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Testimony

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3.51 of 5 stars 3.51  ·  rating details  ·  18,736 ratings  ·  2,630 reviews
At a New England boarding school, a sex scandal is about to break. Even more shocking than the sexual acts themselves is the fact that they were caught on videotape.
A Pandora's box of revelations, the tape triggers a chorus of voices--those of the men, women, teenagers, and parents involved in the scandal--that details the ways in which lives can be derailed or destroyed
...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 21st 2008 by Little, Brown and Company (first published 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Carol
I had trouble rating this book; it is definetly a page-turner, so why only two stars? I found the storyline riveting, but the writing style took me many pages to get used to - overly simplistic at times. I also felt that it had too many frivolous descriptions; I found myself skimming to find actions, feelings, and more dialogue. During the first half of the book, I was saying, "I do not like this book at all," but as I read further, I discovered the value of it as a lesson to be learned about ho ...more
Kimberly
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lanette
I made it to page 83 and in the middle of a random paragraph asked myself "Why am I reading this?"

The writing style... flipping between characters and times... is a tad confusing. There are too many people involved, which meant I didn't give a flying leap about any of them. I suppose we're meant to feel sorry for some, but I didn't...

There are too many GREAT books out there waiting for me to read them, so I'm not going to force myself to finish this one.
Daniel Parsons
"...I discover that it is possible to be angry with someone who has died. It is possible to believe that you will die from grief, that somehow your breathing will catch itself up and simply stop. It is possible to believe that you could have stopped the terrible thing that happened at any time, if only you had known. It is possible to wonder how [they]... could have done this to you, could have left you and not said good-bye. It is possible to know... that your life will never be the same again. ...more
Lynn
I wasn't at all sure I was going to finish reading this book when I first started it. The idea of a graphic sex scandal involving a very young teen did not appeal to me. I hate reading about that stuff. I ordered it just because it was a new Anita Shreve, not even really paying attention or caring about the premise. This author always manages to draw me in with her writing, however, and this book was no exception. Within the first few chapters I was hooked and stayed that way. The graphic stuff ...more
Charise
I had high hopes for such a compelling plot, but I was ultimately disappointed. The structure was appealing: chapters are the voices of alternating characters and members of the community touched by this prestigious high school sex scandal. This structure also created a building momentum, and I was waiting and waiting for bigger revelations, but the twists and turns were obvious, and in the places where the author had room to startle the reader, she just seemed to fall flat.
Darlene
I've read a few of Anita Shreve's novels and liked them. Testimony was no different. It's a very powerful story that grabs your attention from the beginning and keeps you hooked to the end.


The beginning of the novel introduces us to a devastating videotape that involves two boys 18 years old, one boy 19 years old and a very young girl, aged 14. The tape shows them involved in very explicit sexual acts. They are all very clearly drunk. This tape ends up falling into the headmaster's hands and he
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Ronni
I was lucky enough to get a galley of this book, and I zipped right through it. It's likely inspired by the Duke Lacrosse scandal, as it revolves around a similar scandal at an upscale New Hampshire prep school. The chapters are told from the various points of view of the people involved, from the basketball players, parents, alleged victim, friends, and school administrators. The story moves very quickly and definitely makes the point that every story has multiple interpretations and how the ac ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
This one's a definite sleep stealer. I stayed up until 3:30 a.m. to finish it, then couldn't get to sleep for thinking about it! It's quite a departure from Shreve's usual style and content, so give it a try even if you think you don't care for her work.
The story revolves around some drunken sexual antics in a boarding school dorm room that are caught on video tape.
Shreve uses a large number of voices or points of view, which has the potential to be cumbersome. I thought she handled it very def
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Britany
What a page-turner! This whole story is told from multiple perspectives and each chapter is a different voice in this story. I loved how the chapters represented different emotions and told the story one step at a time using multiple voices. It was a great way to develop the characters. I was attached to many of them and deeply rooting for them, all the while knowing that it wasn't going to wrap up with a happy ending.

Avery Academy is a private school in the outskirts of Vermont, gearing studen
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Melissa
Definitely just an ok read. It was quick. Margins were wide and lots of space between the lines. Some reviewer of a different book saw this as a sign that a book of little substance was somehow being made to appear larger. Surely applies to this book. The chapter format was annoying; too many changes from first person to narrator to whatever. The entire premise was bogus: two years after a some kids at a private school are caught up in a sex scandal, a researcher contacts various individuals who ...more
Miriam
I am a sucker for a boarding school book. And this one has it all. Scandal, scandal, scandal. Great for a plane or a beach or anyone who can't resist snowy high school drama.
Laurel-Rain
In a small Vermont village, most-known for its private boarding school for the privileged children of the wealthy, and some who are there on scholarships, a scandal is brewing.

We see the story unveiled, piece by piece, in the voices of the participants. First we learn of a tape, discovered by Mike Bordwin, the headmaster of Avery Academy. It is a sex tape and it reveals the activities of some of the best and brightest – along with the unfortunate appearance on the tape of a fourteen-year-old gir
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☮Karen
Nov 28, 2010 ☮Karen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to ☮Karen by: Cindy A
Shelves: favorites
The first chapter is pretty graphic but you have to get through it to understand the rest of the book. The chapters are told from the perspective of different people involved in a sex scandal at a prep school in Vermont. You learn how this scandal affects people in different ways, and in the end you wonder how it could have been prevented. I think this would make parents think twice about shipping off their teenagers to a high school many miles away from home -- who's really watching them and ar ...more
Heather
Provocative topic, excellent reminder of why teenage acts can have such devastating consequences - they have no sense of perspective yet - they haven't lived long enough to understand they can move past something. Quick read and interesting development of story through the eyes of many players. However, characters and relationships are a little too good and a little too bad to not be a little annoying / unbelievable.

One annoying criticism is that a central piece of suspense throughout the book
...more
Serena
Oct 19, 2008 Serena rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone that loves Shreve or wants to give her a try
Testimony by Anita Shreve, which will be released on Oct. 21, was such a surprise in my mailbox from Hatchette Group's Miriam Parker. Thanks, Miriam! I met Anita Shreve at the 2002 National Book Festival signing in Washington, D.C. I've been in love with her writing since I first read The Pilot's Wife many years before that, and I will admit here that I've tried to emulate her style in my own writing, though my writing has not met muster.

Testimony is one of those novels that slowly draws you int
...more
Sara
I found this book profoundly unsettling, as a mom, and a past wild child/boarding school attendee. There is a passage where a mother ponders "The Phone Call" and as a mother how every day you wait for the phone call, and you worry, and you wonder, what is it going to be, and am I going to be the lucky one that never receives the phone call, that never meets the police at her door in the dead of night. It reduced me to tears and cost me some sleep.

That said I think that this book also touches on
...more
Cathy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Trisha W.
et me start off by saying that I could not believe how many characters were in this book. I started the book and when I seen how many characters there were I ended up keeping a pen and paper by me and wrote down each person and how they related to another person in the story. If I wouldn't have done that I think the book would have been hard for me to understand and remember who was who.
After saying that I really liked this book. The word that comes to my mind when I think about this book is int
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Hannah
May 12, 2009 Hannah rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: No one.
Recommended to Hannah by: The big stupid placard in Barnes and Noble.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
K
Jun 25, 2011 K rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to K by: M
Don't take the four-star rating the wrong way -- this isn't literature or anything, and it won't change your life. But if, like me, you're forever seeking that easy read that won't feel like a complete waste of time, this is a good bet.

Testimony, told in multiple viewpoints (a device I usually dislike which somehow worked here), is the story of a few private school students who make a pornographic video and get found out. Since the girl in question is fourteen and the boys are over eighteen, thi
...more
Lori Anderson
Feb 04, 2009 Lori Anderson rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one
I normally like Anita Shreve's books, but this one was just not up to par. The subject matter bothered me on various levels, the TREATMENT of that subject matter bothered me, and I got confused and disjointed with her way of making each chapter in a different person's voice. I was left feeling sad, disgusted, and badly wanting to smack "Sienna" very, very hard. It made me think about why bad things happen to good people and the dregs just go on happily oblivious. And I'm currently not in the moo ...more
Mark
Three older star basketball players at a fancy private high school have sex with a drunken 14-year-old girl. A video recording surfaces. Lives are destroyed. The book sucked me in and held my attention. But two major problems made me dislike it. The event that triggered the “good” boy to participate in the gang rape certainly could have been believable, but the author never established why it would send him off the deep end. More problematic was the victim. Having her be a shallow “slut” — there ...more
Sarah
Definite page-turner. Told from alternating points of view, Testimony is set in a small Vermont community rocked by a sexual assault scandal at the local prep school. Though the story is related through several characters, some repeatedly others just once or twice, they progress in a forward motion rather than retelling the same details. Wisely, Shreve does not examine the question of where the guilt lies opting instead to focus on the consequences reaped by the characters' decisions.
Marie
I bought this book yesterday morning and finished this morning. It is the best Shreve has written since Sea Glass - the first book I read by her - and is still my favorite.

This book deals with teenage use of sex and alcohol in a private school in Vermont and how this incident changes everyone involved - even if just by attending the school or living in the town.

Shreve put in a few twists that did surprise.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes Picoult -
Christine
This book is about how a poor decision some high school students made affected their lives longer than anyone would have thought, with dire consequences to some. I enjoyed the time this author took to uncover each character's perspectives.
LibraryCin
4.5 stars

When headmaster of private boarding school Avery Academy, Mike, views a tape, he is shocked to discover that three 18- and 19-year old boys sexually assaulted a 14-year old girl and all were students at Avery. Well, the girl seemed pretty willing on tape, but due to her age, in Vermont, it's considered sexual assault. The aftermath of the video has far-reaching consequences for more than just the main people involved in the scandal.

The book is told from many different people's points o
...more
Averil
For such a tragically pertinent issue in our society - sexual abuse &/ exploitation of vulnerable young women - this book sure missed its opportunity for profound contribution to the dialogue.

We live in a terrifyingly brave new world for our hyper-sexualised young women. They are raised in a utterly sex-saturated culture, where women are now wrongly taught that objectification & promiscuity = female "empowerment". We blithely brush over the endangerment inherent in the new era of rampant
...more
Katie Pesznecker
Each chapter is told from a different point of view -- someone whose life was indirectly or profoundly impacted by an event that had three teen boys caught on tape in a sex act with a 14-year-old girl. I get a little tired of the "rotating voice" plot device. And Shreve chose to also bounce between first- and third-person narration. This worked at times. Other times, I felt it was a bit much. She sometimes brought in incidental characters to offer just one brief chapter's worth of narration. All ...more
Mary Ronan Drew
Last month (May 2013) the 22nd Avenue Book Club read Anita Shreve's The Pilot's Wife (1998) and everybody liked it and zipped right through it. Kate liked it enough that she picked up another Shreve novel, Testimony (2008) and recommended it to me. And here I am recommending it to Shreve readers - or Jodi Picoult and Ann Patchett readers. I zipped through this one too.

The story is set in exclusive Avery Academy in Vermont. The book is narrated by many people (a technique I particularly like) beg
...more
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Anita Shreve grew up in Dedham, Massachusetts (just outside Boston), the eldest of three daughters. Early literary influences include having read Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton when she was a junior in high school (a short novel she still claims as one of her favorites) and everything Eugene O'Neill ever wrote while she was a senior (to which she attributes a somewhat dark streak in her own work). A ...more
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“And so a person can never promise to love someone forever because you never know what might come up, what terrible thing the person you love might do.” 27 likes
“A single action can cause a life to veer off in a direction it was never meant to go. Falling in love can do that, you think. And so can a wild party. You marvel at the way each has the power to forever alter an individual's compass. And it is the knowing that such a thing can so easily happen, as you did not know before, not really, that has fundamentally changed you and your son.” 19 likes
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