Nitya's Reviews > The Worst Thing I've Done

The Worst Thing I've Done by Ursula Hegi
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Feb 25, 2012

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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 enough to deliver Opal, Annie's sister, who has been raised by Annie and Mason.
I found the characters in this story richly drawn, and the author made great use of the northeastern coast where Aunt Stormy lives. Aunt Stormy was Annie's mother's best friend; they met as au pairs in South Hampton as young women, both of them from Germany.
Stormy is a wise, middle-aged woman, politically minded (there are protests of the Iraq war included, the year is 2003), she lives alone, though she is lovers with a man named Pete. She lives by the ocean, has kayaks, runs her own business, very matter of fact, honest, and direct. Everyone needs a friend or relative like her.
The triangle of Annie, Mason, and Jake reveals itself more and more as the story is told. This may be a spoiler alert, so don't read on if you want to read the book. Early on we are informed of an incident in the sauna with Annie,Jake, and Mason. Later we learn that Mason egged Annie and Jake on, encouraged them to have sex.
It is tragic and poignant, because what Mason wanted was for them to refuse, but Mason had grown jealous and insecure, and Annie most of all was tired of his games.
Later we learn that Jake was present and watching through a window when Mason hung himself, that he did not move to save him, nor did he let on that he even knew, but left, leaving Annie to discover Mason hanging over her desk.
Jake is guilt-ridden, and wants to tell Annie to absolve himself, and also because he cannot imagine being in Annie's life and keeping this secret from her. He loves Annie.
This was one of the mysteries that intrigued me, reading this book, wondering if Jake would tell, and wondering how Annie would react if he did tell.
Overall, I loved the female characters in the book, but felt Annie would do better to leave Jake and Mason in the past and move on.
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