Book review: Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott

Wednesday, August 1, 2018 Permalink

There’s something different about this book. It’s certainly enjoyable. In fact, at several points I assumed it was going to go down a certain route and was surprised. Again and again. Not by the twists as such but by the author (Megan Abbott’s) decisions to not head in an obvious direction and her ability to make her characters nice and not-so-nice at the same time.

Book review: Give Me Your Hand by Megan AbbottGive Me Your Hand
by Megan Abbott
Published by Picador
on July 31st 2018
Source: PanMacmillan
Genres: Thriller / Suspense
ISBN: 1509855718, 9781509855711
Pages: 342

Kit Owens harbored only modest ambitions for herself when the mysterious Diane Fleming appeared in her high school chemistry class. But Diane's academic brilliance lit a fire in Kit, and the two developed an unlikely friendship. Until Diane shared a secret that changed everything between them.

More than a decade later, Kit thinks she's put Diane behind her forever and she's begun to fulfill the scientific dreams Diane awakened in her. But the past comes roaring back when she discovers that Diane is her competition for a position both women covet, taking part in groundbreaking new research led by their idol. Soon enough, the two former friends find themselves locked in a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse that threatens to destroy them both.

There’s an implication (from the blurb and initially in the unfolding events) that Diane’s manipulative or mildly evil, but is she really? And is Kit as squeaky clean and innocently ambitious as she seems?

I very much liked the fact the characters of this book – including Kit’s mother, childhood teacher, Mrs Castro, the enigmatic Dr Severin and Kit’s flirty colleague Alex and slightly-strange Serge – aren’t obviously good or bad; or inspirational or downtrodden. In fact Abbott does a great job of creating multi-dimensional and very real players. They all surprised me. Often.

The plot itself is interesting. Suspenseful even; but there’s a bit happening in the background or beneath the surface of this book that stuck more with me in retrospect. Probably the most obvious is that people are very often NOT who we think they are. In both a good and bad way. In their younger years Kit looked upon Diane with great envy and adoration. Diane’s life seemed perfect. Though of course it wasn’t.

Young Kit had a bit of a chip on her shoulder and – in reality – she recognises her desire to impress (and compete with) Diane challenged her and completely changed the expectations she had for her life.

Interestingly that chip is still there as Kit doubts her place on the research team and is seemingly surprised everyone else is impressed with her (and her work).

This is a good read though might require a bit of post-completion discussion. (So ideal for a bookclub.) I’ve mentioned the ‘greyness’ of the characters and it’s twisty enough that ultimately I was left pondering my own morals; wondering what I would have done in similar situations.

Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott was published in Australia by Pan Macmillan. 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. 


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