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3.62  ·  Rating details ·  7,059 ratings  ·  821 reviews
The New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Island of Lost Girls and Promise Not to Tell returns with a chilling novel in which the secrets of the past come back to haunt a group of friends in terrifying ways.

Dismantlement = Freedom
Henry, Tess, Winnie, and Suz banded together in college to form a group they called the Compassionate Dismantlers. Following the fir
Hardcover, 422 pages
Published June 16th 2009 by Harper
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Average rating 3.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,059 ratings  ·  821 reviews

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i have been trying to write this review for almost an hour. in between i have eaten peanut-butter and jelly on english muffins (and now on space bar and several letters) and have drifted off-topic numerous times, and erased tons of irrelevant crap. much irrelevance remains, but the short version of this review is:

i enjoyed reading this book, but it is not good.

this is a perfect rebound book for proust - after a long relationship, you just want to have a silly fling with someone stupid - to jus
Jun 28, 2009 rated it did not like it
Oh goodness. I feel like Dismantled is intrinsically flawed. Which is sort of a shame, because it’s a strong concept, with much potential for strong commentary on art, guilt, youth, sexual fluidity. Unfortunately, the novel reads one-dimensionally, as if the characters and plot live only to serve McMahon’s themes. Four college friends ten years ago created an anarchic secret society (the “Compassionate Dismantlers”), which blew up in all their faces when their charismatic but dangerous leader Su ...more
Jun 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Jennifer McMahon has the most disturbing covers in the book business.....real pictures of creepy children staring out at you. It's like a whole shelf of "Children of the Corn" and "Village of the Damned" at the bookstore. I told you before that I read "Island of Lost Girls" on vacation and did not want to do anything else but read. I was so anxious to read "Dismantled", McMahon's latest. Wow! It did not disappoint!

One of McMahon's strong points is going
L.E. Fidler
this book can best be summed up as the rough equivalent of maclean's hospital's summer stock re-envisioning of the seminal brat pack flick "the breakfast club."

instead of the jock, the princess, the brain, the beauty, the rebel, and the recluse, mcmahon gives us the bisexual nihilistic arsonist, the borderline-personalitied poet sniper, the philandering closeted obsessive-compulsive frigid-artist-housewife, the extremely fertile yet slightly homicidal alcoholic sculptor, and the possibly schizo
Jun 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2010
Holy cow... I had no clue what I was getting into when I started this book!! Dismantled was such an enthralling and utterly absorbing read! I absolutely loved this book and spent every free moment I could find reading more. Despite its 422 pages, it's likely one that could be read in a sitting (or a day) because of the way the story hooks the reader; (unfortunately, I literally don't have the time right now to read that much in one go so it still took me a couple days.)

Dismantled is a superbly w
Katerina  Kondrenko
2 out of 10

ревью на русском/review in russian

One of the early books by the author. Maybe this is the reason why it feels so off. Some parts were creepy, but, all in all, everything is meeeeeh. No character depth I got used in other McMahon's works, no atmospheric setting. Like a C-movie. Not a Z, thank god, but not even a B. And I didn't like this book's translation.

My Reviews for Other McMahon's Books:
The Invited
The Winter People
The Night Sister
Feb 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thriller
"Is it possible, Henry wonders, that your fears can take on a life of their own? Is this what ghosts are - things worried into existence, frantic energy manifesting itself in an almost physical way?"

This felt like a real, grown up ghost story for me. I loved the twists and turns - I swore I knew the ending more than once, but nope. Stumped me.

There has to be something said for a thriller that can freeeeeak you out without there being any graphic violence. Just good old creepy eeriness.

This was
There’s a simple truth about me when it comes to books. If you tell me that something is a lot like The Virgin Suicides or The Secret History, then I’m going to read it. I don’t care if the books don’t live up to what they may or may not be imitating. I’m just happy to have more books that are a lot like two of my favorites. So, while reading Dismantled, I was pumped about its comparison to The Secret History. Since I haven’t read the latter since 2000, I couldn’t do a minute-by-minute compariso ...more
Feb 20, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: horrible
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 02, 2011 rated it did not like it
I was so excited to be given this book which had arrived at the bookstore where I used to work. The manager there knew I was a huge fan of McMahon’s novel Promise Not to Tell, and so she passed this along.

Dismantled is the story of the Compassionate Dismantlers, four art students: Tess, Henry, Winnie and the charismatic Suz. The Compassionate Dismantlers believe that “to understand the nature of a thing you have to take it apart.” What they really believe, it seems, is that you can ruin someone
Jul 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
This book has a complicated plot. The story keeps you guessing until the end, which I appreciate in books but when I got to the end of this one, I felt a sense of deja vu. Between the ages of 13-16 I was obsessed with Fear Street books…R.L. Stine was by far my favorite author and I couldn’t get enough of his creepy stories. This book felt like a grown up version of a Fear Street book. There are a lot of twists and turns and just when you think you have it all figured out, the author turns it aro ...more
Aug 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I ummed and ahhed about what to give this book - it is not a book you read because you love the people in it, or even relate particularly well to the story. But boy oh boy did it grab me and keep me wide-eyed reading till the early hours of the morning.

So what was it that gripped me so tightly in a book of characters that filled me with distaste much of the time?

The basic premise is one of an 'I know what you did last summer' type of story. Suz rides in to town (college) and inflicts herself upo
Feb 21, 2013 rated it did not like it
I am not completely done with this book but I am going to review it. I HATE it. And this isn't hate in the way I hated seeing Mila Kunis's butt in whatever that stupid movie was. This is hate as in this women has written five books, yes five now and as much as I enjoy her writing I would rate this as number six because whatever she writes next cannot POSSIBLY be this bad. I don't write out the plot of books because newsflash if you are interested and you want to know the plot you are already onl ...more
April Thompson
Apr 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
What. The. Fuck. That's what I've been asking myself throughout the whole book. The last time (and only time) I've felt mind-blown was while reading Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl. This started out confusing and I almost DNF; however, I picked it back up after setting it down for over a month. The confusion continued for me throughout the book, but the pull of the unknown, the fucked up, made me devour it after I kept going. This was quite the whirl wind of a book. No clue how to classify it - Thrill ...more
I'm all for a good prank, but when someone dies because of it. You. Went. To. Far. This was a crazy story of friends who like to pull dangerous pranks until something horrible goes wrong. My father would have whipped my ass if I pulled anything like they had regardless of age! If he could catch me. ...more
Renita D'Silva
Sep 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Haunting and thrilling. Loved it.
”We will change the world by taking it apart, dismantling it piece by piece. Break it down. Tear it up. Only then can we be truly free.”

Synopsis: What would happen if the Losers Club grew up to be privileged, anarchist college students who want nothing more than to watch the world burn? You’ll find your answers here.

* Jennifer McMahon is the author of two of my favorite books, The Winter People and The Night Sister. But this is a rare misfire from her. Four friends who m
Apr 24, 2011 rated it liked it
"In order to truly understand something, you have to take it apart."

The above-statement is the maxim that drove the protagonists of this novel to form a group called the Compassionate Dismantlers, a sort hippy dippy "artistic" terrorist organization that the main characters founded ten years before the actual events of the book took place. (We get glimpses of the Compassionate Dismantlers, who they were and what they stood for, throughout the novel, through a collection of flashbacks, character
Aug 17, 2011 rated it liked it
Tess, Henry and their daughter Emma live a comfortable life in a small community. By all appearances, they are a happy couple. Emma seems to have a touch of OCD, but she is getting by and has a best friend at school. A troubled past lurks beneath the surface, though, and it is about to change all their lives forever.

Ten years in the past, Tess and Henry were part of a small group of college students calling itself the Compassionate Dismantlers. Led by a charismatic student named Suz, the Disman
Mar 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2010march
Any book compared to The Secret History is sort of set up to fail. I mean, look at The Little Friend. Donna Tartt couldn't even match her freshman effort.

And Jennifer McMahon doesn't even come close -- disappointing me doubly, since one of my favorite authors (Stewart O'Nan) wrote the blurb in question.

From page one till literally the very last one, Dismantled walks a fine line between suspense and ridiculousness. I have to admit that it didn't quite fall off the balance beam, but the fact that
For my written review, please check out the link below:
Debra's Book Cafe

Debs :-)
Jenni DaVinCat
I really struggled with this rating, because while I was extremely entertained by this book there was something about it that makes me want to give it squinty eyes.

The plot is super entertaining and only partially uses her popular literary device of going back and forth through time. I believe this was her third book ever written, so she likely was still defining her style. The twists and turns of the plot keep you guessing a good amount of the time, but if you sit down and think rationally, it
Jen (The Jenerator)
Jun 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mcmahon-jennifer
Whoa. Wait! What?!
Ludwig Reads
Oct 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Dismantled has a really complex plot with a series of weird, creepy occurrences.

The story alternates between the “summer of the dismantlers” - the dismantlers being a group of close friends who used to hike the woods, and...basically do some crazy, bizarre stuff there; they believe in creating chaos as a way of “creating a balance” - and the present, where we get to explore the POVs of two of these friends who are now married, and haunted by a dangerous stalker.

This book is descriptive and slo
Mar 03, 2011 rated it it was ok

Extraordinarily reminiscent of Donna Tarrt's The Secret History, this sees a group of people ten years after they were a college clique called The Dismantlers, whose ethos was that "to understand the nature of a thing it must be taken apart". The end point of their destructive pranks was the semi-accidental murder of the instigator of The Dismantlers' exploits, Suz, the promiscuous star around which the others orbited, reflecting her light. At the time, the death was adroitly concealed from the
(My copy is published as "Girl in the Woods")

Desperate to re-unite her parents, Emma sends their old university friends a postcard with the message
DISMANTLEMENT = FREEDOM. To understand the nature of a thing, it must be taken apart

This seemingly innocent act creates a chain of events that none of them could have anticipated or forseen the havoc that it wreaks on their lives. The story plays out in the present with flashbacks to the past in which we learn what the Compassionate Disse
Yum, yum, yum. Let me pause a moment to wash the dripping chocolate nutella off of my hands before I type any more. Yes, I am being metaphorical, but also literal...nothing like a mid-afternoon chocolate snack.

This book is awful. Really, there are a few major flaws in the plot (Emma and Danner...okay Danner can be a ghost rather than an imaginary friend, but why is she kind sometimes and evil others?) and the whole "it was really Winnie" plot twist was one too many (a bit scooby-doo removing the
Liberty Abbott-Sylvester
Jul 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves intense suspense and shocking endings!
Wow! Wow! Wow! This book is un-put-down-able! It seems a little weird at first but it has to be in order to take you into the strange lives of these four friends-artist who form a club and not only create art but dismantle it to find the deeper meaning. The club starts out harmless enough but when one of them starts going too far, dismantling more than just art, someone has to put a stop to it all.
Years later, with one member dead and the others gone their seperate ways, the past comes back to v
Jul 05, 2009 rated it liked it
The writing itself if solid, but a few pieces of the narrative are unpolished, as not all the puzzle pieces fall into place at the end of the book. The ending does not satisfactorily explain all the occurrences pertaining to the Danner-Emma-Suz connection.
Aug 05, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
I loved Promise Not To Tell.....what happened with this book? I found it hard to get page 80 it was still dragging for me. I found the characters to be depressing, as well as the subject matter.
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I'm the author of nine suspense novels, including Promise Not to Telll, The Winter People, and my newest, The Drowning Kind. I live in central Vermont with my partner and daughter, in an old Victorian that some neighbors call The Addams Family house. ...more

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