Saturday, February 19, 2011

I'd Know You Anywhere - Lippman

I'd Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman is the story of Eliza Benedict, nee Elizabeth Lerner, wife and mother of two: a gregarious young boy and a moody teen girl. She lives a boring life, having recently returned to the States after a brief stay in London for her husband's work, until one day she receives a letter in the mail.

The letter, it turns out, is from a death row inmate, but not just any inmate. The letter comes from Walter Bowman, who is currently on death row for murdering a young girl some 20 years before. But Bowman murdered more than one girl, several in fact...except for one. One he abducted and, for reasons unknown, decided to let live, driving around the Maryland/West Virgina landscape until they are eventually caught.

That young girl returns home and tries to regain control of her life, changing schools, moving to a different community and changing her name from...from Elizabeth to Eliza.  When she receives Bowman's letter years later, Eliza decides that the only way she may ever understand why he let her live is to reply to his letter, and to eventually visit him. Everyone thinks she is crazy to give in to his wish to see her, but she has a goal, a plan.  But, so does he...

This book was...well, just ok.  It's not that the book was bad. It just wasn't particularly great.  It was a fairly quick and easy read...a nice brainless work of fiction.  Given the premise of the story, however, it could have really been a real work art...mystery, intrigue, excitement. But, it just never gets there. The reader never lacks the knowledge, though it is only spelled in the last few chapters, that Bowman wants...

***Spoiler alert (if you can call it that...)***

...Eliza's help to get his death sentence turned around.

There is a second story running through this one...Eliza's struggles with her daughter growing up. Unfortunately, that story never really delivers either. The school principal tells Eliza that her daughter is, in fact, missing her friends and live in London.  Yawn.

2/5- Just okay.  Choose with extreme prejudice.