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The Worst Thing I've Done

2.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,193 Ratings  ·  233 Reviews

Friends since earliest childhood, Annie, Jake, and Mason have a special bond. When Annie's parents die on the same night that she and Mason get married, the three friends decide to raise Annie's infant sister, Opal, together. But their bonds of intimacy, already entangled, become dangerously close, on the line. One fateful night, the three friends goad one another into cro

Audio CD, 0 pages
Published September 11th 2007 by AudioGO (first published January 1st 2007)
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Oct 04, 2010 Barbara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ursula Hegi's "The Worst Thing I've Done", appeared at first to be a rather simple story of childhood friendships gone awry. The story begins slowly, but seems to gain intensity and significance as it progresses. It is rife with sadness, but there is also a sweet beauty and humor, especially when one begins to become better acquainted with the characters. Hegi manages to insert notes of humor throughout this tale. She targets human relationship quite well.

In reading this book, it is impressive h
Nov 21, 2007 Africableu rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The title is self-prophetic, as this book is clearly the WORST thing Hegi has ever done. Lord have mercy, did this book draaaag. (Which is a cryin' shame, because the premise had such potential.) I hated every one of the characters in this book. Hegi's purpose for the book was obviously to create a platform for her anti-war, anti-Bush feelings--which is her perogative as an author but does NOT make for interesting reading, and betrays the author/reader trust. Trying to make her views come from h ...more
Apr 04, 2014 Jeanne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 25, 2012 Nitya rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Annie is struggling to find her footing after her husband Mason commits suicide by hanging himself, in her studio, on her desk where she worked making collages.
Told in flashbacks and using Annie, Mason, and Jake, (the best friend of Annie and Mason) as narrators, we learn the history of these three, best friends since childhood. We also learn of Annie's parents, and their tragic death while on the way home from Annie and Mason's wedding. Annie's mother was kept alive after the wreck just long
Dec 03, 2008 zena rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
on a whim, i pulled this book from a shelf at the library. though i'd never read anything by ursula hegi, i recalled that, years ago, someone had enthusiastically mentioned ms. hegi's 'stones from the river' to me; based on this faintly recalled recommendation, i decided to become better acquainted with ms. hegi. unfortunately, this was a terrible novel! the characters were annoying (three early twenty-somethings in a love triangle), the dialog was annoying (a four year old girl speaks like an a ...more
Apr 28, 2008 Rachel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This was another book with a character who has committed suicide. I seem to be drawn to depressing stories lately for some reason. But it focuses on the characters who are left behind and their sense of guilt and grief, and the dynamics of the triangle relationship between the main character and the two men/boys she grew up with, who are the two loves of her life. She is also raising her younger sister, because their parents were killed in a car wreck while returning home from her wedding. Her m ...more
Lori Anderson
May 13, 2008 Lori Anderson rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody
I liked "Stones From the River" and "The Vision of Emma Blau", so was expecting to enjoy "The Worst Thing I've Done".

Not so, and for several reasons.

First, I found Mason a completely unlikeable character, certifiable, and to use a word I haven't used since I was a kid, "icky". I detested him. And because I detested him, I couldn't have much feeling for Celeste.

Second, every time I started getting caught up in Hegi's lyrical writing that I truly like, she'd start a rant on the Iraq war. That jus
Jan 06, 2009 Sarah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I sort of read a string of pretty disappointing books over the fall. This might be the worst of the lot. From irritating typeface to unlikeable characters (even the ghost you sort of wish would just sort of die again and go away) to a plot that hinged around the most ludicrous hidden secret revealed in the most contrived way, I found myself feeling really, really annoyed with the world that this book is allowed to exist. We live in a universe where the passenger pigeon is extinct but this book g ...more
Apr 03, 2009 Sharlene rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I don't think this story lent itself to the audio format. The changes of narration both back and forth in time and from person to person was confusing enough, but throw in dialog that just ends ...

I also felt that the Aunt and all of the political propaganda surrounding her entry in the story put me off. Another criticism of the narration -- I thought Aunt Stormy was supposed to be German, but the accent sounded more like she was from India! ARGH!

Difficult to feel any connection with the chara
I picked up Hegi's new book at her last reading at Lincoln Center's Barnes and Noble. That thing is like a hot potato. People actually left as she read from the book. It's about the aftermath of a love triangle dating back to childhood. Suicide, voyerism, jealousy, orphans. So she takes all these really unpleasant topics and constructs a story around it. A warm, upbeat story really. But reading it, as the title suggests, is giving in to total provocation. Did the facts have to be this ugly?!

Shelly Leyden
A narcisist and two enablers are friends from childhood into adulthood. Two of them get married and face the tragic loss of her parents together — in the process, becoming the parents of the baby the main character's now-dead mother was carrying. Then, the narcissist kills himself. I like Ursula Hegi's writing. I like how the characters in this book live artistically, and express themselves poetically even in the course of hum-drum, everyday life. I like the imaginative tragic situations they fa ...more
Sheikha O 140A571
May 25, 2013 Sheikha O 140A571 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very interesting novel. Take on depression, manipulation, relationships and dealing with life through the hard times. The author Ursula Hegi was able to make a picture of her words, she made the characters realistic. We hear different voices in the novel. The novel is beautifully written, it was good I enjoyed reading it. I can't tell you more I will ruin it for you.
Mar 16, 2009 Linda rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was seriously disappointed to the point that I didn't finish this book. I can't remember the last time I did that. I give books until page 100 to grab me when they don't immediately, and this one never did and I abandoned it. Perhaps I should have stuck with it because Hegi's writing is stellar - but I never connected to Annie or Jake or Mason. Seriously disappointed.
Feb 06, 2009 Amy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Probably would have given it 1 1/2 stars. I kept waiting for it to get better or have a great, answer-all-the-questions ending and it didn't. The basis of the story was interesting, but I didn't care for how the story was told. There was also a lot of political protest, anti-Bush, anti-war parts of the book that didn't really add to the story.
Sep 15, 2009 Gina rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ursula, My Dear, I'm afraid it was this book. What happened to the author of STONES IN THE RIVER? Yeah, there was lots of water and Mutter rhapsodies, but the basic plot....Annie, Jake and Mason.....and a kid named Opal---this menage was unmenageable.
Jan 29, 2015 Deb rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The Worst Thing [she's] Done is to write this book. Incredibly disappointing book by the author of the shouldn't-be-uttered-in-the-same-sentence wonderful "Stones from the River." By a third of the way through I couldn't wait until the whiney character whose suicide sets off the narrative would actually get to it and be written out of the book. Unfortunately, though dead from page one, this juvenile man-child character continues to whine in each and every chapter. Then out of left field comes a ...more
Jan 01, 2015 Cayleigh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2014
There were things I liked about this book. For one, the tantalizing glimpses of that fateful night, told from Mason's POV at the start of each chapter. The fact that the recounting would end in the middle of a sentence was intoxicating...I just had to keep reading to know what really happened that night. Since I was learning all about how everyone was dealing with the consequences.

I'll say this. Mason is a complete tool. Very much did not like him or the way his personality operates. I love tha
Dec 21, 2013 Ruth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dof-didnotfinish
I've read Hegi's books set in Germany and liked them very much. Couldn't make it through this one. Way too self-consciously clever.
Really disjointed story about a woman whose husband killed himself. Too much secret keeping.
I felt as if I did this book an injustice. Being a Hegi fan since Stones from the River, having read much of her body of work before The Worst Thing I've Done, I think I took this one a bit for granted. Meaning, I expected that it would be good and another well-orchestrated prose-y example of Hegi's fine artistry. Which it was, it's just that I didn't invest myself in the story until the very end, and it wasn't Hegi's fault.
The problem is that I read this little by little, mostly at the end of
Lisa Mettauer
Jul 15, 2009 Lisa Mettauer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For some reason I’ve avoided reading Ursula Hegi’s books since her brilliant Stones From the River. I don’t know why, because I loved that book. Maybe I thought they would all be set in Germany, or during the war, or something. Thank goodness I decided to read The Worst Thing I’ve Done. A story about a love triangle between 2 men and a woman, this is a terrific novel.

Annie, Mason, and Jake have known each other since infancy, and have grown up completely attached to each other. But they also com
Sep 28, 2013 Angie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second novel by Ursula Hegi that I've read, and although it was very different from the first one, it was another excellent read. This is the story of three very close friends, Annie, Mason and Jake, who have been best friends since childhood. When Annie's pregnant mother and father die in a car crash on the day she marries Mason, she and Mason (and Jake) become instant parents to Annie's baby sister... the only survivor of the car accident. While the grief and sorrow of having your ...more
Kathleen Hagen
The Worst thing I’ve Done, by Ursula Hegi. Narrated by Oliver Wyman and Gabra Zackman. Produced by BBC Audiobooks America, and downloaded from

This is a relentless story about three people: Annie Jake and Mason. They met in very early childhood because Jake’s mother ran a day care center and Annie and Mason were two of the children whose parents paid for day care. The three were friends, and yet competitors. Mason and Jake were always vying for Annie’s attention, and on some level, A
Mary Anne
I picked this book up because I loved Hegi's "Stones from the River". I think that was one of the best books I ever read. "The Worst Thing I've Done" does not come close to that. It is the story of Annie, Mason, and Jake who's lives were intertwined beginning in early childhood when they lived very close together. Annie & Mason were cared for daily by Jake's mother who ran a day care. I really liked Annie and her sister Opal was a very believable character. Jake was mostly likeable, but Maso ...more
May 29, 2013 Tanzi rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book had a promising start, but failed for me in a couple of ways. Annie, Jake, and Mason have a friendship that began in childhood and continued into adulthood, when Annie and Mason marry, apparently right after high school. The more intriguing part of the story, which I think Hegi didn't really explore enough, was Mason's mental illness. (While a mental illness is never actually named, it's clear from the childhood stories that while he suffered from depression he also had a manipulative ...more
Sep 20, 2011 Lavonne rated it did not like it
Shelves: audio-books
This book seems to be written with more emphasis on poetic imagery than with any notion of plot or common novel elements. If I had not been listening to it on audio, I’m sure that I would not have been able to follow the conversations. Even with different voices, it was sometimes hard to identify the speaker.

I began to realize about three quarters of the way through that the writing style was not all that bothered me. One of the main characters seemed to me anyway, to be mentally ill, possibly b
May 24, 2008 YoSafBridg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don’t know whether it was the title or the name Ursula Hegi that reminded me there was some book she wrote that i always thought i should read (tho i couldn’t remember which one) that made me want to read The Worst Thing I’ve Done but something did. And i’m glad i did. It is a story of childhood best friends who become lovers, spouses, adulterers, and betrayers. Daughters who are also sisters and mothers. It is the story of the enmeshed families we create (but aren’t all true families entangle ...more
Nov 05, 2007 Deb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of literary fiction that makes your heart trip and sit down for a small think
Shelves: fiction
The structure of this book is interesting: each chapter starts off with a portion of the last diary entry that Mason, a character who has committed suicide just before the start of the novel, left behind. The font is made to look like handwriting.

Hegi skillfully ties these bits and pieces of Mason's twisted yet sad mind into the tumble of each chapter, mainly showing the selfishness of the suicide vs. the selfishness of the survivors and also the coping and healing process that each character go
Jul 07, 2015 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't actually finish this because the audio file quit, but I listened to about half of it. I do like her writing (I liked "Stones in the River" much better) but I couldn't figure out where the story was going. It's a character-based novel, with alternating characters' stories in each chapter, but it's too slow-moving and devoid of rich meaning to be very compelling. There is the hint of past scandal and maybe it's worth finishing to find out what it was . . . but maybe not.
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Ursula Hegi is the author of Sacred Time, Hotel of the Saints, The Vision of Emma Blau, Tearing the Silence, Salt Dancers, Stones from the River, Floating in My Mother's Palm, Unearned Pleasures and Other Stories, Intrusions, and Trudi & Pia. She is the recipient of more than thirty grants and awards.
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