You Should Have Known

You Should Have Known

3.1 45
by Jean Hanff Korelitz

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Grace Reinhart Sachs is living the only life she ever wanted for herself. Devoted to her husband, a pediatric oncologist at a major cancer hospital, their young son Henry, and the patients she sees in her therapy practice, her days are full of familiar things: she lives in the very New York apartment in which she was raised, and sends Henry to the school she…  See more details below


Grace Reinhart Sachs is living the only life she ever wanted for herself. Devoted to her husband, a pediatric oncologist at a major cancer hospital, their young son Henry, and the patients she sees in her therapy practice, her days are full of familiar things: she lives in the very New York apartment in which she was raised, and sends Henry to the school she herself once attended. Dismayed by the ways in which women delude themselves, Grace is also the author of a book You Should Have Known, in which she cautions women to really hear what men are trying to tell them. But weeks before the book is published a chasm opens in her own life: a violent death, a missing husband, and, in the place of a man Grace thought she knew, only an ongoing chain of terrible revelations. Left behind in the wake of a spreading and very public disaster, and horrified by the ways in which she has failed to heed her own advice, Grace must dismantle one life and create another for her child and herself.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times - Janet Maslin
…smart and devious…Ms. Korelitz is able to glide smoothly from a watchful, occasional sinister comedy of New York manners into a much more alarming type of story.
The New York Times Book Review - Susan Dominus
Dramatic irony isn't the only pleasure of You Should Have Known; Grace's husband's pathology is erratic enough for behavior that holds genuine surprise. But the real suspense here lies in wondering when Grace will catch up to the reader. When and how will she come to know what she should have known and at some level maybe already did? The momentum of the novel, not to mention the writing, takes off just as Grace starts stumbling her way, arms outstretched, toward a glimpse of her husband's true nature.
Publishers Weekly
★ 08/26/2013
This excellent literary mystery by the author of 2009’s Admission unfolds with authentic detail in a rarified contemporary Manhattan. Therapist Grace Reinhart Sachs is about to embark on a publicity blitz to promote her buzzed-about book on why relationships fail, You Should Have Known. In the meantime, she cares for her 12-year-old son, Henry, who attends the same private school she went to as a child. Grace also treasures her loving relationship with her longtime husband Jonathan, a pediatric cancer doctor at a prestigious hospital. The novel’s first third offers readers an authoritative glimpse into the busy-but-leisurely lives of private-school moms. Grace does her best to get along with the school’s vapid and catty fundraising committee. She eventually learns that one of the mothers outside her social strata, Malaga Alves, was found murdered in her apartment by her young son. Grace, already tense and sad from these events, becomes more and more anxious as Jonathan, at a medical conference in the Midwest, proves unreachable over several days. The author deftly places the reader in Grace’s shoes by exploring her isolation, unease, and contempt for the rumor mill. The plot borders on hyperbole when it comes to upending what we know about one character, but that doesn’t take much away from this intriguing and beautiful book. Agent: Suzanne Gluck, WME Entertainment. (Mar. 2014)
From the Publisher
"This excellent literary mystery [unfolds] with authentic detail in a rarified contemporary Manhattan. . . intriguing and beautiful."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"An old-fashioned novelist in the best sense, Korelitz takes a subject of consuming contemporary interest and uses it to frame a portrait of a wonderfully complex character confronting the choices she's made and the damage she's done, mostly to herself...Sensitively excavating Portia's personal history, Korelitz stirs compassion for this caring, self-doubting woman. She populates the book with three-dimensional characters who spotlight the obstacles thrown in Portia's path and the helping hands she's been unable to grasp...Well-written, well-plotted and extremely satisfying, "Admission" marks another step forward for a writer whose accomplishments grow more impressive with each book." (Praise for Admission)—Los Angeles Times

"...Jean Hanff Korelitz's compulsively readable new novel...At 449 pages, it's a doorstop-worthy tome. But unlike the painful process of waiting for that acceptance (or, God forbid, rejection) letter, Admission seldom drags...And Admission is that rare thing in a novel: both juicy and literary, a genuinely smart read with a human, beating heart." (Praise for Admission)—Entertainment Weekly

"That Korelitz has previously produced a thriller or two is evident in the sublimely paced plotting of this sharply observed and written novel...[Korelitz] knows her stuff. Better yet, she knows how to tell a story." (Praise for Admission)—The Atlantic

"Intriguing...Yes, there's a crime, but it's the human mystery that keeps us turning the pages."—Alice Hoffman, author of The Marriage of Opposites

Kirkus Reviews
Jason Bourne meets Martha Stewart in another of Korelitz's woman-of-a-certain-age-in-crisis dramas. The author's 2009 novel, Admission, is now a film starring Tina Fey. Well, not quite Jason Bourne. But Grace Reinhart Sachs is almost as resourceful. She lives the perfect life--or so she thinks--with a rich, famous doctor for a husband and a satisfying if hurried professional life as a therapist, pop psychologist and now author of a book called, yes, You Should Have Known, a book that's "apparently about to snag the Zeitgeist." With said snagging comes her ascent to public personhood, or, as Grace puts it in psychologese, "[t]hus completing my public infantilization." Her book urges women to take charge and exercise due diligence with regard to potential life mates, though in her own case, she had "absolutely just known, the first time she had lain eyes on Jonathan Sachs, that she would marry and love him for the rest of her life." Mistake. Karma being what it is, it only stands to reason that the perfection of her life--the great kid, happy marriage, stunningly appointed city apartment and country home--will fall apart at the mere hint of scandal. And so it does, so that when Grace discovers that he's not everything that he's cracked up to be--emphasis on cracked up--she swings into action to uncover every dirty bit of laundry that's hidden in that oak-paneled walk-in closet. Korelitz writes with clarity and an unusual sense of completeness; she doesn't overdescribe, but neither does she let much of anything go by without observing it, which slows an already deliberately paced narrative. She is also an ascended master of the psychologically fraught situation, of which Grace experiences many as she stumbles on but then rises above the wreckage of her life. A smart, leisurely study of midlife angst.
Library Journal
A successful therapist with her new book, You Should Have Known, due to be published in weeks, Grace is living a life to envy: she's married to an oncologist who loves her, has a son who adores her, and lives in a great apartment in Manhattan. Her son, Henry, attends an exclusive private school, which is in the midst of an annual fundraiser. Grace attends a planning meeting with several moms she already knows plus a new member, Malaga. Imagine the moms' shock when a few days after the meeting, Malaga is found brutally murdered in her apartment. The police question everyone on the planning committee but return to talk to Grace several times. And thus begins the end of what Grace thought was a normal life. VERDICT Korelitz, the author of Admission, has crafted her second novel in the vein of Gone Girl or The Silent Wife; unfortunately, the suspense is marred by the overwritten prose. The book tends to be very New York-centric, so readers unfamiliar with the vagaries of life in Manhattan may find little to enjoy; still, fans of Korelitz's first novel may be curious enough to give this a shot. [See Prepub Alert, 9/30/13.]—Robin Nesbitt, Columbus Metropolitan Lib., OH

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Product Details

Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.50(d)

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You Should Have Known 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 43 reviews.
Literary_Marie More than 1 year ago
Grace Sachs is a successful therapist, mother to a young son and wife to a pediatric oncologist at a major cancer hospital. Grace is also the author of You Should Have Known, a book about women valuing their intuition and first impressions. It all hits the fan when the Grace's own marriage is in headlines. A bloody murder, a missing husband and unbelievable revelations rock Grace's world. She must heed her own advice and piece together what she knows and does not know. I am the type of reader that reads every word. I don't want to skip pages or miss any reactions. But this novel? Seriously encouraged me to skim. Of the 383 pages, 183 pages are unnecessary. There is so much background information and detail that gets in the way of what comes next, what really matters in the plot. While the formula of psychological thriller plus not knowing who your spouse really is had all the makings of a good novel, it was a struggle to finish reading. Literary Marie of Precision Reviews
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was one of the best books I've read in a while. The author did a great job of creating the thoughts and feelings of the main character, Grace. It was almost painful to keep reading at times but yet you wanted to know what was going on. I am going to look for more books by Ms. Korelitz.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Too wordy and tedious, I couldn't finish it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I didn't like this book...I kept reading it and thought it would get better, but it never did.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In a word...wordy. Could have been good with about half the pages. Found Grace to be an out of touch self absorbed snob and very unlikeable. Only warmed up to her a little at the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wanted to give it zero stars, but website wouldn't let me!! Wow, it has been years since I had to abandon a book, but this one was one of the worst books I have ever not finished. The grammar with all the parentheses was just too much!! I can do "wordy" when the text is relevant!! I cannot believe this was recommended by anyone!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was the book that was chosen by my book club. I thought it was pretty predictable. It was also annoying that you never hear anything from the husband which would have given this story more dimension. Not my cup of tea, but if you like fictional stories, then maybe you will enjoy this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Could have been a really good book but is definately marred by really long irrelevant descriptions.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although I found this book hard to put down, I feeel that the plot was bogged down with too many rambling details
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Says it all. Lois
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm 63 pages in to this book & wondering what this book is about.  So far, no discernable plot has materialized.  Had to re-read the overview on the B&N website to remember why I thought this was a book I wanted to read.  So...63 pages in, you will still be wondering where this book is going. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As many have mentioned, this book needs editing. I had to stop reading it less than halfway thru. The amount of reading someone has to go through this book is not worth knowing the outcome of the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
too wordy and boring, could not connect to characters
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting storyline, could have been told in a shorter book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MoniqueD More than 1 year ago
Grace Reinhart Sachs is a therapist, and she has written a yet-to-be-published controversial book about relationships between men and women. Her book states basically that women should trust their instincts better, and recognise the signs that will lead to trouble later on in the relationship.  YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN is a very well written book, very literate. Grace, her husband Jonathan, and their 12-year old son Henry live in Manhattan. The author relates in detail their daily life and that of their wealthy and often superficial acquaintances. Grace is not really an active participant in her own life; life happens around her, she mostly goes through the motions although she’s an excellent therapist. Then a shocking and totally unexpected event shakes Grace’s world, and she must re-evaluate everything she believed in. Indeed, they should have known. YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN is an introspective look at a professional woman’s life and how she reacts to an earth shattering event.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
And ps puper is the daughter of Hades ;) ok bye now
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book came highly recommended to me, however I didn't even finish it because it was so slow, boring and Grace was just annoying with the constant inner monologue issues and concern. Would not recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago