Book Review – Life Sentences

Life SentencesLife Sentences by Laura Lippman

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

This is much more a book about memories and perceptions than it is a mystery. The question of whether or not the narrator, Cassandra’s childhood friend committed a murder takes a backseat to Cassandra’s own past, which she delves into in order to ask the question “Why do girls who start out in the same place wind up in such different adult realities?”

The answer, of course, is that they weren’t in the same place to start with, which seems obvious from the outside but when you are inside of a situation it often takes drastic measures for us to see past our own versions of the truth.

This is another book about a writer – I should really start a shelf for that – which is one of the reasons I picked it up. I kept reading because so much of Cassandra’s experiences resonated with me. We were of different generations but I knew what it meant to be the lone white girl in a group of friends, and what that could mean. I didn’t understand why it was a big deal when, freshman year at a new school, I sat at the “black” table. I sat with the girls who were nice to me, who talked to me as a student who didn’t know anyone else, and who welcomed me. So that seemed normal to me; race took a back seat. But some of the issues Cassandra had rang very true to me.

I enjoyed this book, but if you are expecting typical mystery instead of literary fiction, you may be disappointed.

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