The Most Dangerous Thing
Some secrets can’t be kept . . . .
Years ago, they were all the best of friends. But as time passed and circumstances changed, they grew apart, became adults with families of their own, and began to forget about the past—and the terrible lie they all shared.
But now Gordon, the youngest and wildest of the five, has died and the others are thrown together for the first time in years.
And then the revelations start.
Could their long-ago lie be the reason for their troubles today? Each one of these old friends has to wonder if their secret has been discovered—and if someone within the circle is out to destroy them.
This book was a real page-turner, but only because I was in such a hurry to get it over and done with. It starts out promising, with a teaser intro from the energetic Go-Go. It even stirs up some lovely, nuanced moods. Remember when we used to play for endless hours, unsupervised, with our friends? Lippman evokes that blend of exhilaration and trepidation as the kids explore beyond their “safe” neighborhood boundaries, as well as the tolerance and guilt of the parents that look the other way to avoid knowing whether their kids are actually breaking the rules. Unfortunately, we never hear directly from Go-Go again after the intro, which is a disappointment as his is the most engaging voice of all the characters. Instead, the story hiccups among mostly indistinguishable characters, the plot unfolds without any tension or excitement, and in the end “the most dangerous thing” really isn’t all that dangerous or interesting.
With several converging characters and story angles from both the present and the past we are really able to get a full and detailed look into the lives of the five young (and now 40ish) friends as well as their parents. We learn how the kid's friendships and self interests shape both their lives and the lives of their friends and family, and how one tragic event can change the course of of everyone's lives - or did it actually? One has to wonder if anything, for any of these characters, would have really changed had "the event" had not occurred. The more I think about it, I don't think so. I think this "transformative event" that is at the core of the story is actually irrelevant. This novel is, and pretty much only is, a novel that is a demonstration in character development.
Actually, after reading the first chapter my thought was, "Well I bet this story got the writer an A in their creative writing class in college." That same statement could probably be said about all of the chapters that followed. Interesting look at character development. PERIOD. So maybe it is a little "Olive Kitteridge" in that way. But Olive was soooo much more interesting as the common thread than this story line. If you are an aspiring novelist, pick up the book to learn about character development and backstory, but please, when you write your book - throw half of it out and find a better common thread!
Ba-Ba-Booooorrrrriiing! Sorry to be so cranky about it, but this book was just boring. It SOUNDS interesting, and I think there will be some good things to discuss at book club, but… it was just boring. My husband asked me what it was about, so I explained (I'll spare you, because you can read the author's description). He said, "That sounds really interesting." And to my amazement, it DID sound interesting… but it just wasn't. Even the climax was a snooze. TOOOOO much back story. Not enough action and the action - though not predictable - was lame. Go-Go was the most interesting character of the lot, but we only were able to see glimpses of him through the other's eyes for the most part. I think following HIS story from his eyes would have been much more interesting then all these lamos. Because there is actually enough to discuss (though you might not realize that at the time of reading) I'll give it a "Mildly Unleashable." But, if you are looking for a truly enjoyable read, leave it on the shelf.
May's BB Book Club Book Pick:
Life After Life
By Kate Atkinson