Review

No One Tells Everything

by Rae Meadows

"What's the worst thing you've ever done?" asks Grace, the
heroine of NO ONE TELLS EVERYTHING, late in the novel. "What if
that one thing, that one moment of darkness or selfishness was your
definer?" For Grace, that's exactly what has happened to her life.
By day, this attractive woman in her early 30s is stuck in a
dead-end copyediting job at a sensational weekly news magazine. By
night, she drinks alone at a neighborhood bar whose bartender is
her only friend. Drink, and the casual sex that often accompanies
it, helps her blot out her past. Unable to forge real relationships
or forget her childhood disappointments, Grace is stuck.

That is, until she hears about the brutal murder of an attractive,
popular Long Island female college student, supposedly by a male
classmate whose advances she rejected. Grace feels a strange
connection to Charles Raggatt, the awkward, unpopular young man
accused of the crime, even before she learns that Charles grew up
in a posh Cleveland suburb right next to the one where Grace
herself was raised. Suddenly, as she delves into Charles's history,
interviewing his acquaintances from high school and college, she
has a project, one that takes her away from her stifling job and
her pathetic personal life --- but that also takes her back to a
place in her own life she had hoped was buried forever.

Grace must come to terms with her own past even more when a family
emergency calls her back to Cleveland. There she's forced to recall
the accidental death of her sister Callie when both were just
children. Ever since, Grace has faced guilt for destroying her
seemingly perfect family, as well as the perception that the wrong
daughter --- beautiful, sunny, loveable Callie rather than awkward,
lonely, difficult Grace --- died that day. As Grace uses her time
in Ohio to dig deeper into Charles's story, she also tears the
polished but fragile veneer off her own family story, realizing
that below the "perfect" suburban existence lurks some dark secrets
--- including one that Grace herself has been hiding for
decades.

NO ONE TELLS EVERYTHING, Rae Meadows's second work of fiction, is,
on the surface, a murder mystery with a most unusual investigator.
Along the way, however, the mystery plot becomes secondary to the
difficult, painful stories of personal discovery that form the real
crux of the novel. As Grace learns more of Charles's childhood and
adolescence (stories that are conveyed to the reader as flashbacks
from Charles's point of view), she also is drawn, kicking and
screaming (and drinking), into her own painful family and personal
history.

Although the mystery tale will (at least for whodunit fans) be less
than suspenseful or satisfactory, Grace's own story manages to be
both. A compelling, damaged heroine who might still have a chance
for healing, Grace demonstrates that in researching another damaged
soul's story, she has a chance to find --- and save ---
herself.

Reviewed by Norah Piehl on January 13, 2011

No One Tells Everything
by Rae Meadows

  • Publication Date: July 22, 2008
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 330 pages
  • Publisher: MacAdam/Cage
  • ISBN-10: 1596922923
  • ISBN-13: 9781596922921