Tuesday, September 14, 2010
I'd Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman
It came as a shock to Eliza to receive a letter from Walter Bowman. He was on death row for the murder of a young teen, but, when Eliza was fifteen and known as Elizabeth Lerner, he had kidnapped her, and held her hostage for six weeks. Why was Elizabeth allowed to live when Bowman had killed at least two girls, and was suspected of killing others? That's the question that has haunted the adult Eliza for years, and, now that Walter is facing execution and writes, she faces a dilemma. Should she write back? She and her husband, Peter, have kept her past a secret from their children. But, someone delivered and wrote that letter for Walter. There's more than one threat to Eliza's peace out there. Why her? Why is Walter writing now? Why did he let her live? Why was Elizabeth the one that got away?
Throughout the book, Lippman takes the reader back to 1985, and Elizabeth's experiences when she's on the run with Walter. Elizabeth, who lived for fifteen years with a volatile older sister, quickly learned to read Walter's moods, and she remained calm, fed his ego, and tried not to disturb him. At the same time, she never made a move to get away from him, and it was a traffic stop after a kidnapping and murder that led to his capture and Elizabeth's release. Now, Barbara LaFortuny, a victim of a violent crime herself, has decided to play advocate in Walter's case, pushing Eliza to meet with him.
I'd Know You Anywhere is a gripping novel of psychological suspense. While Eliza tried to hide her past from others, a journalist, Barbara, and others were threatening to reveal the secrets she had hidden from her children. What was the motivation for the characters in this book? If it's possible to hate a minor character, I hated Barbara LaFortuny. What was her motivation? Why was she such a meddler in the lives of others? She was motivated by something other than her stand against the death penalty, although she would never acknowledge it. Even Walter's true motivation was hidden until the end of the book.
But, Eliza, to paraphrase Lippman, only wanted to live a life that wasn't defined by what happened to her as a teenager. And, she still yearns for the house, and the childhood she lost, because of those six weeks in her life. When asked, "How were you rescued," Lippman had Eliza almost say, "I'm not sure I was." I'd Know You Anywhere is an intense novel that recognizes the dangers in the ordinary world, and the strength it takes to live one day at a time knowing of that danger.
Laura Lippman's website is http://www.lauralippman.com/
I'd Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman. HarperCollins, ©2010. ISBN 9780061706554 (hardcover), 384p.