Every morning, as her husband Mike straps on his SIG Sauer and pulls on his heavy Magnum boots, Jamie Anderson tenses up. Then comes the call she has always dreaded: There’s been a shooting at police headquarters. Mike isn’t hurt, but his long-time partner is grievously injured. As weeks pass and her husband’s insomnia and disconnectedness mount, Jamie realizes he is an invisible casualty of the attack. Then the phone rings again. Another shooting—but this time Mike has pulled the trigger.
But the shooting does more than just alter Jamie’s world. It’s about to change everything for two other women. Christie Simmons, Mike’s flamboyant ex, sees the tragedy as an opportunity for a second chance with Mike. And Jamie’s younger sister, Lou, must face her own losses to help the big sister who raised her. As the press descends and public cries of police brutality swell, Jamie tries desperately to hold together her family, no matter what it takes. (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)
I need to say that I absolutely adore Sarah Pekkanen. I had the pleasure of meeting her a few years ago at Watchung Booksellers (along with Randy Susan Meyers). I love how this time around Sarah chose to bring a different type of depth into the story. It’s simply a coincidence that this book came out around the time that our nation has been seeing multiple police shootings of African American youngsters. I can imagine this being a difficult topic to write about, one that is emotionally charged.
Things You Won’t Say is now my favorite of all of Sarah’s books. It actually got crowned my first 2015 favorite. (Note that my previous one was Skipping a Beat. I highly recommend it!)
I really enjoyed how the story is alternately narrated from the perspectives of Jamie, Lou and Christie. Jamie is the nurturing type, and would do anything for her family. She’s the kind of person that will go to the ends of the earth for her loved ones. Lou is the epitome of an animal lover. She’s a zoo keeper, who would actually love to live at the zoo, as opposed to leave work at night and go to her “home.” She finds such peace when she’s with her animals. With Christie, in the beginning I thought she was just going to be up to no good. However, as the story goes on, we start to see her trying really hard to be a mother that her son deserves.
If you’re looking for an emotional read filled with complex characters, strong women’s relationships, marriage, and family, then definitely add this to your beach reads list!
I have to agree with Amy about Things You Won't Say not only being a favorite of Sarah Pekkanen's novels, but also earning a spot on my 2015 favorites list. I was blown away by this compelling story that allows readers to see both sides of a controversial issue. Sarah writes about this issue in a heartfelt and sensitive way, leaving me teary-eyed quite a few times.
I felt an instant kinship with Jamie, as we're both mothers of three kids and trying to balance everything in our lives. When one person experiences a stressful situation, although ours is not as stressful as Mike's, it still takes a toll on everyone emotionally. I liked how Lou was able to drop everything to help her sister in a time of crisis. Even though she messed things up at times, her heart was in the right place. And I agree with Amy about how it was hard to trust Christie at first, based on how she was described in the synopsis, but then we both warmed to her.
Overall, Things You Won't Say was hard to put down and felt so realistic that I kept forgetting it was a book. The ending wrapped up a bit too neatly, but it was also a nice respite from the heaviness. The story had a Jodi Picoult feel, and not just because of the elephants. Sarah Pekkanen has a true winner on her hands and I'm already clamoring for what she'll come out with next!
My dream movie cast...
Jamie: Katherine Heigl
Lou: Natasha Lyonne
Christie: Ali Larter
Mike: Joe Manganiello
Donny: Steve Zahn
Thanks to Atria for the books in exchange for an honest review.
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