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Life Sentences: A Novel by Laura Lippman

Life Sentences: A Novel (edition 2010)

by Laura Lippman

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Title:Life Sentences: A Novel
Authors:Laura Lippman
Info:William Morrow Paperbacks (2010), Edition: 1 Reprint, Paperback, 368 pages
Collections:Your library

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Life Sentences by Laura Lippman

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Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
secrets of childhood — nothing sexy/killer type but white lies of author revisiting childhood home place

Author Cassandra Fallows believes she may have found the story that could become her next bestseller. When she was a girl growing up in a racially diverse middle-class neighborhood in Baltimore, a shy, quiet, unobtrusive child named Calliope Jenkins orbited Cassandra's circle of friends. Later Calliope would be accused of an unspeakable crime and would spend seven years in prison for refusing to speak about it. But by delving too deeply into Calliope's dark secrets, Cassandra may inadvertently unearth a few of her own—forcing her to reexamine the memories she holds most precious, as the stark light of truth illuminates a mother's pain, a father's betrayal . . . and what really transpired on a terrible day that devastated not only a family but an entire country.
  christinejoseph | Jun 20, 2017 |
Interesting, but not my thing. Only got as far as I did because it was about a writer and there was a lot of trade talk and random writer life tidbits. ( )
  zyphax | Dec 27, 2016 |
This book has little to offer the reader. It is not suspenseful; there is not much of a mystery. There are no characters to like or cheer for. It is vague and unclear at times. It lacks focus much of the time, and is just plain uninteresting. I’m not sure what point the author is trying to make. Is it one of race relations? Is it about social structure? Maybe it’s about the court system. Is it about friendships? Familial relationships? Being unfaithful? Or just hiding infidelities. Telling the truth? Or just correctly perceiving what is true. All these topics are touched on in this tale of woe. None are really fully developed. This is a story of a writer, who, after two well-received memoirs, wrote a fiction story that was not. Now, wanting a subject for a fourth book, she turns to the story a classmate from her past who may or may not have killed her infant son and has refused to talk about his disappearance. After many pages of thinking “when will this story end,” it does get somewhat interesting at the very end. It is not enough to warrant reading the first 300 pages. Disappointing. ( )
  Maydacat | Nov 7, 2016 |
I just can't be sure of what I think of Laura Lippman.
She writes great stories, richly textured & impressively detailed.
She pulls off some neat tricks, like switching between omniscient narration & first-person narration in this story, deftly.
She sets a good pace & works in some socially relevant topics.

She never quite holds her characters accountable.
Take Cassandra. Lippman shows us her flaws skilfully, & raises the spectre of a great fall for her.
Yet... Cassandra comes out of her dalliances with other people's lives with more security, friends, & familial relations than she went into it.

Then there's the climax itself. While it's good, Lippman does a great job of promising a payoff that you expect more. So while it all ties together nicely & resolves itself, you can't help thinking there could have been more.

I've noted these things in other Lippman books.

Yet.. I keep reading them. So I guess I must like her after all. ( )
  LauraCerone | May 26, 2016 |
Best-selling author Cassandra Fallows is desperate to write another book that will catch on with the book buying public. Her first two books, memoirs of her life growing up in Baltimore, were instant hits so she decided to branch out into fiction. That novel was not well-recieved and Cassandra feels that she needs to revisit the genre she knows so well, that of her own life. As she thinks back nearly 40 years to her elementary school friends she hopes to write about what she, Donna, Fatima, Tisha and Callie were like then and how their lives have turned out. The biggest story would have to be that of Callie who in her mid-twenties was sent to jail for 7 years after refusing to disclose the whereabouts of her infant son. It was long believed that Callie murdered the child and hid the body but Callie would not talk. Cassandra runs into constant roadblocks among her former friends, none of whom are willing to talk about Callie and claiming that they have no idea where she is. Cassandra is determined and as she delves deeper into their pasts she learns secrets that all want to remain hidden even some within her own family.

It is difficult to review a book when you don't like any of the characters. There is a huge build-up to the mystery's reveal, full of way too many superfluous characters, and it doesn't totally answer all of the questions. This is definitely not one of my favorite Lippman books.
( )
  Ellen_R | Jan 15, 2016 |
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I detest the man that hides one thing in the depths of his heart, and speaks for another. ~The Iliad
In loving memory of James Crumley, 1939-2008. Take my word. It was fun.
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"Well, " the bookstore manager said, "it is Valentine's Day."
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Book description
Author Cassandra Fallows has achieved remarkable success by baring her life on the page. Her two widely popular memoirs continue to sell briskly, acclaimed for their brutal, unexpurgated candor about friends, family, lovers—and herself. But now, after a singularly unsuccessful stab at fiction, Cassandra believes she may have found the story that will enable her triumphant return to nonfiction.

When Cassandra was a girl, growing up in a racially diverse middle-class neighborhood in Baltimore, her best friends were all black: elegant, privileged Donna; sharp, shrewd Tisha; wild and worldly Fatima. A fifth girl orbited their world—a shy, quiet, unobtrusive child named Calliope Jenkins—who, years later, would be accused of killing her infant son. Yet the boy's body was never found and Calliope's unrelenting silence on the subject forced a judge to jail her for contempt. For seven years, Calliope refused to speak and the court was finally forced to let her go. Cassandra believes this still unsolved real-life mystery, largely unknown outside Baltimore, could be her next bestseller.

But her homecoming and latest journey into the past will not be welcomed by everyone, especially by her former friends, who are unimpressed with Cassandra's success—and are insistent on their own version of their shared history. And by delving too deeply into Calliope's dark secrets, Cassandra may inadvertently unearth a few of her own—forcing her to reexamine the memories she holds most precious, as the stark light of truth illuminates a mother's pain, a father's betrayal . . . and what really transpired on a terrible day that changed not only a family but an entire country.
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A writer discovers the truth about her past in this haunting and multi-layered thriller.

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