Overall, what do you think of Cartwheel?
Join Date: 11/16/10
Join Date: 04/21/11
I enjoyed reading this book. Not being familiar with the Amanda Knox case possibly was in my favor; I couldn't make comparisons. There were some police decisions I questioned, such as the blood footprint and even the residue left in the toilet. Where was the logic in their findings? It didn't seem to be important at all.
Join Date: 06/15/11
I liked it a lot. It was SO close to the Amanda Knox case that I wonder how the author got away with some of it without being taken to task by that family. I would have liked a little more background on Sebastian ... a little more development of that character to round out my enjoyment of the novel. Well-written... crisp and clean sentences. Well done.
Join Date: 07/18/11
When I began reading, I had trouble staying with the story, partly because I didn't like the some of the characters. For example, Andrew was filled with angst and kept second guessing his decisions. I couldn't imagine living with someone like him and would have hated taking a course from him. And Edmond was too self serving. He knew what he was doing was wrong when he interrogated Lily without her own lawyers being present. As the novel progressed, however, I realized that by getting to know the characters through their own thoughts, I saw them making decisions and conclusions based on their life experiences just as we all often do. Dubois makes us realize that we too often see only parts of a much larger whole. Then I began paying closer attention to how the "story" each character knew, was too fragmented and too filled with their own experiences to see the murder of Katy with any objectivity.
So, did I like the book? Yes. Do I think it is a worthwhile read? Definitely yes. It would make a terrific book for group discussion.
Join Date: 09/01/11
With Amanda Knox back in the news it was very close to her story, or what we know of her story. I enjoyed the different voices telling their part of the story and the differences in the point of views. The side story about Lily's parents loss of their first child colored a lot of how Lily and her sister were raised and much of what the girls thought of things. I was not a fan of the ending. It seemed to just wrap things up too quickly. Overall, it was a good read.
Join Date: 10/19/11
Loved it. I thought it was a confident novel with fully fleshed out characters and I was really pleased that Jennifer duBois left Lily's innocence or guilt for the reader to determine. So much of it was about the perceptions we hold. The ending paragraph made my hair stand on end!
Join Date: 10/20/10
I enjoyed the book until the end, which I found disappointing. Like there were too many loose ends. It did stimulate me to google and read about the Amanda Knox story. Interesting that it is in the news again now. While the book held my attention, most of the characters were not likable. In the end, I wish I hadn't spent the time reading it. Just my opinion.
Join Date: 09/30/13
Overall, I found it a somewhat tedious read and I didn't like the characters. I did some skipping around hoping to find a really "interesting" part - but it never happened so I just made myself read it through. I didn't enjoy this book nor would I recommend it to others.
Join Date: 10/28/11
Join Date: 09/11/11
Join Date: 04/10/11
I didn't like it. I like psychological mysteries, but this one was tedious and at times confusing, with time settings going forward and backward with the changes in voice. I also can't figure out the author's choices of vocabulary: Why use an obscure word when the more familiar one does perfectly well? Also, when I looked up familiar words I realized she used them in a dubious--dare I say incorrect?--manner. For me, none of her main characters were likeable, except maybe sister Anna.
Join Date: 05/22/12
I totally agree with janeh, jills, and bonnieb! This was a book that barely touched the bedside table as I think I consumed it in one night. Perhaps it was just one of those books that catches you, or doesn't, but I was enticed by the characters NOT being such wonderful lovable folks yet drawing me into each of their pathos. The author did a terrific job of portraying the not-so-romantic part of studying abroad in college----something I think all college students should read and consider before embarking on their own voyages to other cultures---not as a cautionary tale, but as a way to look at how an individual (guest, American, teenager) can be viewed from all sorts of different vantage points.
Join Date: 05/24/12
I really liked this book. So much going on in the characters heads, such subtle psychological twists and turns. The ambiguity in the story makes it that much better in my opinion--you can think about it endlessly without reaching any certain conclusion. It would make a great book club pick for that reason. I also liked how the characters were all trapped in their own little worlds--Andrew's guilt and anxiety, Eduardo's depression and unhealthy marriage, Sebastien's grief and his crumbling mansion, Lily's inability to understand the effect she has on other people. Good stuff.
Join Date: 09/07/12
I didn't like it at all. I found it tedious rather than spellbinding and didn't find any of the characters particularly likable or engaging. From a technical standpoint, it is well-written, but the plot is entirely derivative, and I doubt it's coincidental that it is due to be published just as yet another Knox trial is set to begin in Italy.
Join Date: 05/19/11
I agree more with Dorothy . I like thrillers too, but found I was bored with tedious over use of unnecessary words. I felt this slowed down the flow of story. I did like the idea of examining the different characters through their own thoughts, but it didn't make me like them better. I think this would have been a better story if the author had not aligned it with the Amanda Knox story.
Join Date: 06/19/12
overall, i enjoyed this book. as a mother of college age kids it hit home. i was scared at times about how this could happen to just about anyone living in a foreign country ... i wondered about how the author got away with the comparisons to the amanda know story. i enjoyed getting into the characters heads .... each person seemed to have a different agenda. this book will make a great bookclub choice ... lots of issues to discuss.
Join Date: 12/06/12
I did enjoy the book. Though when reading the story, it was hard not to think of the Amanda Knox story. After dreading this book, I did rent the DVD on the Amanda Knox story and tried to piece together what was real and fiction. I did that because I was interested, because of the Cartwheel, to see what really happened in the Amanda Knox story. I did not follow this story when it was taking place in real time.
Join Date: 03/22/12
I am not real familiar with the Amanda Knox story so read this novel without much history. For me, the first half of the novel was very good, I think the second half was a little long and in some parts repetitive. It could have been more tightly edited. The author did do a very good job of getting inside peoples heads. I will recommend it to my bookclub.
Join Date: 07/31/11
I didn't like it very much because I didn't think the characters were believable other than maybe Lily's father. I found Sebastien's character especially unbelievable. I do see how why it is marketed as a "page-turner" though. I had to finish it just to see how it ended. Unfortunately, I didn't like the end either.
Join Date: 06/14/13
If I had to sum it up in one word, it would be effective. It is effective at keeping the reader engrossed and wanting to find out the truth while not completely telling you whether she did it or not. I appreciated the feeling of not completely knowing. It was unsettling yet felt appropriate.
Join Date: 09/16/11
Join Date: 12/17/12
Overall, I enjoyed the book. I wasn't very familiar with the Amanda Knox story, so I didn't know what to expect from the plot. I did think the author overdid some of the writing. It was needlessly complicated in some places. I read half a page and realized that the author had basically just said that Lily was spoiled. Still, I was interested in seeing what happened next and the characters seemed real.
Join Date: 04/10/13
I was unsettled while reading. Many questions left unanswered . The victim's character was the least developed. With the little information provided about her, She did not seem like the type of girl who would be involved in a threesome. I did not get the impression that she liked Lilly and Ignacio just sounds gross !
Join Date: 05/10/12
I agree with all of those who had difficulty with the book because of the Amanda Knox case. I often wondered why no one objected to the obvious comparisons. It seemed that it wouldn't take too much to write such a similar story. I was riveted by the Amanda Knox tale and thus was able to find the book somewhat interesting but I wouldn't recommend it.
Join Date: 06/17/13
While I enjoyed this book somewhat, I felt it too closely followed the Amanda Knox story; American foreign exchange student living with a roommate, roommate killed, sleeping with local boyfriend, parents divorced, etc., etc. I felt the author tweaked the real story by moving the locale and changed a couple of details. Had the real incident in Italy never happened, I would have a higher opinion of this book. I also found that the eventual fate of Lily Hayes was left hanging in the air without an explanation of how it came about.
On Goodreads, I gave it 3 stars out of 5 but in retrospect, I think it deserved 2 stars.
Join Date: 10/26/12
I was caught up in the story of this young woman's journey. Her youthful exuberance and lack of fear and adventure reminded me somewhat of my own youth, although I never went to the extreme of leaving the country. It definitely reminds one of the Amanda Knox story, but I felt setting the story in South America was helpful in keeping it separate. A really good development of characters, especially that strange fellow Sebastian. Something to talk about in a book group!
Join Date: 10/15/10
A question to those who didn't like Cartwheel because it was too much like the Amanda Knox case... I do see your point but then it occurred to me that a great many books are based on or inspired by real events and, in fact, in the case of historical fiction as a genre, many would criticize a book if it was not firmly rooted in fact.
I think that what most people appreciate about historical fiction is the opportunity to learn about an historical period but, perhaps more important, to have that period come to life by getting inside the minds of the protagonists. That is to bring the facts alive and make them human.
Granted, most of us have some familiarity with the Amanda Knox case so arguably don't need to be reminded of the facts of that case - and indeed we aren't in the case of Cartwheel as the setting is different; but doesn't the second attraction still hold - the opportunity to try to understand what motivates people to act in certain ways, whether these people happen to be historic or contemporary?
Join Date: 04/10/11
Thanks, Davina, for your idea about Cartwheel, Amanda Knox, and historical fiction. I think the difference is that most historical fiction is written about people and events that were in a much more distant past. The Knox case is too recent, and that might explain why some contributors here were bothered by the similarities.
Join Date: 12/22/11
I thought the book had some well-developed characters and it was the characters that moved the storyline along. But I did think the characters came off a little flat and that made the story drag for me in places. Interesting to be was learning about the judicial system and how cases were investigated and brought to trial in Argentina.
Join Date: 07/18/11
Divina makes a valid point. Certainly readers will be reminded of the Amanda Knox case but duBois 's characters are fully developed individuals who happen to be in a similar situation and she makes them into unique individuals: Andrew, the father, worries that he and his wife must take the blame for being too permissive because they lost their first daughter; Eduardo becomes wrapped up in his own marital problems and also is willing to overlook the treatment of Lily; Sebastien is is filled with his own problems and not strong enough to help Lily and the Carrizos, who have serious money problems, just want a compliant guest. And Lily wants a unique experience, to have fun. She is not very perceptive about the problems of others or even how she is seen by those around her. We see the events unfold through these unique characters. I read the novel as one in which people are caught up in an event they don't fully understand but which they must now deal with. An author develops characters and plots out of life, out of shared experience, and then uses that to create a new reality. This book is not fantasy nor is it nonfiction.
Join Date: 04/10/13
I am not familiar with the Amanda Knox case, so I can't draw any parallels between that and Cartwheel. That being said, I found the book a bit difficult to read. Even with characters that were not easy to like, the story did not make me hate them either -- I just didn't care about any of them. Everyone, with the possible exception of Katy, was unhappy and had such vague, negative, and/or dark views of their lives and families. There was no definitive ending for anyone.
I am an avid reader and enjoy a variety of literary genres, both fiction and nonfiction, but Cartwheel just didn't hold my interest. The writing style was okay, although a bit wordy, and I had to refer to my dictionary much more often than I felt necessary, thus causing an interruption in my reading flow. I would not recommend this book.
Join Date: 03/12/13
Overall I did like the book. I was disappointed that it so closely followed the Amanda Knox story but I liked the way the story jumped between points of time and narrators. It worked for the story and I thought the author did a good job of making each voice unique. I think that it is often difficult for authors to do that in a way that works. I would recommend this book but I would warn people that it closely follows the Amanda Knox story.
Join Date: 10/16/10
I understand why readers who knew the Amanda Knox story would have a different reading experience than those who didn't. I knew nothing about Amanda Knox (don't listen to much news or do that much with social media LOL) but I still found the novel making me feel anxious, sometimes angry, other times not desirous of reading more. By the end though, I decided Jennifer duBois created those feelings in me intentionally. The novel was her way of exploring the Amanda Knox thing in a way the news could not. I for sure would not want to be either Lily or Amanda. We will not probably ever know what Amanda Knox really did and I did not feel sure of what Lily did either. It is crazy-making in a way. Then I wondered if the author was laughing at me for reading to the end, because I do think she was mocking the real life story to a degree. Ah Jennifer, you have had your way with us!
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