Saturday, November 15, 2008

Book Review & Giveaway: Testimony by Anita Shreve

Testimony by Anita Shreve

Description: At a New England boarding school, a sex scandal is about to break. Even more shocking than the sexual acts themselves is the fact that they were caught on videotape. A Pandora's box of revelations, the tape triggers a chorus of voices--those of the men, women, teenagers, and parents involved in the scandal--that details the ways in which lives can be derailed or destroyed in one foolish moment.Writing with a pace and intensity surpassing even her own greatest work, Anita Shreve delivers in TESTIMONY a gripping emotional drama with the impact of a thriller. No one more compellingly explores the dark impulses that sway the lives of seeming innocents, the needs and fears that drive ordinary men and women into intolerable dilemmas, and the ways in which our best intentions can lead to our worst transgressions.

After reading the opening scene of Testimony, I honestly didn't know if I was going to like this book. It does open with a bang, and is quite graphic and shocking. After I read further in the book I realized the significance of the shock factor. This story focuses on how a single act/decision that a person makes can have consequences that are life changing. It involves a group of teens at a private school and relates to a single night and choices that they all make and the series of events that may have impacted those choices.

This truly is a compelling story that is told in a unique style that alternates between all of the characters in the book. It weaves a sequence of events that is gripping and definitely keeps you on the edge of your seat until you get to the end. I didn't want to put the book down until I could find out what happened to all of the characters. The story is mainly told in first person by the main characters involved including several parents. It is told in the style of a Testimony which relates back to the title of the book.

Anita Shreve tends to focus on one issue in her novels that carries throughout the book. In this one, it is underage drinking which has been a serious issue in the news and in many communities. I feel as a parent of a son, I could relate to the mothers feelings about their sons. My son is still young but this is something I will need to be aware of as he becomes a teen and young adult.

This type of issue crosses over many age, sex, race and economic backgrounds. This is an issue that can effect many teens and young adults. It is something to be prepared for and to have an open dialogue about with our teens. I believe that this book would be good for parents of teens to read as well as teens nearing college age. It is graphic in parts and contains sexual content so you as a parent should read it yourself to determine if it is appropriate for your teen to read.

Testimony is a book that makes you think about life and the consequences of our actions and choices. I am still thinking about the characters a day after I finished the me, that's a sign of a good book!!

Thank you to Miriam at Hachette for sending me Testimony to read and review!

You can check out Anita Shreve's website here.

You can also read an excerpt here.

Here is information on where to buy your own copy of Testimony.


I am hosting a Giveaway here at Redlady's Reading Room for my hardback copy of Testimony!

To Enter:

  • Comment about this post, for one entry.
  • For another entry, share your thoughts about reading books that deal with challenging life issues: do you like that they make you think or do you prefer to steer away from them and why?

This contest is open to US and Canada Only due to postage costs. This will end at Midnight, EST on November 21st and I will draw a winner using


  1. Don't enter me, I have the book. Your review is great. The book really made me think about how one person's actions can affect so many people. It is a very thought provoking book.

  2. Love this review. I've been coveting this book since I first saw it. I tend to gravitate towards books that deal with various life issues because I always think I might find a new way of looking at things. Whether I've experienced the issue or not, I enjoy reading other people's thoughts on it because we are all different and our life experience tends to dictate how we deal with things.

    Thanks for offering the giveaway!

  3. A good review. I'd love to read this as I've read 5 previous books by Shreve and enjoyed every one. I do like novels that deal with serious issues because every story or situation has several sides to it. And I like to try and view it from different perspectives. It teaches me empathy as well to do so, I hope. Please enter me, thank you very much.

  4. Bonnie, please enter my name in your drawing. I will read books that have challenging themes, but I have to be in the mood to think. Sometimes I just need brain candy. But books that show different viewpoints are interesting to read - I like to hear differing thoughts about a topic. Jodi Picoult books are like that.

  5. No need to enter me, but I'm glad to read that you enjoyed this too! :)

  6. Hi Bonnie-I'd love to win this book. I do like a book that challenges me or makes me think. Sometimes you get too comfortable in the types of books we read, but when a book like this comes along that isn't something we would normally read it really makes you think. I would want to read a book that makes me think every single time, but every once in a while is a good thing!

  7. No need to enter me Bonnie. Just wanted to say great review!

  8. Enter me Enter me... I have been trying to win this one for a while. ;)
    Love you review! I like a book that will make me think also.

  9. I would love to read this!

    shelcows AT gmail DOT com

  10. I've been wanting this for awhile now. Thanks for the opportunity! I love books that make me think and challenge me, but I have to alternate them with ones that don't make me think!

    daq_17 at hotmail dot com

  11. I thought what you wrote about the book was good and I'm glad you stuck with it. I've heard wonderful things about this book and I'd love to be entered for it thank you!

    unforgetable_dreamer_always AT hotmail DOT com

  12. This was such a good review! I've been hearing about this book for a long time. The issues are so timely. I do enjoy reading books that make me think and that cover important issues. I live in a small town and I don't travel. These stories take me to places I've never been, introduce me to people I've never met and teach me about things that I know little about. I also agree with others here that I need to mix it up a little and also read things that are just for fun. We can't always be serious! Thanks so much for your contest.

  13. Don't enter me for the book. I have a copy but would like to put my 2cents in. I do like books with social issues. That is why I buy Chris Bojahilian's books and Jodi Picoult's books they usually deal with social issues. They make you think. That is why book clubs are great for these kind of books. If you have not read Sister's Keeper or 18 minutes. You really should give her a try.

  14. Bonnie, I read and reviewed this a few weeks ago. I felt pretty much the same way after reading the opening but I really liked the form Shreve used to tell the story and that pulled me in. I thought it was a good book.

    Don't enter me. I still need to give my copy away.

  15. I love reading books that deal with real life issues. Sometimes they make you see things in a different light and that can be a very good thing. Please enter me. I would love to read this book.

  16. Great review! I've heard so much about this book that I'd love a chance to read it, so please enter me in this giveaway.

    As for books with a challenging issue, I like them well enough as long as they are done nicely. I don't want to suspend my belief too much when reading it, because then it will just take away from the overall message. I do enjoy reading it, nonetheless, as it provides a different viewpoint and gets you to view the world in a different way.


    ~ Popin

  17. I've heard a lot about this book, thanks for the chance to win!!


  18. No need to enter me in the giveaway, but I wanted to stop by and say this is a great review and synopsis of Shreve's Testimony. This is one of my favorite books this year.

    Here's the link to my review:

    I'll add yours.

  19. I'd love to win this book! Even though it's nice sometimes to read a fun light-hearted book, I think it's those books that make you think that are the really precious ones. I love books that stick with me and make me think about them long after I've finished reading them.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  20. Great review. I enjoy books that make me think, but I also enjoy mindless books at times! I put your giveaway on my blog...thanks:)

  21. I would love a copy of Testimony. I posted about it on my new book blog, Bella is reading.

    I read to entertain and educate myself so I like books that make me think. I don't usually turn away from books that make you look at yourself or consider what you do in a certain situation.

  22. Please enter me.
    This review is very intriguing, it made me really want ot read the book. It has so many interesting aspects. Like for one I love shocking beginnings, two life changing choices than makes me think twice plus makes me think if the choice was different what could have happened, three I like books that have teen situations since I'm raising two.

    BTW although my address is blogger is different my shipping address is in New York :)

  23. Excellent review, Bonnie! I would love to be entered. As far as reading books pertaining to life's challenges, I do enjoy reading them - depending on my mood.

  24. Please enter me. Of course I like to read books involving real life issues. Although I like a happy ending, books focusing on real and timely conflicts usually resonate with me the longest.

    Thanks! Sararush at hotmail dot com

  25. I would really love the chance to win this book! I enjoy reading books with challenging topics because it does make me think. Sometimes even though the topic may be difficult or unpleasant, I still want to read the book.

  26. Please enter me...I have been wanting to win this book for awhile now.
    I love reading books that challenge your thinking, especially when it deals with a subject that you know you are morally against. I find it helps you to understand how a person could do what they did that created such a scandal.

  27. Hi Bonnie!

    I would love to win a copy of Testimony! I have heard many good things about this book. I like Shreve, I have read almost all of her books:)

    I love to read books about topics that make you think. I find the information at times to be beneficial in every day life.

  28. Hi, I like this author very much!
    Most of the time I can handle reading books that deal with issues that make me think! It is fascinating how one single act in a person's life can change it forever. Whether it be for good or bad. Please enter me in your delightful giveaway drawing. Many thanks.....Cindi

  29. Bonnie- great review. I totally agree about being able to relate to the mothers' feelings about the son. How they thought back to looking at their two year old sons (the age mine is now!) and now they had done this horrible thing as 18 year-olds. How sad and very poignant.

    I linked to your review on my review.



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