Book Reviews

Book Review: The Divorce by Victoria Jenkins

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: The Divorce by Victoria JenkinsThe Divorce by Victoria Jenkins
Published on July 4, 2019
Genres: Thriller, Fiction
Links: Buy on Amazon | Goodreads
Pages: 224
Format: ARC

Source: NetGalley

When Lydia and Josh Green walk into Karen’s office one rainy February morning, Karen sees a couple under stress, almost at breaking point. But working with struggling couples, finding out more about their problems, helping to save their marriages, is what Karen does.

But as Karen spends more time with Lydia and Josh, her sense of unease grows. Lydia is something more than just a woman whose marriage is in trouble. She seems frightened for her safety. Josh is angry, grief-stricken and seems to be hiding a dark secret.

And soon Karen herself is afraid – there is something about the behaviour of this couple that recalls traumatic incidents from her own past. There is something there that may be the key to saving them, if Karen can only unlock it in time.

It’s strange to me that so many publicity teams try to compare psychological thrillers to the heavyweights like Gone Girl. Mainly because most of the time, there are no similarities beyond the genre. Not every thriller is deserving of this comparison.

The Divorce is unique due to its narrative structure. Each chapter represents a different perspective of one of the three characters involved in marriage counseling.

The main character, Karen, is the counselor. The other two, Lydia and Josh Green, are the participants.

During each session, Karen gains further insight into the complicated relationship between the Greens. She suspects Josh may be hiding abusive tendencies given his rage issues and Lydia’s meek, fearful manner.

We are privy to how all three characters think and feel as the story bounces around each one, chapter by chapter. The idea of a psychological thriller playing out through various therapy sessions was an appealing idea to me. It reminds me of an old HBO show called In Treatment with a similar concept.

But The Divorce never delivers the same tension as In Treatment managed to. It is boring, tedious, and challenging to get through. The first half of the book goes in circles with every chapter retreading the same conversations and arguments again and again.

For a book that isn’t long, it drags. I wish the chapters had been shorter and more to the point. Then, by the time you get to the ending and the twist, it becomes ludicrous compared to the plodding story prefacing it. I predicted it early on, and it even intrigued me. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy the way it panned out.

Should you read The Divorce?

I suggest you watch In Treatment instead. It’s full of more complex characters and intricate development. The Divorce is well-written, Jenkins has a talent for figurative and descriptive language.

I truly wanted to enjoy this book. For the first few chapters, I did. Then it became clear I would be in for much of the same for an extended period, and my interest slowly dwindled with every page.

Book Reviews

Book Review: Whisper Network by Chandler Baker

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Whisper Network by Chandler BakerWhisper Network by Chandler Baker
Published on July 2, 2019
Genres: Thriller, Mystery, Fiction
Links: Buy on Amazon | Goodreads
Pages: 320
Format: ARC

Source: NetGalley

Four women learn their boss (a man who’s always been surrounded by rumors about how he treats women) is next in line to be CEO—what will happen when they decide enough is enough?

Sloane, Ardie, Grace, and Rosalita are four women who have worked at Truviv, Inc., for years. The sudden death of Truviv's CEO means their boss, Ames, will likely take over the entire company. Ames is a complicated man, a man they’ve all known for a long time, a man who’s always been surrounded by...whispers. Whispers that have always been ignored by those in charge. But the world has changed, and the women are watching Ames’s latest promotion differently. This time, they’ve decided enough is enough.

Sloane and her colleagues set in motion a catastrophic shift within every floor and department of the Truviv offices. All four women’s lives—as women, colleagues, mothers, wives, friends, even adversaries—will change dramatically as a result.

Whisper Network is an undeniably important read. Built as a thriller, this book explores the daunting and intimidating task that lies ahead for women who have experienced any form of harassment by a man much higher up the career ladder than they are.

What do you do? Do you grin and bear it? Do you risk your job to file a complaint that could be weaponized against you? Do you rage? Do you scream? Do you yell?

First, you whisper. You warn the other women in your life. We send out secret signals to each other, our modus operandi, our method of protecting ourselves and each other.

That is the basis of Whisper Network. A realistic and compelling story about four women who find themselves victimized by the same man. But when an anonymous list is circulated detailing all the men in the Dallas area who are known for their catcalls, their groping, and at their very worst, assault, a light shines from above.

For once these women can let their voices be heard. They can offer protection, they can warn and prevent, while knowing their jobs are safe.

Then everything they’ve built is threatened when their CEO jumps off the roof and kills himself, setting off a chain reaction of events that all lead right to the heart of a courtroom.

Whisper Network is a damn addicting read. Told by alternating point-of-view chapters mixed with flash-forwards to court depositions, interviews, comment threads, and more, Baker does an excellent job of weaving a compelling narrative, albeit one that runs a little longer than it needs to.

The brilliance of this story is that none of these women are the “perfect victim.” I can’t tell you how happy I was to realize that. In fact, some of the main characters are downright unlikable, which is brilliant.

Rude women get raped. Women who have affairs can still be harassed by the men they once slept with. There is no such thing as a “perfect victim,” which feels like a robust underlying point of the Whisper Network.

Every woman who experiences assault or harassment in this book is hugely different. Some of them have even done horrible things. Society believes you can judge a woman’s believability and worth by her past decisions. But rape is rape. Assault is assault. It doesn’t matter what you did before that moment, all that matters is that moment.

Should you read Whisper Network?

Yes, yes, 1,000 times, yes! The only issue I had with this book is some of the feministic notions felt a little shallow to me (the frequent mentions of Tina Fey and giving up blowjobs in the name of feminism? okay.), but beyond that, this is a timely and essential read. It’s also just a genuinely good book and exceedingly well-written.

Whisper Network is a little like Big Little Lies for the legal crowd, and it shouldn’t be missed. Chandler Baker has become a must-read author for me after this novel.

FOLLOW METWITTER | LETTERBOXD | GOODREADS