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3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  3,699 ratings  ·  541 reviews
The New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Island of Lost Girls and Promise Not to Tell returns with a chilling novel in which the secrets of the past come back to haunt a group of friends in terrifying ways.

Dismantlement = Freedom
Henry, Tess, Winnie, and Suz banded together in college to form a group they called the Compassionate Dismantlers. Following the fir...more
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published June 16th 2009 by Harper (first published January 1st 2009)
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i have been trying to write this review for almost an hour. in between i have eaten peanut-butter and jelly on english muffins (and now on space bar and several letters) and have drifted off-topic numerous times, and erased tons of irrelevant crap. much irrelevance remains, but the short version of this review is:

i enjoyed reading this book, but it is not good.

this is a perfect rebound book for proust - after a long relationship, you just want to have a silly fling with someone stupid - to jus...more
Oh goodness. I feel like Dismantled is intrinsically flawed. Which is sort of a shame, because it’s a strong concept, with much potential for strong commentary on art, guilt, youth, sexual fluidity. Unfortunately, the novel reads one-dimensionally, as if the characters and plot live only to serve McMahon’s themes. Four college friends ten years ago created an anarchic secret society (the “Compassionate Dismantlers”), which blew up in all their faces when their charismatic but dangerous leader Su...more
Lauren Fidler
this book can best be summed up as the rough equivalent of maclean's hospital's summer stock re-envisioning of the seminal brat pack flick "the breakfast club."

instead of the jock, the princess, the brain, the beauty, the rebel, and the recluse, mcmahon gives us the bisexual nihilistic arsonist, the borderline-personalitied poet sniper, the philandering closeted obsessive-compulsive frigid-artist-housewife, the extremely fertile yet slightly homicidal alcoholic sculptor, and the possibly schizo...more
There’s a simple truth about me when it comes to books. If you tell me that something is a lot like The Virgin Suicides or The Secret History, then I’m going to read it. I don’t care if the books don’t live up to what they may or may not be imitating. I’m just happy to have more books that are a lot like two of my favorites. So, while reading Dismantled, I was pumped about its comparison to The Secret History. Since I haven’t read the latter since 2000, I couldn’t do a minute-by-minute compariso...more
I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Jennifer McMahon has the most disturbing covers in the book business.....real pictures of creepy children staring out at you. It's like a whole shelf of "Children of the Corn" and "Village of the Damned" at the bookstore. I told you before that I read "Island of Lost Girls" on vacation and did not want to do anything else but read. I was so anxious to read "Dismantled", McMahon's latest. Wow! It did not disappoint!

One of McMahon's strong points is going...more
I was so excited to be given this book which had arrived at the bookstore where I used to work. The manager there knew I was a huge fan of McMahon’s novel Promise Not to Tell, and so she passed this along.

Dismantled is the story of the Compassionate Dismantlers, four art students: Tess, Henry, Winnie and the charismatic Suz. The Compassionate Dismantlers believe that “to understand the nature of a thing you have to take it apart.” What they really believe, it seems, is that you can ruin someone...more
Holy cow... I had no clue what I was getting into when I started this book!! Dismantled was such an enthralling and utterly absorbing read! I absolutely loved this book and spent every free moment I could find reading more. Despite its 422 pages, it's likely one that could be read in a sitting (or a day) because of the way the story hooks the reader; (unfortunately, I literally don't have the time right now to read that much in one go so it still took me a couple days.)

Dismantled is a superbly w...more
"In order to truly understand something, you have to take it apart."

The above-statement is the maxim that drove the protagonists of this novel to form a group called the Compassionate Dismantlers, a sort hippy dippy "artistic" terrorist organization that the main characters founded ten years before the actual events of the book took place. (We get glimpses of the Compassionate Dismantlers, who they were and what they stood for, throughout the novel, through a collection of flashbacks, character...more
Any book compared to The Secret History is sort of set up to fail. I mean, look at The Little Friend. Donna Tartt couldn't even match her freshman effort.

And Jennifer McMahon doesn't even come close -- disappointing me doubly, since one of my favorite authors (Stewart O'Nan) wrote the blurb in question.

From page one till literally the very last one, Dismantled walks a fine line between suspense and ridiculousness. I have to admit that it didn't quite fall off the balance beam, but the fact that...more
I am not completely done with this book but I am going to review it. I HATE it. And this isn't hate in the way I hated seeing Mila Kunis's butt in whatever that stupid movie was. This is hate as in this women has written five books, yes five now and as much as I enjoy her writing I would rate this as number six because whatever she writes next cannot POSSIBLY be this bad. I don't write out the plot of books because newsflash if you are interested and you want to know the plot you are already onl...more
Tess, Henry and their daughter Emma live a comfortable life in a small community. By all appearances, they are a happy couple. Emma seems to have a touch of OCD, but she is getting by and has a best friend at school. A troubled past lurks beneath the surface, though, and it is about to change all their lives forever.

Ten years in the past, Tess and Henry were part of a small group of college students calling itself the Compassionate Dismantlers. Led by a charismatic student named Suz, the Disman...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Liberty Abbott-Sylvester
Jul 27, 2009 Liberty Abbott-Sylvester rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves intense suspense and shocking endings!
Wow! Wow! Wow! This book is un-put-down-able! It seems a little weird at first but it has to be in order to take you into the strange lives of these four friends-artist who form a club and not only create art but dismantle it to find the deeper meaning. The club starts out harmless enough but when one of them starts going too far, dismantling more than just art, someone has to put a stop to it all.
Years later, with one member dead and the others gone their seperate ways, the past comes back to v...more
April Thompson
What. The. Fuck. That's what I've been asking myself throughout the whole book. The last time (and only time) I've felt mind-blown was while reading Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl. This started out confusing and I almost DNF; however, I picked it back up after setting it down for over a month. The confusion continued for me throughout the book, but the pull of the unknown, the fucked up, made me devour it after I kept going. This was quite the whirl wind of a book. No clue how to classify it - Thrill...more
Living near a village in Vermont with their nine-year-old daughter Emma, Tess and Henry try to forget the past. And the disturbing summer during which they and two other college friends participated in a secret society that has had disturbing consequences.

Moving almost seamlessly between the past and the present, and told through multiple perspectives, we come to know the four college friends and their rebellions—and also learn much about what it's like to try and live down the past mistakes. Th...more
I always enjoy McMahon's books and I did enjoy this one; I really am giving it 2 and half stars. Although I'm not a fan of Jodi Picoult, I think fans of hers would really enjoy McMahon's mysteries.

After reading this book, her third novel and technically her fourth book, I noticed that her endings are kind of... well, downers. I am not against that at all, and, in fact, I kind of like an author who is willing to make her main character(s) realize they have made horrible mistakes, or, they have m...more
I thought this was going to be a mystery, and I love mysteries, but I didn't love this. At the center of the novel are Tess and Henry and their daughter, Emma. Tess and Henry have a secret from their college days when they were part of a collective of five art students that called themselves the Compassionate Dismantlers. The Dismantlers engaged in vandalism and pranks, and it was fun and games until one summer night when it all went terribly wrong and one of the five ended up dead. Ten years la...more
Jennifer McMahon writes novels that are difficult to classify and impossible to put down, and like Promise Not to Tell and Island of Lost Girls before it, Dismantled tells the story of a haunting, but the true ghosts in McMahon's fiction are the secrets and silences that the characters keep. And while mostly psychological thriller, this is still a book that makes you a little wary of things that could go bump in the night; you are certain the supernatural elements will be eventually explained, b...more

Extraordinarily reminiscent of Donna Tarrt's The Secret History, this sees a group of people ten years after they were a college clique called The Dismantlers, whose ethos was that "to understand the nature of a thing it must be taken apart". The end point of their destructive pranks was the semi-accidental murder of the instigator of The Dismantlers' exploits, Suz, the promiscuos star around which the others orbited, reflecting her light. At the time, the death was adroitly concealed from the w...more
Kate Peckham
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Didn't like any of the characters, and thought the whole premise of a murder cover-up/ghost story was a little tired and unoriginal, but the author's pace was insanely addictive. Plus I'm a sucker for a good plot twist and this book had two! At the end I was flipping pages madly to see whodunnit. All in all, not a bad book for a quick summer read. The kind of novel where you can skim whole paragraphs at a time and still be right on track with the story. I found Dismantled interesting(ish) while...more
Bridget Conroy
This is my first book by Jennifer McMahon. I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. I'm still not sure how I totally feel about it. I almost feel like I get a sense of the author's style and that this one was not one of her better books but that once I read another one I will enjoy it more. The whole premise of this group of college kids was somewhat annoying and just got on my nerves. I do like that I wasn't sure what was going on if the adults were actually crazy or the kid was doing more...more
Awful. Ugh. I struggled to finish it, and forced myself to do so, just cause I the unfinished books. This book was too much. Too many things going on, none of the characters in the book were like able at all, not a single one. Not the daughter or any of them. Just, ugh.
♥ Marlene♥
Not as good as I'd hoped it would be according to reviews.The story is told by different people and i can understand if people find it confusing. It is my opinion that it was all a bit far fetched not really logical. Read this book in Germany while on vacation with family.
The writing itself if solid, but a few pieces of the narrative are unpolished, as not all the puzzle pieces fall into place at the end of the book. The ending does not satisfactorily explain all the occurrences pertaining to the Danner-Emma-Suz connection.
Until the very last paragraph, I would've rated this book a solid three stars. Good but not great, but a book I definitely wanted to see through to the end. Parts of the story seemed a little implausible; the whole Winnie/Suz/Spencer triangle plodded along to the point it didn't make a lot of sense. All that aside, the story wound to a very satisfying end with most of the questions answered; loose ends tied up in a pretty cohesive conclusion. Except one part. The main character's daughter Emma h...more
Sep 16, 2010 Missy rated it 1 of 5 stars
Shelves: dnf
I loved Promise Not To Tell.....what happened with this book? I found it hard to get into....by page 80 it was still dragging for me. I found the characters to be depressing, as well as the subject matter.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nicole Wagner
"Dismantled" is intriguing and mysterious. Author Jennifer McMahon paints an enticing novel where readers are consistently flipping pages to uncover the truth of the story. Just when the reader thinks they have certain aspects solved a new plot development shatters their hypothesis.

The mystery was well pieced-together and believable.

McMahon has a wonderful technique in story-telling. The breaks between characters are perfectly timed, and unlike some authors, Patterson for example, she used voc...more
Jill Madsen
Wow! This one is about as messed up as a Gillian Flynn book! All the pieces don't come until the last pages.
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I'm the author of Promise Not to Tell, Island of Lost Girls, Dismantled, Don't Breathe a Word, and The One I Left Behind. My next novel, The Winter People will be released February 11, 2014. I live in central Vermont with my partner and daughter, in an old Victorian that some neighbors call The Addams Family house.
More about Jennifer McMahon...
Promise Not to Tell Don't Breathe a Word The One I Left Behind Island of Lost Girls The Winter People

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“The thing that drew them to her was the thing that had made all of them come to Sexton in the first place: they were all outsiders, people on the fringe. And no one, it seemed, understood this better than Suz. She turned her difference into a source of power, power that radiated from her, humming, a live thing that sent sparks out to anyone who listened.” 0 likes
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