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As Good as Dead

2.88  ·  Rating details ·  172 ratings  ·  50 reviews
At the high-octane Iowa Writers' Workshop, small-town Charlotte is thrilled and confounded by her relationship with charismatic and sophisticated Esmé: One moment, Esmé appears to be Charlotte's most intimate friend; the next, her rival. After a tumultuous weekend, Charlotte's insecurities and her resentment toward Esmé reach a fever pitch. Blindly, Charlotte strikes out-i ...more
Hardcover, 258 pages
Published March 3rd 2015 by Bloomsbury USA
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Elyse Walters
Nov 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
4.5 Rating Magnificently crafted story. Slow to start, which is insightful in itself because our intimacy with each of the characters grows organically. The author examines the complexity of friendships, relationships, and secrets.

Brilliantly and sharply written! This story will resonate with anyone who has ever wavered in choices made, and felt self-conscious while at the same time feeling confident, (ie about one's job, talent, beauty, economic status).

The biggest weakness is the book's 'tit
Apr 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
Oh man. This is a hard review to write. I really wanted to get into this book. I really, really did. (I'm from IC and was looking forward to getting an insider's perspective on the Iowa Writer's Workshop.) The title grabbed me. However, this book is like a paint by number picture. All the parts of the picture are there and technically correct, but there's no passion. I tried to feel something - love, hate, disgust, you name it - for ANY of the four main characters, but I didn't really care what ...more
Tina Hayes
Jan 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: vine, literary
AS GOOD AS DEAD by Elizabeth Evans falls more into the genre of literary fiction, and is not the "exquisitely tuned psychological high-wire act" the jacket blurb described it as.

The book is about Charlotte dealing with an old college friend. She lived with Esme for a short time 20 years before, Charlotte made a bad choice back then and now Esme shows up at her house. Parts of this book are very touching, and the reader gets to see Charlotte grow as a person despite a few hard circumstances she
Joanne Robertson
Sep 29, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I think that from the synopsis of this novel I was expecting something a little more dramatic, a psychological thriller with a build up to a "what happened 20 years ago" volcano erupting. But I was sadly disappointed.
This novel follows Charlotte who 20 years ago was room mates with Esme at a writer's workshop. Things happened and they went their separate ways until Esme shows up on Charlottes doorstep, with an invitation to dinner. But Charlotte had tried to contact Esme and had no reply so why,
Jan 16, 2015 rated it liked it
As Good As Dead
Elizabeth Evans

The main and most important characters in this book...

Esme and Charlotte are the key players in this book. We can add husbands...Jeremy and Will...but both are very annoying!

My very brief story summary that includes bits and bobs from the beginning, middle and end of this book...

Esme and Charlotte were friends earlier in their lives...they met at a writer's workshop sort of event and became roommates. Due to a " crazed out of her mind" event that was a betrayal to
Julie G
Mar 11, 2015 rated it liked it
For the most part, I think the writing here was nicely done. I think the author did a fantastic job of capturing the characters, up until the end. And maybe my critique of the end belongs more in the entertainment value portion of the review. The problem I had was with a character who basically abdicates all personal responsibility to her husband and allows him to solve her problems for her. I'm not sure whether I can legitimately consider this a writing issue, because it is in line with
Andy Miller
Jun 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
One attractive quirk about this novel is that the author went to the famous Iowa Writer's workshop and that workshop is key to the novel. So when Charlotte, the main character, recounts her time at the workshop from 20 years earlier, including the parties, the manipulations, the visiting famous writers, there is a ring of authenticity

Charlotte is a successful author/writing professor at the University of Arizona where her husband is also a professor. Charlotte unexpectedly receives a visit from
Feb 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, fiction
Based on the synopsis and the ominous title, I was expecting something sinister from this book. Esme and Charlotte had an uneasy friendship when they were roommates at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. So when Esme suddenly appears at Charlotte’s front door twenty-some years later, I was anticipating that she was some knife-wielding psychopath looking to settle a vendetta. It’s really much tamer than that and most of the book is Charlotte’s recollections of how she wronged Esme and the difficulties of ...more
Jan 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received an ARC. As Good As Dead is an appropriate title since betrayal stopped the relationship between two friends. The one who was betrayed probably has written off her friendship with woman who has done the wrong thing. At the same time, though, I felt the friendship was little tensed at times due to envy. I think it was inevitable that it would end. Fear is at the heart of this story in my opinion. I think Charlotte was afraid to be herself at times and wanted her best friend to like her. ...more
Nov 08, 2014 rated it liked it
The plot, characters and writing style all had be completely captivated until the end. I actually thought "that's it?" when I read the last paragraph. There was fantastic foreshadowing and build up to every secret revealed by Charlotte that had me on the edge of my seat and I think ending deserved to be more along the same lines.
Joselyn Schwerdt
Jun 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
I really enjoyed the writing and character development. Unfortunately, the story was lacking and did not hold interest to me.
Rhonda Lomazow
Apr 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is as a page turning read for me A knock on a door old friends reconnecting .a hidden past act that could destroy marriages .
Jul 16, 2017 rated it liked it
In Elizabeth Evans’ novel As Good as Dead, 40-something Charlotte Price has built a solid if unspectacular career as a novelist while teaching creative writing at the University of Arizona, where her husband Will also teaches. Twenty years earlier, Charlotte was a student at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. At Iowa, she met Esmé Cole. As a matter of convenience, the two young women—both fiction writers—became roommates, building a friendship based, at least in part, on a mutual need for companionship ...more
Jan 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Charlotte Price is a pathetic nit wit with no self respect. This is not a line from the novel but my own observation.

As Good As Dead is the story of two women who meet at a writer’s workshop, claim to be “friends” yet do little to show that except for an occasional moment. They grow distant over the years, with Charlotte harboring a secret that causes stress on their relationship as well as with her husband.

Without giving really anything a way, the reader should be prepared for a lot of whining
Martin Payne
Jun 03, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Fitzgerald said that the exclamation point was like laughing at your own joke. Elizabeth Evans must have spent every day of writing this novel in hysterics.
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
Good characters but not an interesting enough storyline
Asra Ghouse
This review was first published in The Hans India

A friendship from 20 years ago, a long held secret, mistakes from the past and the unceasing gnaw of guilt—this is literary fiction at its best; a treat for lovers of books and good writing

An ocean full of secrets
Almost everyone has that one friend whom you wronged and wish to avoid for the rest of your life yet; deep down you have a yearning to redeem yourself in front of that person.

Best friends and roommates, Charlotte and Esmé have everything
Cleo Bannister
Nov 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Firstly this book appears to be marketed as a psychological thriller which revolves around an event twenty years in the past, this isn’t a good reflection of the book as the drama that is associated with this type of read is more or less entirely missing. What the reader does get is a look at the lives of two women who were undoubtedly set on a path by the crucial event. It is a look at friendship, loyalty and perhaps more subtly responsibility.

Charlotte is shy and comes from a non-literary back
Jill's Book Cafe
Sep 29, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I was looking forward to reading this from the blurb as it sounded intriguing and was billed as an exquisitely tuned psychological high-wire act.

It started well, when Charlotte's old college friend Esme appeared unannounced on her doorstep. It was clear that Charlotte was both pleased but apprehensive after having tried to make her own contact with her years previously. The first question Charlotte was asking herself was why show up now and the second was did Esme know what happened all those y
Nov 19, 2015 rated it liked it
A shy girl from a small town and working class family, Charlotte is ecstatic to be accepted into the prestigious Iowa Writers Workshop. She heads to Iowa City to find an apartment and meets the beautiful and beguiling Esme. She and Esme move in together and become best friends. Many years pass and Charlotte is a published author and tenured professor. Her university boyfriend, who was away in Italy completing his doctoral research while Charlotte lived with Esma, is now her husband, and he and C ...more
Sep 29, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-kindle
As Good as Dead is described in the book notes as "an exquisitely tuned psychological high-wire act" and unfortunately this is a bit misleading. As I went into this book I was expecting a fast paced psychological thriller and instead i got a literary analysis of Charlotte's relationships with her short-lived college room mate Esme and with the effect that it continues to have on her adult life.

Charlotte is a small town Iowa girl and when she goes off to college to study to be a writer she is sh
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Oct 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The basic premise is the events that follow an old college friend (Esmé) suddenly arriving back in the life of the main character (Charlotte) after 20 years. Esmé was very important to Charlotte for a brief period of time, a larger than life extrovert who made a significant impact on Charlotte only to then disappear from her life for various reasons. This really intrigued me, not least because I can think of at least a couple of people I went to university with, intensely important to me at the ...more
Lynn Brown
Dec 21, 2015 rated it liked it

I settled down with this book hoping for a really intriguing read. Unfortunately my intrigue waned when the book began to weave back and forth and bring in issues from the past. I read on hoping that these would be integral to the story - which they were, but it was so drawn out that when we came back to the future I thought I had missed something. I read on and no I hadn't missed anything, seems like the central character Charlotte just really likes stringing out a story.

What I did love were th
Oct 21, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Unfortunately my interest waned reading this book, especially when it weaved back and forth, whilst it was important that the author did this to introduce issues from the past, I found it tedious and felt tempted to skim parts.

The description of this being "an exquisitely tuned psychological high-wire act" was unfortunately somewhat misleading. It verged on a biopic tale of one woman charting her friendship and relationships from university days to present. Her tempestuous relationship with an
Laurie Neighbors
Jan 15, 2016 rated it it was ok
Update: In terms of my critique below, it got worse. But I finished it (skimming a few of the last scenes), so there must have been something keeping me in the story. Not the characters, not the plot -- so it must be the writing itself.


I read most of this novel on the plane ride home from San Antonio to San Francisco. The saint-to-saint direct flight, about four hours.

By "most" I mean that I'm done yet. I have another fifty pages or so. And I will read them, though I'm not particularly insp
Debbie Payne
May 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was given to me in a Goodread’s giveaway in exchange for an honest review.

“As Good as Dead” was a wonderful read by an articulate writer. I read this book in a day. A great way to while away the morning on the Fourth of July.

The relationships between characters were rich and fraught with secrets and complexities across 20 years of their lives. So many wonderful layers to explore. I am sure that many readers of this book will look back to earlier friendships and give pause to either goo
Aug 31, 2015 rated it it was ok
A writer is reunited with an old "best" friend from long ago. They were so close, they shared secrets, they knew each others lives pretty well. When Esme, who at one time was wildly popular & beautiful, shows up at Charlotte's door in Arizona, Charlotte is not quite sure what to think. Esme has changed, does not quite look the same, she is chunky, not quite as beautiful as she once was. They had lost touch for a long while, what could she want? To rekindle their friendship? Or something wors ...more
Jun 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Don't we all make mistakes? do they all come back to haunt us 20 years later? Even though the main character states her traits as being shy, reticent, and socially wanting, don't we all have those moments? Haven't even the most confident of us seen someone else that we would like to be like? Don't we all do things against our better judgment and out of character to fit in with someone else or some group? This book had me thinking of my choices in life and how wanting to "fit in" may have made me ...more
Dec 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Charlotte and Will have been married for 20 years. They both teach at a university in Arizona and there life is about to change when Esme knocks on their door. Esme was once Charlotte's best friend and she is now trying to blackmail her. This story is well written, flipping back and forth between present day and the Iowa Writer's conference 20 years ago. I like Charlotte but found her a little weak in the 1st part of the book. I'm glad she developed into a strong woman who takes a bad situation ...more
Andrea MacPherson
Jun 30, 2015 rated it it was ok
Oh, how I wanted to live this book. A writers workshop! Secrets! All thr makings of a literary page turner.

But the stakes were never high enough for me, and the characters felt wooden. I had a very, very hard time believing some of the plot points, and the workshop references (including a few random paragraphs devoted to David Foster Wallace, for no reason) and setting felt unnecessary.

This could have been a great novel, but it fell flat to me. I've heard that it was expanded from a short stor
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Elizabeth Evans was born, raised, and educated in Iowa. She attended Cornell College and the University of Iowa, where she received a Master of Fine Arts degree at the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

Evans is the author of six books of fiction: As Good As Dead (March 2015), Rowing in Eden, Carter Clay, which was selected by the Los Angeles Times Book Review for the Best Books of 1999, and The Blue Hour, w