Vegantrav's Reviews > The Raising

The Raising by Laura Kasischke
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Apr 09, 11

Read in April, 2011

This is a fascinating mystery about a girl, Nicole, who is killed (or is she?) in an automobile accident with her boyfriend, Craig.

Nicole, however, even after her death, continues to appear to Craig, to his roommate, Perry, and to a a few of their other friends. Is she a ghost, haunting them all? Is she a vampire? Is she a succubus? For most of the novel, we don't know if this is actually a supernatural thriller or if the author is going to provide us with a rational explanation, but about 2/3 or 3/4 of the way through, it becomes clear what is happening (but I won't say here so as not to spoil anything).

In the end, we know, with a high degree of certainty, what happened to Nicole despite many ambiguities left unresolved. We readers are compelled to tear through the pages as the answer to the riddle of the novel is slowly, though not completely, revealed, and we find ourselves caring very deeply about the fates of the main characters, both the "good guys" (Craig, Perry, Mira, Shelley, Debbie) and the "bad guys" (particularly Josie).

Overall, this was a great read, and I really loved it until I reached the end, an end that came, from my perspective too soon. (See below.)

****SPOILER ALERT****

There are a few major issues that the author does not resolve:

1. Why would Nicole's family be willing to participate in this elaborate deception to fake her death all in an effort to maintain the good reputation and standing of a sorority? There seems to be no good motivation for deception on such a grand scale and involving something as serious as faking Nicole's death to cover up the death of one her sorority sisters, and the author gives us not even a single clue on this issue.

2. Does Nicole have a twin? Near the end, it seems that Perry and Craig both encounter Nicole at the same time in two distant locations. Is Craig or is Perry hallucinating? It doesn't seem so from the context, and if they are not hallucinating, how do they both see Nicole in two different places at the same time when we know she is not a ghost?

3. What is Nicole's own motivation, before the accident, for toying with Craig? Is she really just some sort of evil temptress? How is it that the pretty, intelligent young girl from a small town who seemingly has small town values goes off to college and starts a relationship with Craig only to lead him on while sleeping with his friends? Nicole's behavior is left completely unexplained. There is an exchange between Nicole and Perry where Perry basically asks her if she's mentally ill or just plain evil, and, of course, she doesn't answer this, but it seems that she must be either seriously mentally disturbed or a total psychopath to explain her behavior, or maybe she really does have an "evil twin." We just don't know.

4. Josie's character is really just unbelievable. She is such a horrible person that if Hitler and Stalin and Leona Helmsley read this novel, even they would react to Josie by saying, "What a bitch!" To believe that a 19-year-old girl would be capable of trying to destroy so many people's lives just for the sake of her sorority really boggles the mind. Josie is just an absolutely despicable character, so despicable, in fact, that her behavior betrays the bounds of realism, even for a work of fiction.

5. There is a huge problem believing the cover-up of Denise's death and the substitution of Nicole's pseudo-death for Denise's. So many people at so many levels would have had to have been involved: university officials, sorority officials, the police, the EMTs (it would have been more than just the EMT that the sorority paid off) who responded to the accident, news reporters. To believe that all of them and Nicole's family would have participated in this cover-up is completely incredible.

6. What happened to Jeff Blackhawk? Why are we told about Mira's fate but not Jeff's? Did Mira and Jeff get married? At the end of the novel, Mira is living in West Texas, where Jeff is from, but Jeff doesn't seem to be in the picture at all. Did Mira and Jeff get married and then divorce? Did Jeff die? What happened to Jeff?

7. What happened to Nicole and her family and to Josie? We're given a snapshot of the fates of most of the other main character a decade and a half after the main events of the novel, but we are told absolutely nothing about what happens to the central character, Nicole, and to her family nor anything about Josie's fate. This was really disappointing and made the novel feel incomplete.


Despite all these problems, I still really enjoyed this novel, at least for the first 460 pages. When I arrived at page 461 (the last page), and realized everything was not going to be satisfactorily resolved, I cannot deny being greatly disappointed, but, up to that point, I really loved the novel, and so I cannot give it an overall negative review when I was so highly entertained by it.
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Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Haley248 So glad to see someone else voicing my opinion. I fell in love with this book, but found the ending infuriating for all of these reasons.


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