Title: You Should Have Known Author: Jean Hanff Korelitz Published: March 2014 by Grand Central Publishing Format: Hardcover, 438 pages Genre: Fiction
I was pretty sure that this book was never going to end. What started as an attention grabber ended with a giant sigh of relief. I am sure that Jean Hanff Korelitz wanted to endure Grace Reinhart Sachs to her readers, but by the end, I was done with her.
Grace is that Upper East Side mother whose main concerns seem to be the school that her son attends and the violin practice that he must attend. Both will tell you that he is not Julliard material, but yet, this seems to be the center of their world. When Grace is not rushing to PTA type meetings, she is a therapist with a thriving couples practice. Her own beliefs and what she has seen in her practice has led her to write a self-help type of book called “You Should Have Known”, that points out to women that if they had just paid better attention when dating, they would have seen the flaws in their men before they had gotten married and destroyed their lives.
Oh, the things that we should not preach to others has a way of coming back and biting us. This is where we meet her husband, Jonathan Sachs a pediatric oncologist, which swept her off her feet while they were in college. It did not matter that her friends seemed to have disappeared during their early years together. Grace had Jonathan and then their son Henry, a thriving practice, an acquaintance or two and an apartment in her beloved New York.
The blinders start to come off when a mother from Henry’s school is murdered and needing to talk to her husband, Grace is unable to contact Jonathan who is away at a medical conference. Why are the police knocking at her door? Why does the headmaster at her son’s private school need to speak with her? Why are her friends starting to look at her strangely? Her world is crumbling and she is the last to know.
Denial is a hard thing for anyone to confront. Grace has spent her career looking down at woman that have refused to see what is front of them. Now that the tables have turned, she must rebuild. She can no longer defend a husband that cannot be found. She can no longer trust what she has been told by the man that has been her world for seventeen years.
This is where the book becomes repetitive and boring. We get it Grace, you were lied to and your husband is a sociopath. You are a therapist and yet the reader was miles ahead of you as to what was going on. Granted, you wanted to believe the lies that were told, but you were a grown woman.
Anyone that has been in a marriage that was built on lies will be angry at this book. Maybe it is the mirror that is being held up and we see too much of ourselves. Maybe it is the fact that this book was overly long and it took too much work for the main character to get to the light bulb moment or maybe it was the new man that suddenly rides into Grace’s life – and we all know the reality of that actually happening. Anyhow, this book will hit a nerve in some, bore others to tears and be completely forgettable in a couple of months.