You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz

you should have knownGrace Reinhart Sachs is living the only life she ever wanted for herself, devoted to her husband, a pediatric oncologist at a major cancer hospital, their young son, Henry, and the patients she sees in her therapy practice. Grace is also the author of the forthcoming You Should Have Known, a book in which she castigates women for not valuing their intuition and calls upon them to pay attention to their first impressions of men.

But weeks before the book is published, a chasm opens in her own life: a violent death, a missing husband, and, in the place of a man Grace thought she knew, only a chain of terrible revelations. Left behind in the wake of a spreading and very public disaster, and horrified by the ways in which she has failed to heed her own advice, Grace must dismantle one life and create another for her child and herself.*

A lot of the reviews for this book complain that the answer to the “mystery” of who committed the crime in the story is too obvious. This is completely accurate, as I think it’s fairly obvious even just from reading the description on the book jacket, but that does not detract from the story in any way. I still became attached to each of the characters, and invested in what happens to them. There is a fascinating psychological aspect to the novel, and a lot of plot twists that arise unexpectedly, deepening the intrigue of the story. The book is extremely well-written as well, though there were some details that were emphasized a little too much toward the beginning–we get why Grace thinks Jonathan became a pediatric oncologist! But that emphasis just serves to reinforce how little Grace truly knew about her husband.

The two complaints I have about the book both have to do with the dog Grace and Henry adopt toward the end….the author makes a strong point that they avoided adopting a pit bull, waiting until there was another dog available at the shelter, even driving to a further shelter to get a hound as opposed to a pit! Ugh. Also, Grace left the dog outside when it’s repeatedly mentioned that it’s winter and still cold….really? Really?? Okay, now that I’ve gotten my animal rights views out there, seriously, go read this book! And then maybe write a strongly worded letter to the author about the two canine-related issues mentioned above (just kidding).

Overall, this was a really great read that got a 4/5 from me. If you love the psychological and emotional aspects of a story more than a real mystery, then this is the book for you.

*The synopsis and photo posted here were taken from Amazon and are not my own.


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