K's Reviews > I'd Know You Anywhere

I'd Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman
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's review
Jul 15, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: audiobooks, mysteriesthrillers

This book begs to be compared with Still Missing. In both books, we meet a woman who was once abducted and learn her story through flashbacks to the kidnapping alternating with events in her current free life. Unfortunately for I'd Know You Anywhere, Still Missing comes out way ahead.

Unlike the plucky and resourceful protagonist of Still Missing, Eliza (formerly Elizabeth) is a passive and uninteresting character. We do have to cut her some slack because her abduction takes place when she is a tender fifteen; at the same time, Eliza is no less passive in her adult life. When Eliza's former kidnapper (Walter) contacts her from death row requesting some conversation with her, Eliza simply plods along after some token hesitation. Eliza is somehow surrounded by obnoxious individuals in her life -- her exaggeratedly adolescent daughter Iso, her narcissistic older sister Vonnie, a particularly vile death penalty protester who has taken up Walter's cause and is intensely invested in having Eliza meet with Walter -- and Eliza nearly always responds by turning the other cheek, not out of sainthood but almost out of laziness it seems. The passivity which is far more understandable in a young kidnapping victim makes for a rather uncompelling adult character. I got the sense that Laura Lippman wanted us to feel Eliza had grown by the end of the book, but I found her growth a bit unconvincing.

Then there were the excessive domestic details of Eliza's current suburban housewife existence, the inclusion of which appears to be inspired by the Ayelet Waldman school of writing. I get the fact that Eliza is now a homemaker. I don't need to hear every detail of every bakefest or car trip or children's squabble. It slowed the book down unnecessarily and seemed to serve no purpose other than filler. I also found a lot of the dialogue contrived and superfluous, and felt that Lippman went a little crazy with the shifting viewpoints.

So why three stars? Well, the premise was actually interesting even if the execution didn't measure up. I liked the exploration of Eliza and Walter's relationship (Stockholm syndrome?) and the question of how to handle it when your former kidnapper wants to get in touch with you (although it wouldn't have been a question for me, and it remained unclear to me why Eliza agreed to speak to Walter at all). A few other interesting questions were raised as well, even if they were dealt with imperfectly.

Overall, not a book I would particularly recommend but not bad for audio.
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Reading Progress

July 15, 2011 – Started Reading
July 15, 2011 – Shelved
July 15, 2011 – Shelved as: audiobooks
July 15, 2011 – Shelved as: mysteriesthrillers
July 21, 2011 –
July 22, 2011 – Finished Reading

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