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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. Grace is also the author of the forthcoming You Should Have Known, a book in which she castigates women for not valuing their intuition and


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. Grace is also the author of the forthcoming You Should Have Known, a book in which she castigates women for not valuing their intuition and calls upon them to pay attention to their first impressions of men.

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 a 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.

*Includes Reading Group Guide*

Editorial Reviews

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
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
"Ms. Korelitz's book is smart and devious - enough so to bring to mind another work of trickery, one that has "Gone" in its title and does not feature Scarlett O'Hara."—The New York Times

"Tempt the gods with smug self-righteousness and they will deliver a windfall of tragedy, as witness in Jean Hanff Korelitz's rollickingly good literary thriller...Korelitz writes intimately and engagingly about a social strata few are privy to, but the ugliness is very familiar."—Vanity Fair

"This consuming, expertly plotted thriller moves along at a slow burn, building up to shocking revelations about Grace's past and ending with a satisfying twist on her former relationship mantra; 'doubt can be a gift.'"—People

"Korelitz does not disappoint as she chronicles the emotional unraveling of her heroine in this gripping saga...A cut above your average who-is-this-stranger-in-my-marriage-bed novel, "You Should Have Known'' transforms itself at certain moments from a highly effective thriller into a nuanced novel of family, heritage, identity, and nurture."—The Boston Globe

"The thriller we're obsessed with."—Entertainment Weekly

"This excellent literary mystery [unfolds] with authentic detail in a rarified contemporary Manhattan. . . intriguing and beautiful."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"An unputdownably deft vivisection of Manhattan's upper social strata."—Vogue.com

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.

Product Details

Grand Central Publishing
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Hachette Digital, Inc.
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Meet the Author

Jean Hanff Korelitz was born and raised in New York and graduated from Dartmouth College and Clare College, Cambridge. She is the author of one book of poems, THE PROPERTIES OF BREATH, and three previous novels, A JURY OF HER PEERS, THE SABBATHDAY RIVER and THE WHITE ROSE, as well as a novel for children, INTERFERENCE POWDER. She has also published essays in the anthologies MODERN LOVE and BECAUSE I SAID SO, and in the magazines VOGUE, REAL SIMPLE, MORE, NEWSWEEK, ORGANIC STYLE, TRAVEL AND LEISURE (FAMILY) and others. She lives in Princeton, NJ with her husband (Irish poet Paul Muldoon, poetry editor at The New Yorker and Princeton poetry professor) and two children.

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You Should Have Known 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 45 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
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
Too wordy and tedious, I couldn't finish it.
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
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
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
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
Says it all. Lois
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story and I was pleased with the ending.
thereadingchick More than 1 year ago
The author's premise of a woman who writes a book telling women that they have only themselves to blame if their husbands aren't who they thought when they got married made my group not like the character of Grace initially. I know I didn't. As the book goes on, and Grace has become the pupil her book is directed at, instead of the teacher, you start to feel bad for her. I don't want to give any plot points away, but at one point you really wonder how, as a Counselor to others, she missed all of these signs in her own relationship. It was only after she rallies around her son, and her relationship with her father is repaired do I start to believe that she has learned her lesson, and I'm able to embrace her character. I truly believe that this was the author's purpose. Jean Hanff Korelitz put the ring in my nose and led me down this psychological pathway. We, the reader are supposed to hate the protagonist, even though she isn't a horrible person. Bravo, because all of my book club did, and some carried it through to the end of the book. This doesn't mean we hated the book. Far from it, in fact! We were all uncomfortable witnessing the naïveté Grace exhibited, and angry that she wore such big blinders. I was fascinated with the fictional book that Grace was writing. Do we women also put blinders on when we enter a relationship? Are we so happy to have found a man to settle down with, who will accept the faults we see in ourselves, and hope he doesn't see them, and overlook his faults? It made all of us think back to the beginnings of our own relationships. Of course, at our table, none of us disclosed those faults, but we all nodded in agreement that some were deemed not as important. That was a fascinating side note to the book club discussion, which is part of what makes them so fun. The unwinding of the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Grace's husband was exacting in its precision. I recommend this book to those of you who love psychological thrillers. This is a very good one, and the author makes every detail count, so don't skip anything!
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
Author couldn't decide if she was writing a psychological thriller or a meandering meditation on feelings. Feelings won out to the detriment of the plot. Also, although the main character is only supposed to be about 37 or 38, she acts like she's completely ignorant of all technology. What 38 year old doesnt know how turn on a computer? Reads like the author was remembering her own time living in NYC, in an era before the iPhone, which leads to a weird sense of time disphoria. Like the story should have been taking place in the mid eighties. One example is the European violin teacher who came to the US with his wife after "the war"--anyone old enough to do that would now be in their 90s! Not completely outside possibility that he would still be teaching violin, but not very likely either. Also, giving someone a hedge fund job at Bear Sterns. That was one of the first Investment Banks to go down after Lehmann Bros. A quick Google search could have cleared that up. The ending was a complete let down. The main character just skips out of NYC, abandoning her therapy practice in the process, with not a SINGLE consequence! Not one! A long series of happy-happy serendipitous coincidences solves all problems without the main character making any meaningful changes or having a single original thought! Disappointing. The comparisons to "Gone Girl" are hyperbole. Don't be fooled.
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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