ASK Musings

No matter where you go, there you are.



October 2023



People Who Knew Me by Kim Hooper

Written by , Posted in Reviews

Four Stars

Best for:
People who enjoy novels that constantly move through time.

In a nutshell:
Emily didn’t die on 9/11, but everyone thinks she did.

Worth quoting:

Why I chose it:
BBC just turned it into a radio play, and when I heard the description of the book I knew I had to read it. It took awhile to find a copy, but I think it was worth it.

What it left me feeling:

This book jumps back and forth through time, starting a week after 9/11, when Emily is leaving New York City. But we don’t get the full story of what happened that week until nearly the end of the book, which is a credit to Hooper’s ability to weave a story. We go back to when she meets the husband she eventually ‘widows’ in 2001, and forward to raising her daughter. In the present day, where her daughter is 13, we learn Emily might have breast cancer.

Author Hooper does a great job of creating a character who does a lot of extremely unlikeable things. She should be generally unsympathetic. However, I sort of get her, and was rooting for her. I don’t think I’d make any of the same decisions she does, and I don’t even necessarily think the decisions make sense. In fact, I think outside this book, if these actions were described I would be deeply concerned about the individual who took them.

I sped through this book. I cared about Emily even though she made some deeply disconcerting choices. I wanted good things for her and her daughter. But I also appreciate that Hooper didn’t just make her completely sympathetic, subject to fate. She’s not a victim; she makes choices. She finds herself in some shitty situations, but she makes choices. And they aren’t ones most people would agree with. But they make for excellent reading.

Recommend to a Friend / Keep / Donate it / Toss it:
Recommend to a Friend

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