June 19, 2017 by femvestige
Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman follows our main character and narrator Lu Brant. Lu is a newly elected State’s Attorney following in her father’s very successful footsteps. The chapters alternate between first person narration of present day Lu adjusting to her new office and prosecuting her first case of murder that seems to intersect with memories of her past. The other alternate chapters are a 3rd person Lu narrating events as she remembers the from her past, while still referring to her present self and circumstances. Each alternate Lu is voiced by a different audio narrator.
The present day Lu is prosecuting a murder case where a homeless and mentally unstable man breaks into a woman’s home and beats her to death. The man’s lawyer is Lu’s predecessor. As Lu digs into the case more, she learns that across the hall from the murdered woman lives a woman mysteriously connected to her brother’s past. She begins to dig deeper into this and begins learning secrets that she begins to not want to know.
The memories from alternate Lu showcase two cases that her father prosecuted and/or defended, both of which are connected to her older brother and his friends. She begins to dissect her relationship with her father, and her innocence of what she witnessed of her brother and friends as a child from an adult hindsight perspective.
Things I Liked
It was intriguing to dive into the cases and see how Lu was handling things as a woman in a ‘power-house’ job that was once held by her powerhouse father. It was by far the most authentic and real part of the story.
Things I Disliked
- Lu has the tendency to consistently refer to her size (5’2″ and petite) and how she is often demeaned or belittled or not taken seriously due to this. Her constant hatred towards her own stature takes away from the inspiration that Lu could have initiated for me as a woman in a predominantly male position. As a 5’2″ petite woman myself, I relish opportunities where I show that my size has no impact on my ability to impact others! Thus, Lu irritated me more than anything when she alluded to this.
- Lu has a lot of inherited wealth which makes her a more difficult character to relate to – this was actually commented on in a situation where a woman from an audience Lu was speaking to confronted Lu about this, and I honestly didn’t think Lu handled it eloquently or with much empathy.
- Lu has a casual sexual relationship – which in and of itself would not bother me – but the way the author presents both the man and the relationship is so unsubtle and unnecessarily connected takes away from the casual manner of the relationship.
- The changing audio voices and the changing perspectives of alternating Lu’s IRRITATED me to no end. If the 3rd person Lu reflecting on memories from her past was an actual young Lu – perhaps I would have appreciated it more. But instead, it was the same present day Lu reflecting on her past memories from a different written voice/audio voice. I had connected Lu with one specific audio voice, so to hear it from a different voice portraying the same Lu took away from the device.
Overall, I was unimpressed with this book. It was loosely inspired by To Kill A Mockingbird. It’s main theme – seeking the truth – was underdeveloped and overshadowed by the devices the author used to narrate the stories. In all, it is not comparable, like it claims to be, to TO Kill A Mockingbird.
Rating out of 5: ✮✮
Dates Read: 5/16/2017 – 5/24/2017
Best Feature: It’s reminiscent of To Kill A Mockingbird
Worst Feature: I had no warmth or sympathy for the main character/narrator