Review: Testimony

Title:  Testimony

Author:  Anita Shreve

Published:  October 21, 2008

Page Count:  320

Genre:  Contemporary Fiction

My Rating:  3.5/5

At a New England boarding school, a sex scandal is about to break. Even more shocking than the sexual acts themselves is the fact that they were caught on videotape. A Pandora’s box of revelations, the tape triggers a chorus of voices–those of the men, women, teenagers, and parents involved in the scandal–that details the ways in which lives can be derailed or destroyed in one foolish moment.

I chose to go with a very short description for Testimony because I think most of you have heard a lot about this novel and already know what it’s about (if not, the title links to Amazon, where you can read several other detailed descriptions).  And actually, I’m feeling pretty stuck with this review because the book has been reviewed SO many times by so many fantastic bloggers that I don’t feel that I have anything particularly new or exciting to add.  I will say that I have read several of Anita Shreve’s books, and Testimony is by far the most fast-paced and exciting of the ones I’ve read.  While I was reading the book, I was completely caught up in the story, quickly turning pages because I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next.  But now that it’s been a week or so since I’ve finished the book, I’m feeling kind of “meh” about it.  None of the characters are overly memorable and even the story itself… it was good.  Nothing amazing.  I don’t know, I guess I was hoping for more.  A lot of the reviews I’ve linked to below share the same(ish) sentiment: I liked it, didn’t love it.  

I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about where Shreve took the plot.  Obviously I can’t say too much about that, given that I typically do spoiler-free reviews.  But there were several aspects of the book about which I’m just not sure how I feel.  Especially relating to the girl at the center of the story.  I don’t think I like how Shreve portrayed her – the girl had practically no personality, and what personality she did have made her seem to be exactly the way the boys said she was – like “she asked for it”, as they said.  I’m just not sure how comfortable I am with an author (a female author, especially) portraying a fourteen-year-old girl the way this girl was portrayed.  I don’t know.  I guess she was trying to be “edgy” or something, making the reader feel so much compassion for these boys while not allowing the reader to get to know the girl… but something about it was super uncomfortable for me.

I did like the ending.  Not what I expected, that’s for sure.  Overall, like I said – a good book.  Just nothing incredible and as I type this, I’m having a difficult time thinking of details that stand out in my mind.  So I’ll just go ahead and end the review here, and encourage you to read some of the fabulous reviews I have listed below.  

More reviews –

10 thoughts on “Review: Testimony”

  1. I’m still undecided whether I want to give this one a go or not. I like that you found it fast-paced and exciting while you were reading it. I’ve read a few reviews that didn’t like the characterization of the girl at the center of the story. I’ll definitely have to think about this some more!

    1. The thing is, it’s not THE BEST BOOK EVER or anything like it. It’s just a pretty good book, one that you’ll enjoy while reading it (or at least, I think you will), but if you’re like me, you’ll probably forget about it not too soon after.

  2. I’ve never read an Anita Shreve book, though I’ve seen her books around a lot – this one especially! It sounds pretty intriguing, but I think I’ll hold out for the paperback.

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