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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Chilling Psychological Study & A Real Page-Turning Mystery
On a hot July afternoon, two eleven year-old girls are sent home early from a birthday party. One of them, Ronnie, (Veronica Fuller), has been acting out inappropriately - her usual rebellious behavior - thus the banishment. Ronnie is prone to dark moods. Her companion, Alice, (Alice Manning), a shy, chubby girl who is innocent of any misbehavior, has to leave also, so...
Published on 11 July 2005 by Jana L. Perskie

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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars missing babies
this book started well, but about half way it lost its way, I then found it quite tedious but wanted to see how it would end so carried on reading, my first Lippman, not sure I would bother with more of her writing
Published on 10 Feb 2008 by Don's thoughts


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Chilling Psychological Study & A Real Page-Turning Mystery, 11 July 2005
This review is from: Every Secret Thing (Paperback)
On a hot July afternoon, two eleven year-old girls are sent home early from a birthday party. One of them, Ronnie, (Veronica Fuller), has been acting out inappropriately - her usual rebellious behavior - thus the banishment. Ronnie is prone to dark moods. Her companion, Alice, (Alice Manning), a shy, chubby girl who is innocent of any misbehavior, has to leave also, so her friend won't have to walk home alone. Actually, Alice doesn't really consider Ronnie a friend. Her mother, Helen, insists that Alice play with Ronnie, at least in the summertime, when Alice's schoolmates from St. William of York are at camp. Helen Manning, a single mom, doesn't have enough money to send Alice away for the summer months, or to continue with her private schooling after grade school. So Alice thinks of Ronnie as a "summertime-only friend," and a fellow "doesn't-have-a-pool-membership girl." Alice is a good girl, she believes, along with almost everyone else. She is very bright, although not anywhere near as creative or as artistic as her mother, which worries her. She so wants to please. Ronnie, on the other hand, comes from a very dysfunctional, working-class family, who scream a lot and steal from each other, and "the parents don't care what their kids watch on TV."
On the way home that July day, Ronnie decides she wants to take a shortcut through a really nice neighborhood, where the houses are fancier and the lawns more spacious. Ronnie spots a baby carriage on the porch of the biggest, prettiest house on the street. The two girls decide that the baby has been left carelessly in the sun and heat too long. The carriage is also too close to the steps and there could be an accident. So they decide to take the baby, to care for her better than her parents are doing.
Four days later, the baby's dead body is found by rookie cop, Nancy Porter, in a hut in Baltimore's Leakin Park. The child had been suffocated. Both girls are arrested. Although no clear account of the story emerges, they do admit to taking the baby. Ronnie and Alice are convicted and sentenced to spend the next seven years, until their eighteenth birthdays, in separate juvenile detention facilities, one a somewhat harsher institution than the other.
When the two are released, young adults now, they are advised to avoid each other. Each one has the possibility to make a new start in life, find a job, go to community college. The only bonds which remain between Alice and Ronnie are the secrets they hold close, and their bewildered reentry into a world where they have no past. As juveniles, their names were never released to the public.
Within a brief period after the girls gain their freedom, several small children begin to disappear from public places, only to be found again relatively quickly, and always on the premises where they were "lost." Then another toddler disappears, and this one is not found. The circumstances are chillingly similar to the abduction case seven years before. Now Alice's and Ronnie's parents, their lawyers, and the police, must discover and confront the shattering truths they did not push hard enough to find out years earlier. Otherwise, another family will lose their child.
This is a disturbing, unsettling novel with a stunning conclusion. The author's premise is that, perhaps, the most shocking crimes are committed by children. Or is the public more shocked that children are capable of commiting murder? Do eleven year-olds really understand what they are doing when they take a life? At what age do we prosecute children as adults for heinous crimes they commit? Ms. Lippman appears to believe that children are just as capable of calculation, premeditation and manipulation as anyone else. The reader is left to make his/her own decision.
All the characters in "Every Secret Thing" share some major commonalities. Adults and children alike, all long for acceptance by their peers. Don't we all? They all have secrets and all of them share serious emotional pain. I do think that apart from Ronnie, Alice and Helen Manning, (who is a complex woman and well portrayed), the characters are rather one-dimensional. Sharon Kerpelman was Alice's original lawyer, and is filled with guilt that she didn't work out a better deal for her client. She has stayed in touch with Alice during her detention period, and wants to act as a mentor now that the girl is free. Alice doesn't seem to care one way or the other. Baltimore homicide Detective Nancy Porter feels she has to prove she earned her rapid rise in the department. That her swift move from rookie to county detective was not because of her fluke find years before, nor because of family nepotism. Cynthia Barnes, the mother of the murdered child, is still grief-stricken, and her pain and guilt take the form of obsession for revenge. The character of reporter Mira Jenkins is totally flat. I don't really understand her place in the book, or the author's attempt to develop her. She obviously represents the presence of the press - but her part could have been played anonymously and the narrative honed. As is, many extraneous personages are introduced needlessly. I don't find any of the characters particularly likeable - but that's not a necessary component to enjoy this book. Also, I find it odd that there are basically no male characters, just the detectives who pretty much remain in the background.
"Every Secret thing" is much more than a mystery or a suspense thriller. It is a study of the two girls and the tragedy they cause. The novel also deals with issues of race, class, the burden of peer pressure, the larger issue of children who commit crimes and when they should be tried as adults, and SECRETS. As usual, the author's writing is taut and her story a page-turner.
JANA
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Which of them is telling the truth, if either?, 3 Oct 2009
By 
Eileen Shaw "Kokoschka's_cat" (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Every Secret Thing (Paperback)
A good, efficient and well-written murder story by American writer Laura Lippman, this ticks all the right boxes and has an absorbing plot-line. It tackles the issue of children who kill - in this case two 11-year-old girls, sent home early from a party for bad behaviour, find an unattended baby and take her away from what they tell themselves are uncaring parents. When the baby is found dead four days later, the two girls tell conflicting stories about what happened. Which of them, if either, is telling the truth?

Seven years on and the girls, now teenagers, are released from the institutions which have been caring for them. Not long afterwards, a child disappears and the mother of the original murdered baby begins to meddle in the case.

Characterisation is exceptionally good for a crime novel. We learn about the mother of one of the girls, the public defender who acted for her during the trial, the female cop who found the dead baby, a female crime reporter and the baby's mother, among others.

There are elements of racism propounded by some of the characters (the baby was black and her abductors white), though it proves something of a red herring. Women are given a central role in what is normally a male-dominated genrè, though this is not something intrusive. Only after reading the book did it strike me that everyone important to the story was female. Every Secret Thing is a taut, grimly enjoyable crime novel.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A real page turner, 21 Nov 2003
This review is from: Every Secret Thing (Paperback)
a baby goes missing and two 11 year old girls serve time and then are released after 7 years. British readers will spot a similarity with a notorious UK case, but Laura Lippmann has created a gripping novel full of interesting characters. Cause, effect , responsibility the innermost feelings of all the characters are mixed into a blend which keeps you turning the pages.
When babies start to go misssing after the girls release you really start to wonder how the book will finish. There are some nice deft surprises and this is one crime novel that ties up all the loose ends.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars missing babies, 10 Feb 2008
This review is from: Every Secret Thing (Paperback)
this book started well, but about half way it lost its way, I then found it quite tedious but wanted to see how it would end so carried on reading, my first Lippman, not sure I would bother with more of her writing
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2 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars My review of "Every secret thing", 2 May 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Every Secret Thing (Paperback)
After reading this book I was so glad that I borrowed it from my library,instead of increasing the royalties to the author.
The plot had potential, but was wasted, as halfway through the novel it degenerated into cliched "cop-speak" and totally irrelevant character padding which contributed nothing to the story.
Tedious,demographic heavy,the geographical detail was lost on this reader,as I know nothing about Baltimore City or County.
I raced to the end, eagerly, as I couldn't take much more of this inane,rambling drivel.
Characters appearing and disappearing for no apparent reason.
Endless "insights" into the personalities and histories of what seemed like an eternal cast of journalists,cops and sundry hangers-on.
There is nothing like a well-edited book and this was nothing like etc...
All I will say is that a major character committs suicide and just when I thought it was going somewhere, the ending was seemingly tagged-on, not making an awful lot of sense.
Reading between the lines is one thing, but practically crying from trying to see where the plot has gone is another.
All I can do, dear reader, is to say: there are other,well-written and deserving books,life is too short to bother with this one.
I apologise for any punctuation mistakes or grammatical/spelling errors,as there is only so much one brain can do after spending so much time on a truly DREADFUL book.
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Every Secret Thing
Every Secret Thing by Laura Lippman (Hardcover - 1 Sep 2004)
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