Amy B. (Louisville, KY)
Things We Didn't Say
This book opens well and is engaging. The writing, character & plot development all are pretty basic, not demanding much of the reader except to come along for the ride (a feature which is admittedly very nice sometimes!). That being said, this book is not a "beach read" either, as it deals with very real, tough, & contemporary family topics.
The author uses the multiple viewpoints of the books' main characters to share the story, framing the family challenges using their various perspectives from chapter to chapter. There is no "winner" in a story like this (whose characters were left general enough that many readers can find themselves relating to someone in the story). Through this very human narrative, the author provides readers with a healthy reminder to shine the light back on ourselves once in awhile & see how we may impact the lives of our loved ones through our action and/or inaction, even through the seemingly simple situations.
Although not necessarily its intended audience, I think the book will appeal mostly to young adults, with whom it seemed the author had the closest connection. If it were not for some tougher adult topics, I think that the younger readers of this group (age 12 - 16) would really connect with the book, finding comfort & understanding in how the author relates & presents the many different positions of the characters.
Personally, I didn't enjoy this book as much as I wanted to, feeling that both the characters and the story were close, but just not quite "there"... I kept wanting more out of both which just didn't develop for me... I think the book is missing a richness which the author is definitely capable of - I do look forward to further writing by this author.
Jane C. (Brighton, MI)
Things We Didn't Say
Great Book Group read. Kristina makes you think about how you hide things from family and friends. Especially things that are controversial and might cause problems. As the book develops, you begin to realize that if things had been said in a timely manner, maybe results in life would be different. Ms Riggle seems to have a finger on character development from many perspectives. Not sure how she is able to entwine the thoughts and moods of so many characters at one time to develop a fascinating novel. Since I live in Michigan, it was fun to see the the places that she used as a background for the story.
Duane F. (Cape Girardeau, MO)
Things that have been said and said and said....
Where to begin... This book left me feeling like the author thinks the average reader is fourteen and afraid of big thoughts! It is so over explained, over simplified and over indulged. The charachers are exactly what one would expect... overly evil as the mother portrays, overly nerotic and unobservant as the father portrays and the kids seem to have more sense than anyone. The story could have been powerful if the main plot left the reader with something to think about. Perhaps the characters could have been more complicated, not so clearly the bad mother, the confused and struggling girlfriend and the father more tuned in and less reactive. Why not explore the run-a-way son his internet contact instead of having it be such a straight forward explanation. There too, the girl"s father is the typical bad "doesn't understand" sort. I did not find any of the characters compelling. Sorry.
Kenan R. (Liberty, MO)
Things We Didn't Say
An engaging train wreck. This book is gray and cold, and keeps the readers oddly at a distance while drawing us into one family’s crisis as casual observers. The dialog driven story piques and holds your interest as the household implodes, and our characters are cast adrift within the author’s very tight framework of time and location. It feels like a play - a “slice of life” character study of people and the fine filaments that hold us together as families. Taking place over just a few days, we feel the disquiet that grips a would-be step mother and her inability to take charge of a family as it unravels. The characters are raw, and not necessarily pretty. The author gives us enough information to satisfy, while keeping us wondering what will happen to them.
Ginger K. (Ballwin, MO)
A Cast of Characters
This was a page turning fiasco of disfunction. A family crisis brings the simmering issues into dramatic relief as the characters bring their own spin to the situation, well, several situations really. Each has his or her own view of what is happening based on what they know of the others which, of course, is only partial because no one is opening up to the vulnerability of being completely open and honest.
Poigniant, gentle and real it doesn't hit the reader aside the head with overstated drama, yet remains captivating. The things said are in essence non conversations, and more is said about what's going on by this non communication than the words. In this book, what is not said is what is real. I believe that this book would be an excellent book for book club discussion as it inspires us not only to ask questions about the characters, but questions about ourselves.
Eileen L. (Danvers, MA)
Well Intentioned but a tad contrived
This book is a nice, quick read with mostly likeable, if not a bit typecast, characters. Casey, the protagonist, finds herself in the middle of a sinking family and in the role of the "stable one", which is not a role she feels she can live up to. So while the story is interesting it just struck me as contrived and generic. I guess, for me, the book only the seemed to want to scratch the surface of the characters lives. Also, all the eventually revealed "secrets" were anti-climatic. Not a bad book, but not a book that stayed with me after I turned the last page.
Donna N. (sherwood, or)
Things we didn't say
This was pleasant read. The use of telling the stories from each character's point of view was a great format, and the book kept me reading, but I was disappointed that the story was wrapped up so quickly. A few too many quick fixes for the topic... I think younger adult readers who are going through some of the same issues as this family would find this a story relatable. Could provide some good discussions.