic impact on the community in which it took place. This comes from someone who was present in that community when the "tape" event took place. Shreve should be ashamed.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2009

    Weak, not original, too many characters

    This book was an extreme diapointment. Too many characters that were<BR/>not important to the plot and simply confuses the reader.<BR/>I found myself having to look back to see who the specific character was,<BR/>that was very annoying.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 14, 2008

    Placing blame...

    Anita Shreve<BR/>ISBN: 9780316059862<BR/>Little, Brown & Co., 2008<BR/>Reviewed by Debra Gaynor for ReviewYourBook.com, 11/08<BR/>4 Stars<BR/>Placing blame¿<BR/>The cassette looked small, innocent, and harmless; it was anything but. The cassette ended up on the desk of the headmaster of the Avery Academy, a prestigious New England boarding school. Scandal rocks the town. Someone had taped several male students from the Academy having sex with a young girl. <BR/>The story is told from several points of view. My perception of an event will be different from another¿s perception. The truth lies somewhere in between. You come to know each character and their nuances. Not all the characters are likable, in fact they all seemed to have the attitude ¿it was someone else¿s fault¿ or ¿why me¿ and ¿poor little me.¿ Sadly, this plot could have been ripped from the headlines. <BR/>Each chapter is short and to the point. Testimony is a fast and easy read. Anita Shreve examines the reaction of a town, parents, and students to scandal. This book will leave you thinking and questioning your own belief system. At first appearance, the plot is superficial. Then, as you begin to read you realize this is a deep story. There is more depth than what I first thought. The plot is complex and multifaceted. Hidden deep under the original event were the true stories; the readers have to ferret out the facts. There are consequences to all decisions, actions, and events. Readers will not want to miss this gripping drama.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2013

    Love Anita Shreeve

    Hadn't had the opportunity to read a Shreeve novel for quite some time. This one didn't disappoint. Deals with current and relative subject matter that makes you think of things from many different perspectives. She has strong voice and characterization. You feel like you really know these people. Great read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2012

    Terrible

    This book was one of the worst books I have ever read. Don't waste your time. The plot is disjointed and extremely hard to follow. I kept waiting for it to get better but it didn't. It was like an endless root canal!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 27, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Searingly emotional

    Intense emotions; some scenes you will never forget.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2010

    Sad and disturbing

    I generally love to read Anita Shreve novels for their thought-provoking insights into the human character. This book is written in an interesting format, in which each character (major and minor) takes turns giving their side of the situation, but the story is so sad and disturbing and depressing that I read fast to get to the end, rather than savoring her writing as I usually do. I felt at the end as if the insights offered weren't worth the reading of the book, and overall it was just sort of morbid. My favorite novel of hers is 'the last time they met' which I would recommend over this one if you're new to reading Shreve.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2009

    Definitely a disappointment

    I usually like when authors switch character's point of view, however in Testimony, there were so many shifts that it was hard to connect with any of the characters. I found myself just skimming through the chapters because I had no vested interest in any of them. I realize that the story was intended to show how a single incident can affect so many people's lives, however, there were just too many to become really into the plot. It was very disappointing.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2009

    Testimony

    I have to be honest, as much as this book bored me, I was quite interested in the end. The last eighty pages or so, I couldn't stop reading, which was quite unusual, because a day before, I wouldn't even pick the book up--it was so boring. And I didn't appreciate the constant time flips and flops. I mean, unless you're into that sort of thing or you're the type of person who's good at deciphering what year the book's in at any particular point within it, I should tell you now, that it is definitely quite the brain stretcher. Some of it's in 2006, some in 2008 or 2007. I don't even know. But anyway. I have to say, the characters were great; they each had an amazingly distinct voice. It was as if Shreve gathered up completely different people to write for every character. I was absolutely in awe when I read all of the characters and realized that ONE woman wrote each of these characters. I mean, Shreve proved to me how versatile she is. She can write from the perspective of a insolent teenaged boy to the perspective of a vapid fourteen-year-old girl to the perspective of a scholarly private school headmaster, without any strings attached to one another. They all have their own voice, and I think that's what I liked the most about this book. The plot was alright. There was way too much lag in the middle of the book and the foreshadowing in the beginning of the book kind of ruined it--notwithstanding, the end was great. I would recommend this book to someone with a lot of time on their hands, because I definitely can't say it was a book that was for a one-day reader. They'd be bored out of their minds. It takes a while, I guess, to let it soak in.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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