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Saturday, September 10, 2016
At the end of the summer I began You Will Know Me, by Meg Abbot. Every morning as I jogged through the blocks of my neighborhood, I listened to this pseudo-thriller about an Olympic-hopeful gymnast and her mother. It was usually pretty warm outside as I ran, it was always humid, and more often than not my knees hurt because I've been in the habit of running for nearly twenty years, and well, that takes a toll. But the story was good enough to keep me going. Abbot's use of description is jaw-droppingly good and had me thinking, "Wow, I don't use description well AT ALL." The more I read, the more I write, and the more I study writing, the more I am convinced that effectively conveying the big picture is done by focusing on the details, and Meg Abbot is nearly poetic in how she uses detail to create a picture and establish emotion. I was truly inspired.
The book got great reviews from places like the New York Times and other major publications, and slightly higher than mediocre reviews from readers on Amazon. Some say the story moves to slow. It's about Devon, a fourteen year old girl who wants to become an elite gymnast. Right as her last chance to do so comes up, a young man connected to the gym where she trains is murdered, and that has major implications for everyone involved. The plot centers around Devon's mother, Katie, and we are privy to her thoughts and actions throughout. While I wouldn't call the book slow, I did get frustrated at times that Katie was slow, not putting two and two together when anyone else would. I also saw the end coming, but that's okay. It was more about the getting there, and the getting there was done pretty well.
One tiny little rant though - I've noticed lately in several books that when a protagonist is a woman with a teenage daughter, the woman still can't be older than her mid-thirties. What's that about? In You Will Know Me, Katie and her husband Eric supposedly got married and had Devon by the time Katie was nineteen? Okay, but the rest of their back-story doesn't make sense: how they managed to buy a house, establish a career without ever going to school, remember past relationships, etc. It was just unnecessary. Why is it so horrible to have a female protagonist over forty?
And one other thing: SPOILER ALERT! Don't read this part if you don't want the ending ruined.
Once we finally found out that Devon was in a relationship with hot-guy Ryan, we still never really know what he saw in her. He was twenty-three and in a relationship with a very attractive woman his own age. Devon was fifteen and hadn't even hit puberty, due to her gymnastics career. Meg Abbot really needed to give more information on how that worked, because I JUST DIDN'T BUY IT.