As always with Lippman's novels, I found myself both eager to begin the journey and anxious that the ride would be over far too soon. The best thing you can say about a book is that it never feels too short nor does it overstay its welcome. And that's a praise I can heap on a lot of Lippman's novels.
Cassandra Fellows is a successful n...more
Author Cassandra Fallows has achieved remarkable success by baring her life on the page. Her two widely popular memoirs continue to sell briskly, acclaimed for their brutal, unexpurgated candor about friends, family, lovers—and herself. But no...more
As in much of her fiction, Life Sentences was inspired by a real-life story -- that of a Baltimore woman who spent seven years in jail for contempt of court for refusing to divulge information about her young son's disappearance. Most critics agreed that Life Sentences, which almost measures up to the career-defining What the Dead Know, is a compelling exploration of ego, friendships, family relationships, memories, racism, self-deception, and betrayals. Reviewers praised Lippman's evocation of...more
I haven't read a lot by this author, but it seems her mysteries are primarily about how secrets don't stay kept forever, and her writing is more literary than suspenseful (especially since the answers aren't findable by the reader via clues in the story). In this...more
this deserves a longer, more thoughtful review that is forthcoming, but i just needed to take note that i read it and finished before i forgot to log it.
Here's why it didn't work for me:
1. It....dragged.....on....and.....on....and.....on.... - not as crisply written as others.
2. The story was just not believable. "Remember me? We were in third grade together!" Um, no. I can barely remember my teacher's name (not really, Miss Vann was wonderful!) but if someone age 50 came up and asked if I remembered...more
But the characters are difficult to relate to, some are too stereotypical, some are too depressing... the story...more
Main character Cassandra is a writer who returns to her hometown (author is also from here) of Baltimore to research the story behind something that happened to a former classmate of hers. This woman’s child either disappeared or died but she would not tell authorities what happened, so she went to j...more
I felt the book really dragged on, there was nothing in it that made me want to keep turning the page, keep reading and find out what happens and when It did get to the conclusion I was disappointed further as it didn’t have much originality. Reading the conclusion I just thought ‘well I saw tha...more
However, the story does have a mystery as it's spine, and the rest of the story is the flesh on that skeleton. It was the rest of the story that kept me fully engaged as the central character, Cassandra, went in search of her childhood friends to solve the mystery of whether Callie killed her baby and why she wouldn't talk about what happened.
Cassandra is a writer, with two s...more
Here's the bare bones: Cassandra Fallowes is an author. She's written two wildly successful memoirs and one novel that was received less than warmly by the public. She heads back to Baltimore to start memoir #3, which will be about the girls she was friends with growing up and another of their classmates (who was kind of on the fringe of their group) who is at the center of a mystery. The woma...more
When she hears the name of a former schoolmate on the news, Cassandra thinks she has found her next subject. Calliope Jenkins came late to the circle of friends, and was a quiet child. But it was still a shock when her second baby disappeared after the first...more
After her third book is a bomb, she decides to write fiction. Her idea is part inspiration, and part true story, and it takes Cassandra back to her grade school days, growing up in racially charged Baltimore. A former grade school classmate Calliope Jenkins was accused of murdering her i...more
Casandra Fallows has made a success of being an author. She has two memoirs to her name, in which she wrote with what she considered brutal honesty about herself, her family and her friends. She then tried a novel with not so much success. Then she remembered a girl from her childhood, Calliope, who in adulthood was accused of killing her child. Calliope denied it but would give no fu...more
The many savoury bits are offset by stretches of monotony. The narrator, Cassandra Fallows, has published two successful tell-all memoirs and then disappointed with first attempt at fict...more
She considers writing a biography of her elementary school colleague notorious African-American Calliope Jenkins who two decades ago was accused of murdering her infant son. Jenkins has not answered on...more
Laura Lippman, journalist-turned-novelist, writes this stand-alone novel as a departure from her private investigator Tess Monaghan series. I haven’t read any of those, but I plan to because I do like her storytelling.
Lippman is married to David Simon, one of the writers for the critically acclaimed TV series “The Wire” and a co-author of “The Corner,” the book about life i...more
I really liked that plot and the main character.
The mystery was interesting and (mostly) well plotted and revealed. The question is whether Cassandra's childhood friend Calliope really killed her child, and if so, why?
I've read several books recently featuring writers as characters, and I've been enjoying them. Cassandra is no exception. I enjoyed her reflections on her past, present and future and h...more
Unfortunately not so for Life Sentences which was lackluster in every way. The characters are more workaday and the relationships are either cliched or muddled. The womanizing dad. The cast-aside wife. The grammar...more