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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Keep going with this
The overall impression I got about this book was that it was too long. The story seems to take an age to get going and nothing much happens until about half way through - the beginning of the book being mainly concerned with setting the scene and letting you know the sort of life that Grace lives. I really encourage you to keep going through all the descriptions of the...
Published 6 months ago by Anne

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars It’s about social injustice and stupidity.
Grace is ‘relationship counselor’ or ‘marriage therapist’, mother to reluctant violin prodigy Henry, and wife to pediatric oncologist Jonathan who is also a ‘saint’. They inhabit the lowest tier of the highest echelon of NY society. Grace, at the beginning of the work, is in the final pre-launch stages of her book, “You Should...
Published 19 days ago by Kartowidjojo


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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Keep going with this, 10 Mar 2014
By 
Anne (Sheffield, Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
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The overall impression I got about this book was that it was too long. The story seems to take an age to get going and nothing much happens until about half way through - the beginning of the book being mainly concerned with setting the scene and letting you know the sort of life that Grace lives. I really encourage you to keep going through all the descriptions of the very privileged life that Grace and her family live and the people with whom they associate - none of them are very nice and I didn't really like Grace much at this point. About half way through the book something monumental happens that completely changes Grace's life and the story of how she uncovers the truth and adjusts to her new reality is absorbing and worth waiting for - in fact, all the detail you have already read helps enormously in showing the changes that Grace has to make and how the truth had been hidden from her for all these years.

Grace is a therapist who has written a book, destined to be a bestseller, called "You Should Have Known". The book outlines her theory that most people whose relationships fail should have known that this was inevitable because the clues were there from the beginning. Of course it is inevitable that the author should then place Grace in a position where she discovers that her husband and marriage were not as she had thought them - should she have known ? The story that is revealed is not what I had anticipated when I started the book and as each truth is revealed you wonder to yourself if Grace really should have been expected to know that - the author never really addresses this issue which is a pity as I am not sure what I think that the answer is.

I found this book engaging and slightly horrifying as Grace has to deal with the fallout from her marriage and her relationship mistake. I do think, however, that the whole book needed to be shorter and less detailed as it is a bit of a struggle to get to the interesting bit where Grace begins to find out what is going on - I do think it is worth persevering though as I did find it ultimately a very entertaining and rewarding read.

I received a free copy fo this book from the publishers via NetGalley.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strategies for self-delusion., 2 July 2014
By 
Sue Kichenside - See all my reviews
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This review is from: You Should Have Known (Hardcover)
Grace, a couples counsellor, has written a book about choosing your life-partner. She considers that she herself has chosen well. Her husband, Jonathan, is a paediatric oncologist with an exemplary bedside manner. She knows just how much his young patients and their families mean to him. What a caring man. They have a 12-year old son, Henry, who is bright, sensible, studies the violin and presents no pre-teen problems. The couple are comfortably off rather than rich but Grace is not the kind of person to covet her neighbour's Birkin handbag. Everything in her garden is rosy. Grace is happy with her lot. Until one day, she receives an ominous text...

Although we know exactly where Jean Hanff Korelitz is leading us, she takes us there in the most skilful, carefully considered and tension-building way. Grace's delusions are gradually peeled away as each onion-skin thin layer of protection is meticulously removed by the author's scalpel. And what a very sharp instrument it is. But later on in the book, characters emerge who are just too good to be true (Grace's old friend Vita, her new friend Leo, her much maligned in-laws) and the whole thing gets a little too neatly tied up for my taste. Though probably not for Hollywood's. 4.5 stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A subtle but worthwhile read - stick with it!, 27 April 2014
By 
A. Douglas (UK) - See all my reviews
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Other reviews do say that this book is too long but now that I've finished it, I'd disagree. Without lots of bells and whistles it tells the story of Grace - a woman who thinks she has everything. She loves her doctor husband, has her lovely 12 year old who goes to a good school. They want for nothing. She is a marriage counsellor who comes across as quite arrogant at the start of this book. She feels that if your life doesn't turn out to be what you wanted, well the clues were there all along and you chose to ignore them. She even writes a book saying as much.
Naturally, it turns out that her life starts to fall apart and isn't how she thought it was. The book takes time to build the whole picture of a life that actually was pretty much a lie. It tells you how Grace comes to accept this and now focus on sorting out a life for her and her son. It's very subtle - no screaming, shouting or huge drama but that's exactly how it would play out.
I wouldn't say it's a book I couldn't put down, but it's been a book I have enjoyed and wanted to keep reading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping Read, 11 April 2014
By 
J. Griffiths (Cardiff, Cardiff United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I should probably give this book 3.5 stars as, like many other readers, I think it takes too long to get going. It's important to get the feel/atmosphere/background to the story but we're 23% of way through before 'something big' happens. On the other hand the writing was good enough and the characters fascinatingly unpleasant enough to keep me reading.
It's impossible to sketch out the story without spoiling it for those who haven't read it but it's basically about a marriage seen from the point of view of the wife - Grace Sachs who is a relationship counsellor. Grace has written a book - 'You Should Have Known' - which is about to be published. The book warns women (and men, I suppose) that they should think carefully before committing to a relationship. If they're about to make a dreadful mistake - Grace counsels so many women who do - the signs/clues will be there if they're brave/smart enough to see them.
The story, set in the Manhattan of the well-heeled and very well-heeled, is a tale of hubris and redemption. The opening third is slow, the middle third gripping, the ending a bit too neat for my taste. However, as I say it did keep me reading and by the end I did empathise - just a little - with Grace.
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3.0 out of 5 stars It’s about social injustice and stupidity., 3 Sep 2014
This review is from: You Should Have Known (Hardcover)
Grace is ‘relationship counselor’ or ‘marriage therapist’, mother to reluctant violin prodigy Henry, and wife to pediatric oncologist Jonathan who is also a ‘saint’. They inhabit the lowest tier of the highest echelon of NY society. Grace, at the beginning of the work, is in the final pre-launch stages of her book, “You Should Have Known1”. YSHK1 is a relationship book, debunking others that have preceded it, essentially saying that women can see the future of bad relationships right from the start, but ignore both their instincts and their intelligence to pursue the societal holy grail of ‘marriage’. When the marriage ends, so she says, the end was foreseeable from the beginning.

YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN is in three sections: BEFORE, DURING & AFTER.

In BEFORE, Grace and a number of Tom Wolfe’s ‘Social X-Rays’ are planning a fundraiser for Reardon, the beautiful JAP school attended by their brattish JAP offspring. A committee meeting is attended by the completely out-of-place Malaga, who is anything but an X-Ray and who noisily and perhaps brazenly breastfeeds her infant throughout. Grace is shown to be at worst a misogynist and at best a misanthrope, she has a lot of empathy, but preciously little sympathy. Jonathan briefly attends the fundraiser, while Grace is waiting for the restroom, but is called back to the hospital. Malaga attracts a lot of animal male attention, being composed of flesh and blood, while the other wives are mainly transparencies.

In DURING, Malaga is murdered in her apartment on the night of the fundraiser and Jonathan disappears.

The three sections of YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN could be repackaged as GOOD, WORSE and BAD. The BEFORE, almost could not be better. The premise is outstanding, the scenes, characters, pacing and research is all first rate. It is obvious, of course, that there is something (or is going to be something) that Grace should have known, but that is all good. At no stage in BEFORE does YSHK appear to be a ‘thriller’. However, by the end of the section I am completely locked into the book.

The wheels do not actually come off in DURING, but wheelnuts are loosening. While the work remains about parents, therapy, high-society and NY, there is not much wrong per se, and the investigation, detectives etc are certainly ‘good enough’. It is now overtly declared to be a thriller, which is a red herring. The tension is going the wrong way. There is no tension about the crime or about Jonathan. What is exposed is exposed in very straightforward way. The work drifts into a psychological portrait of Grace, which is simply not very interesting. Much of the premise is left behind. There are numerous very long, very wordy paragraphs, none of which cut much mustard. There is no element of thriller at all Jonathan to come on stage.

There is not much to say at all about AFTER. Mother and son move to Connecticut and get a dog. Henry swaps Bartok for Bluegrass. Grace hears Jonathan’s back story from hisparents. Presumably in a couple years Grace will smell of patchouli oil and Henry will be called “Harry the Strad” or some such . I would have loved the cliché of a final chase scene.

I cannot heap enough praise on the first section. I have no idea how this book will be marketed because so much relies on the ‘shock’ of the murder and when that is gone, there isn’t much left for the next 200 pages. I was genuinely expecting the would be a synthesis of Janet Evanovich and Tom Wolfe and that is what I got, up to a point, probably about the half-way point. Thereafter it became more like Charlotte Bronte, no, let’s face it, Elizabeth Gaskell. Such plot as there is, is only to hang psychological insights upon and these insights turn out to more indulgent than perceptive. It’s about social injustice and stupidity.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars dire, 20 May 2014
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hate the story line, can't engage with the characters, who cares about the rich and indulged - not me
stopped reading less than 1/3 through -life is too short
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars and you should try this, 18 April 2014
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I bought this for my Kindle, one of the automatic recommendations which came just when I'd finished another book. I haven't read anything quite like this before; the story was told from an unusual perspective, it's hard to say more without spoiling the effect. It revolves around a police investigation which gradually uncovers much more than the actual crime. But as the story develops, so does the leading character. She grows out of her fascination with designer handbags, New York high life, and exclusive schools and realises that she can cope well without these trappings, and more especially without the shallow socialites she once mistook for friends. In due course I shall recommend this to my book club.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scarily possible, 11 April 2014
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You never think something like this could happen to someone you know...
Excellent read. The new 'Gone Girl'. Best book of the year so far...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Get past First couple of chapters and you will be hooked., 7 April 2014
By 
Julie Pickford (Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
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First couple of chapters are odd: bit colloquial, you almost need to be a Manhattanite like the main character to fathom out what she is on about. But plough on. and get into the groove and the language broadens. It is a thrilling story and unputtodownable. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable & frustrating, 18 Sep 2014
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I had great expectations about this book from the snopsis but unfortunately I was disappointed. I never identified with the main character as at first she came across as patronising. There are way too many pages at the start where she talks about the book the character has written and her fantastic family. I initially got the impression that the character was independent and strong and would probe and ask questions when faced with adversary but when everything goes wrong the character does a 180 and turns into this weak women that runs away from what people are saying and hides, I can understand that this could happen in real life, but the way it is described in the book it is completely unbelievable and very frustrating to read. I made myself finish the book just to see if it would get better but it didn't and I really didn't like the book
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You Should Have Known
You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz (Hardcover - 6 Mar 2014)
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