Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “See How Small” as Want to Read:
See How Small
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

See How Small

2.71  ·  Rating details ·  1,610 ratings  ·  300 reviews
A riveting novel about the aftermath of a brutal murder of three teenage girls, written in incantatory prose "that's as fine as any being written by an American author today." (Ben Fountain)

One late autumn evening in a Texas town, two strangers walk into an ice cream shop shortly before closing time. They bind up the three teenage girls who are working the counter, set fi
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published January 20th 2015 by Little, Brown and Company
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about See How Small, please sign up.
Recent Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 2.71  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,610 ratings  ·  300 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of See How Small
Jan 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Loosely based on the 1991 Yogurt Shop Murders, in Austin, Texas, this story looks at a community's reactions to the unimaginable murder of three girls. The girls ( two sisters, and a friend) were finishing their shift for the night in the local ice- cream parlour, when two men walked in, bound the girls, then set fire to the shop. We see through the eyes of family, witnesses, suspects, firefighters, and even the deceased girls themselves, just how these murders affected, and continued to affect ...more
Hi there. Feeling good? The sun is shining? You can smell the spring? The world seems a fine and decent place, filled with hope and smiles, green grass, blue skies, and puffy clouds? That ends here, with this book review, of this book.

This is a rumination on tragedy.

On December 6, 1991, four young girls working at an Austin I Can’t Believe It’s Yogurt! shop were stripped, bound, gagged, sexually assaulted, executed, and burned in a notorious case that immediately went cold. There were no eyewi
Diane S ☔
Jun 27, 2014 rated it liked it
A hard book for me to write a review for as the concept and the structure is non linear. The beginning grabs you right away, three girls killed in an ice cream parlor, abused and than set on fire. No, this is not graphically nor emotionally displayed.

The book is about this only as it relates to those involved. What happens to the people effected after the event. The author does a great job of describing the grief of a lost child, or children as two of the three were sisters. The sisters sometim
May 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: public-library
Whatever this writing style is, it is not to my taste. I feel nonplussed, completely out of sync with it. It may very well be that it is brilliant; if so, it is lost on this reader. It simply came across as random and disjointed. 'Some stories don't have an ending even if you want them to.' I wanted this story to end, yes indeedy, and was willing to do some skimming in order to accomplish it. ...more
Jun 18, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
On paper this book sounded like a really intriguing read. Sadly though it disappointed on so many levels and left me feeling confused by what i read. Based loosely on the 1991 Austin yogurt shop murders, See How Small tells the story of three teenage girls who are murdered and there bodies discovered in the burn't remains of an Ice Cream store. After this though is when things gets totally bogged down and disjointed as the story goes from one character to another without any real hint of coming ...more
Feb 19, 2015 rated it did not like it
I'd give this book 0 stars if I could. It was the absolute WORST book I've read in ages. You definitely have to suspend reason and have a lot of patience to have any hope of understanding anything that is happening. The story made no sense, constantly moving through disjointed, irritating 2-3 page narratives of absurd characters devoid of any degree of emotional stability. I don't know where publishers dredge up reviewers to post such utterly inaccurate statements about novels. Comments that app ...more
Nov 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although this novel features, and revolves around the after effects, of a crime – it is much more literary fiction than a crime novel as such. Three young girls, Zadie, Elizabeth and Meredith, are murdered in the ice cream shop in which they work. These murders unfold within the first few pages of the book and, what follows, is an almost dreamscape view of the impact of these murders on the inhabitants of the small town where the girls lived.

Two of the girls, Zadie and Elizabeth, were sisters a
Aug 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I rarely re-read books anymore because, well, you many books, so little time. However, I could easily imagine reading this again somewhere in the future. And I think I would take something different away from a future reading.

I loved the construction of this book. The "event" takes place in the first few paragraphs, but the magic and intrigue that follows is wonderful. I particularly appreciated the fact that so little is spelled out, and that the reader is encouraged to make co
Judy D Collins
A special thank you to Little, Brown and Company and First Reads for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Scott Blackwood delivers spellbinding, SEE HOW SMALL, a short novel of the aftermath of a brutal murder of three teenage girls with magical lyrical and creative prose – intrigue, incarnation, human dynamics, and supernatural elements.

They were daughters.
They were loved.
They were innocent.
They were cursed.
They were unlucky.
They were careless.
They asked for it.
They had no choice.
They were
Aug 07, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I received a copy of this book for free from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. Also posted on my blog, Rinn Reads.

See How Small was one of my top anticipated releases for this year, and oh how disappointed I was.

Whilst Scott Blackwood surely has a talent for beautiful prose, and there were some sentences that were just absolutely gorgeous, the story felt so disjointed. It seemed to skip around from character to character and event to event, with no real link to what happened next. Bec
Kelly Roll
Feb 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
See How Small was inspired by the real life yogurt shop murders in Austin TX in which four young girls were killed. In See How Small three girls - two sisters and a friend are assaulted and killed and then burned in the ice cream shop in which they work. The book does not follow the traditional format in which a story is told sequentially but rather we are privy to thoughts and actions of those individuals affected by the girl's death, one of their mothers; a first responder; a homeless man, etc ...more
Sep 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: goodreads-win
So I broke my rule while reading this book. I looked at other reviews. Here is the thing; the book grabs you in the first chapter with the murder of 3 girls. After reading the reviews, I realized I was not the only one that felt a little lost in my reading. After each chapter, you are introduced to a character that was affected by the murder of 3 girls. These chapters are short and each person affected by the murder is mixed with confusion and hopelessness.

The individual that I was most intrigu
RoseMary Achey
Feb 22, 2015 rated it did not like it
Interesting premise but difficult for a reader to follow the story.
Tara Walker
Apr 25, 2015 rated it did not like it
Hated it. Confusing and unrealistic, full of undeveloped, superficial characters.
Sep 18, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: could-not-finish
According to Kindle I made it through 36% before finally throwing in the towel. And this book is tiny - but jeepers, not tiny enough. Pretentious dreck.
Laurie Notaro
Mar 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved the structure of this book; the short, driven chapters that moved the story, the brief inside glimpses that presented the characters without anything superfluous; the changes in perspective, and the presence of a trio of ghosts, told as ethereally as they find themselves. Creative, powerful, beautifully written.
Dec 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
You know that saying, "Life is not fair"?

Meet its proof.

Three girls, working in an ice cream parlor one night, are bound, abused, and murdered when the shop is set on fire. Five years later, the crime remains unsolved, the perpetrators having escaped vengeance. The girls, though, are very present in their community, both emotionally and spiritually.

Scott Blackwood takes you into the perspectives of several "survivors", primarily Kate, the mother of two of the murdered girls, news reporter Rosa,
Five things to consider before curling up and listen to See How Small

Broken into small chapters, the author captures the grief of losing a child, the guilt, and the endless questions of what if. The time line is erratic sharing with the reader the actual event, then giving us flashbacks as it shares the aftermath. It does not follow a specific timeline, and this may be off putting for some readers. I felt it more closely resembled an investigation where suspects, victims’ families and such ar
R.G. Evans
May 29, 2015 rated it it was ok
The bodies of three murdered teenage girls are discovered in the burnt remains of an ice cream shop. That much I know for sure about this novel.

And then some other stuff happens. Or doesn't. I'm not really sure.

Blackwood shifts point of view from chapter to chapter between the fireman who discovered the bodies, the mother of the girls, the reporter covering the story of the murders, and several other characters including the dead girls themselves. Many of the chapters are very short, lyrical and
Feb 01, 2015 rated it liked it
The title comes from the voices of the dead who still haunt the living "see how small" is a thing that separates us? Cool concept but are they still part of the living world because of the way they died? I wish we could have heard more from those voices.

At first the writing style really pulled me in. Telling the story of three murders through the eyes of those closely affected, those a bit removed and even the three dead girls was haunting. As the book progressed though, I had a very hard time
This is an delightfully unusual little novel that begins with a dramatic triple murder that sends shockwaves through the victims families and the small community where they live. This part of the book is based on a real even which makes it and the rest of the book all the more poignant as we follow the girls families, friends and neighbours as they come to terms with what happened. We also follow the girls' souls/spirits/whatevers as they move from person to person, reliving the moments they rem ...more
Feb 24, 2015 rated it liked it
Last night I watched Rosie Batty on television. She was on a panel that was responding to questions about domestic violence. Towards the end of the program, she was asked by a young woman about the advice she would give to someone who was living in a violent relationship. Batty hesitated and tightened her lips. There was a silence. I thought she might push back. Maybe on the grounds that she was not THE expert. Maybe because the whole show had been about that topic anyway. Maybe on the grounds o ...more
Dec 30, 2015 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars would be more appropriate, but I guess I am willing to round up to 3 stars since I was able to quickly finish it and thus must not have found it as absolutely disjointed and indecipherable as many of the 2 star reviewers appear to have.

Briefly, as most people picking it up will already know, this novel is very, very loosely based on an actual crime that occurred in 1991 in Austin where 4 teenage girls were murdered during closing time at a frozen yogurt shop. If you want more details o
Angelique Simonsen
Sep 14, 2017 rated it liked it
I remember listening to a podcast about the girls being killed in the ice cream shop in Texas. this adds to it, done well but was at times a lil bit confusing
Jul 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
Didn’t really know what to expect from this book, but I kinda liked it. It was different, but in a good way.
Megan  (thebookishtwins)
I received this free from the publisher via netgalley

In a Texas town, three girls are bound and murdered in an ice-cream shop. See How Small follows the lives of those affected by the murder, such as the family, witnesses and suspects.

This is a really hard book for me to review. The beginning seemed promising, but due to the nonlinear narrative, I found it really hard to get my head around and to actually enjoy it. While I was very intrigued by the beginning with the strong opening, I just coul
Oct 17, 2014 rated it it was ok
**I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review.**

I thought that the concept of See How Small was very interesting, and I was looking forward to reading it. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. I almost stopped reading but wanted to give it a fair chance so that I could give it an accurate review.

First of all, there were too many characters introduced too quickly. I found it hard to keep track of everyone, how they related to the story line, and how they relat
Feb 14, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015
This book is one that changes points of view, uses a lot of imagery, and even has a crazy guy whose point of view we hear every now and then. While I was reading it, I thought, "either this is really brilliant or it's awful." I still and not sure of my conclusion, but I am leaning toward the latter. It really reminded me of "The Sound and the Fury" by William Faulkner, except that I love Faulkner. I imagine that if I read this several times it would start to make sense, but certainly not on the ...more
Denise Mullins
Feb 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
While this is a short book, it manages to convincingly convey a broad range of emotions through a variety of narrator voices. Although some readers found this confusing, to me, it created a poignant pacing and spiritual connectedness of characters. Blackwood plainly recounts the heinous murder of three teens in the first pages with a minimum of detail. This clearly belies his skill as a writer, because as the reader's imagination embellishes the facts of this brutal scene, he then periodically i ...more
Dusty Cox-Medina
Jul 04, 2015 rated it it was ok
I picked this book back up a few days ago thinking maybe I wasn't into it the first time I tried reading it. I really struggled to get through it. It grabbed my attention right away (I had to start over since I last picked it up), but then several chapters in, it dropped off. I understand what the author was doing with the characters. I get that we were suppose to see where their lives went after the tragedy. But it just didn't cut it for me... I can't remember the last time I forced myself to r ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Godshot
  • Get in Trouble
  • Seating Arrangements
  • The Love We Share Without Knowing
  • The First True Lie
  • The Madman's Library: The Strangest Books, Manuscripts and Other Literary Curiosities from History
  • Loner
  • Blinking with Fists: Poems
  • The Last Story of Mina Lee
  • The Holdout
  • Super in the City
  • The Barrytown Trilogy: The Commitments / The Snapper / The Van
  • The Secret in Their Eyes
  • The Heiresses
  • Hush Now Baby (Sloane Monroe #6)
  • The Cockroach
  • Straight On Till Morning (A Twisted Tale: Peter Pan)
  • Dear Yvette (Throwback Diaries, #2)
See similar books…
Scott Blackwood is the author of three books of fiction, including the forthcoming novel SEE HOW SMALL (Little Brown and Company and HarperCollins U.K. 2015). Blackwood was a 2011 Whiting Writers' Award recipient and his first novel, WE AGREED TO MEET JUST HERE, set in the Deep Eddy Neighborhood of Austin, Texas, won the AWP Prize for the Novel, Texas Institute of Letters Award for best work of fi ...more

Related Articles

We asked Alice Bolin, author of Dead Girls: Essays on Surviving an American Obsession, and journalist-turned-crime novelist Laura...
100 likes · 49 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »