Kathleen Hagen's Reviews > Life Sentences

Life Sentences by Laura Lippman
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's review
Jul 25, 2009

bookshelves: 2009-audio-books, 2009-fiction
Read in April, 2009

Life Sentences, by Laura Lippman, Narrated by Linda Emond, produced by Harper Audio, downloaded from audible.com.

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 further information and served seven years in prison for her silence. Casandra is sure she’ll get the true story out of her. There is a tension in this book because Casandra is a White woman who has always counted on her intelligence. She was the girl who always raised her hand in class. Her three best friends in grade school were middle-class Black girls. As they all grew older, it became clear that they were not such good friends anymore and that race had intruded on their friendship. But as Casandra went after Calliope’s story, her former friends were angry with her digging. Ultimately Casandra had to come to grips with the fact that her own family story was not so honestly told either. This is a very different story than the ones usually penned by Lippman although many of her novels do explore relationships between Black and White women and their friendships. The writing was great in this book as usual, but the story didn’t really go anywhere. An interesting book, worth reading, but definitely not Lippman’s best.

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