Readers' Comments for YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN
In February, a select group of readers who participated in one of our special Women's Fiction contests won copies of YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN by Jean Hanff Korelitz Take a look at some of the readers' comments to give you more insight into this novel --- and make sure to watch out for SPOILERS!
Catherine P., of Cortland, OH
First, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to read this book. At first, I didn't think I was going to like the story. The author is very wordy and uses far too much New York rhetoric making it difficult for outsiders to understand. It took about 100 pages or so to catch my interest but once she did, I was hooked. It was very interesting to see the growth of Grace's realization that she was her book. It's hard to understand that someone can become so completely oblivious to what is going on around her and to how slow she was in accepting the truth. I have recommended this book to several friends.
Tommi J., of Irvine, CA
I found this book interesting. To describe the book as a mystery/suspense/thriller is partially true. The main character, Grace, had to uncover parts of her life of which she was unaware. I also found it to be somewhat of an inspiring story of survival. I would recommend this book to mainly women.
I did find this book a bit slow in the beginning, but once the murder occurred, it was very difficult to put down. I found Grace to be less than likeable during the first third of this book. As the truth continued to be revealed to her, I found myself wanting her to win. I wanted her to survive this horrible experience and begin life anew.
Laureen C., of Shorewood, IL
The book was slow moving for me at first. Grace seemed so uppity and seemed to believe she was better than everyone else. Coming from a privileged family and passing that on to her son in the way of the private school and private violin lessons.
As a therapist I thought she was also arrogant saying people should have seen all the signs and pretty much... An "It's your own fault" attitude. Why would anyone want her as their therapist or be able to open up to her?
I did think Korelitz did a good job of building the characters so we felt we knew more about Grace and Jonathan in Grace's view so when we finally meet his family, we realize he was a con his entire life.
Grace totally misinterpreted people so she was really a terrible therapist. Eva...she thought was stealing everything from her like her father and her mother’s dished. Then finds out her parents didn't like each other and had a bad marriage. You have to wonder about her keeping a practice at the end. Think she should have found a new occupation.
Thought the fake purse (Birkin bag) was hilarious. I was glad she put that in there. It almost was like the jewelry she thought her mother treasured, and it was really a bad symbol of her marriage.
Henry seems so much happier at the public schools with "real" friends v.s. the fake facades of ones at the private school. Both the kids and the parents put on airs to impress each other instead of being 'true fiends'.
People around Grace must have thought she couldn't handle the truth: her friend who didn't like Jonathan the second she met him, her dad who Jonathan played to get money for the other woman's son's tuition, Henry who saw Jonathan cheating. Her mother, who stayed with her father though she did not love him. She thinks of herself as a strong woman but she is not...at least until she moves to Connecticut.
I would recommend the book to others. I will be sharing with my book club members.
I would tell them it is a story about how some people are not what they seem whether for mean reasons, selfish reasons or greed. *A therapist goes through her life with a man who is nothing what she thinks he is and once he kills his mistress, it all unravels.* (Spoiler, like literally the main plot and rising action)
Pamela W., of Cedar City, UT
I think at least one paragraph in the beginning with Grace and Jonathan talking in person is needed. It would have made Jonathan and Grace's marriage more real to me than like a fractured figment. I felt like maybe she was making up this marriage --- so I didn't feel very connected to the abstractness of her marriage to Jonathan.
The book was slow up till Part II, page 97, most times I would've given up after 40 pages. But since I was to review the book I continued on.
The book was interesting in the later two parts and I found myself unable to put it down. Still I felt the unresolved issue about the husband. I know this happens a lot in real life.
I was happy with the resolution of Johnathan's family being received by Grace into her and her son's lives. Also, the resolutions between Grace with her best friend and her Father.
If I was to recommend it I would let people know that it does get better further into it and to persevere in reading it.
Phyllis G., Louisville, MI
I love the premise of the book and it was very well written. I did find the first half of the book slow reading --- too much denial and introspection. However, the second half really became more engaging and fast paced --- so much that I was really glad I kept reading. Grace, the main character seemed quite naive but that could be explained by the way she never really left her childhood home (she and her husband moving in after her mother died and her father remarried) and the way her husband isolated her from friends and family. In the future, I'll look at more underlying causes before thinking in situations YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN.
Sue S., of Madison WI
Jean Hanff Korelitz, thanks so much for taking me so substantially away from housework, cooking, baking, dog walking, laundry and socializing. YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN by Jean Hanff Korelitz was SO OUTSTANDINGLY written; I devoured this book. The mystery that occurred and the mysterious doctor involved, was so well thought out, and so incredibly told. I really had no idea where the story would lead me. I fell in love with all the characters, even Jonathan (I thought), and I am so hopeful that this novel will be made into a movie! Jean Hanff Korelitz truly did her research on those who heal others, and she made every part of this story of mother and son, so visual. This truly was the finest murder mystery I have ever read, and I hated for it to end. The twist at the end, involving the letter Jonathan sent to his wife Grace Reinhart Sachs, completely blew me away; I did NOT expect the actual origin of that letter. How fun to read a book that so completely entertained me. I must admit, I received many a spousal glare, while reading in bed with my book light...into the wee hours! I give this book 100 stars out of 5.Any woman who loves a good read, would Love this book as a gift. I would also think that many men would enjoy this book as a gift as well…especially anyone who has the time to devote to this book.
Mary L., of Lansing, MI
If you liked GONE GIRL, you will love YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN! It's much more than just women's fiction; it's an thriller, mystery, and most definitely a "page turner". The characters are well developed and the story line moves along with intensity. After reading the book, I was left wondering, "How well do we really know family and close friends"? I highly recommend this book to bookclubs as there are numerous themes to discuss.
Jean W., of Floral Park, NY
I was sitting on the beach in Aruba reading a copy of YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN.
I was a lucky winner of a copy and had every intention of reviewing it however the wind picked up the card with the information on where to respond (I was using it as a book mark). I did want you to know that I enjoyed it and told the ladies surrounding me to check it out. I also passed on my copy to a member of my book club and will bring it up as the next book we should read.
It was a real page turner and proves one should never judge others, because you never know what secrets lie in your own family.
Jan B., of Evansville, IN
Compulsively readable, well-written, and thought-provoking. Grace is a therapist, married to a pediatric oncologist, and mother of a 12 year old son, Henry. She’s wound very tight, is a snob, and not very likable. The first part of the book is a rather scathing portrayal of Grace’s rarefied world on the Upper East Side of NYC. But to Grace, life is good and about to get better with the publication of her book. The book's title is YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN (nice touch!), and is based on her experience counseling patients whose love lives and marriages are a shambles because they refused to see what was right in front of them from the beginning of the relationship. Her book is getting a lot of media buzz, including a Vogue photo shoot and a guest spot on the Today Show.
However, it soon becomes clear Grace is in deep denial and has failed to heed her own advice. After the horrific murder of a mother at her son’s school, which leads to one shocking revelation after another, Grace must question everything she has held dear. Much of what the reader was told previously turns out to be only one perspective of the truth. Her entire life begins to slowly unravel.
All of the action takes place off stage and the reader lives most of this story in Grace’s head. The pace is slow with a lot of background information and details of Grace’s life, both past and present. I highly recommend this book to anyone who finds it fascinating to live inside a dysfunctional character’s head, as I do. While this isn’t a thriller in the strictest sense of the word, the sense of foreboding is very strong and I flew through the book. I found the ending a little too pat, and so I give it 4 out of 5 stars.
Carol C., of Ephrata, PA
Korelitz hooked me with the title and absolutely delivered. I had trouble getting comfortable with psychotherapist Grace and her perfect life, not because she wasn't likable but because I was sure the title indicated it wasn't going to last. It didn't.
A third of the way through as Grace's life unravels, I was freaking out. Korelitz's writing was pitch-perfect that as the confusion, betrayal and explosions mounted my stomach knotted and I felt physically ill, as though I were in Grace's shoes.
I wasn't sure the story could resolve to my satisfaction, but it was beautifully handled, with hope and realism both making an appearance. I look forward to reading more from Korelitz.
Norice M., of Winamac, IN
Grace Reinhart Sachs, a thearapist lives in upscale Manhattan with her seemingly perfect husband Jonathan who just happens to be an extremely dedicated doctor working as a pediatrics oncologist. Henry is their son. He attends the same private school his mother had attended and he also was taking violin lessons from a prestigious violinist who is now teaching to a chosen few.
There is so much more to it then that. About the time that she is going to launch her first book things start to happen. The book is called YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN. Maybe it sounds a bit presumptuous, but I think the intent was genuine. It was just a book written by a successful therapist that wanted to help others in their relationships so she wrote a book and included a few tips.
She thought that woman should have known things about their significant other before they did. She says that it was there in the beginning and they just chose not to know. The statements she made are sound and worth considering in real life. It could help.
I do not intend to get into the storyline here other then saying that the book did include a bit of a mystery and a disappearance of a key player. Grace was affected personally in what happened and life was never the same again for her in a neighborhood that she had always lived in and maybe even taken for granted.
The middle part of the book appeared longer then necessary.(Maybe one less session with a patient or even lighten it up a bit with a bit of humor --- or something --- to break the dullness of the reading.
I am not sure I like the way Jonathan was completely absent from the story except a one sided slant on him mostly through the eyes of Grace. First make him real so we could detest him all the more. Let us feel that we are making the decisions about him.
Also, involve the reader more with the other characters. Let us get closer to the characters so we can feel our way through the book.
I do like the way Grace's character was shown throughout the book. It was very interesting. The storyline was also interesting. I would recommend this to my book clubs for interesting topics to discuss and also any woman who cares about their own relationships.
I like a book that gives me some food for thought and this it did. I do not think the cover would help in buying the book. Although I think the closed eye on the front cover and the open eye on the back cover are clever and make a point once the book has been read., it still did not impress me enough in the beginning.
Over all, I would rate the book between a 3 and 5.
Camille F., of Melbourne, FL
When I read the review, I could not wait to read this book. It had a great plot, but was just too wordy for me. I found myself skipping paragraphs and pages. I think if was 100 pages less it would have been much better.
I also had an issue with the title. What female therapist writes a book YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN? Why not He Should Have Not Lied? Why do we always blame the woman for being deceived and dumb? I did not like Grace and if she was my therapist I would find someone new after reading her book.
I will give the book to my daughter. I don't want to tell her my thoughts. I really would like to here what she thinks since it had such a good review from bookreporter, maybe I am wrong. I also want to read what others have to say about this book.
Peggy N., of Oro Valley, AZ
I found this book very entertaining and have already recommended it to members of my book club and bridge group --- all women who enjoy reading fast moving, interesting books. The way that I described the book to them is that it is about a psychoanalyst who has just written a book, but not yet published, entitled YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN. The psychoanalyst, Grace Reinhard Sachs, posits that women should be able to know what kind of man they are dating or will be marrying intuitively and just by listening to them.
The first quarter of the book describes Grace's life, her son, her husband, her lifestyle, her education and her friends. She believes that she is living the life that she wants and is with which she is comfortable. She lives in New York City in the house that she grew up in. Her son goes to the same private school that she did as a child. Her friends are all mothers of children who go to that private school. Besides her work as a psychoanalyst of patients who are having marital issues, she spends her time doing committee work for the private school.
All of a sudden her world is turned upside down! Her husband has been accused of murdering the mother of one of the student's at the private school. Grace thinks that this is impossible. Her doctor husband told her he was going to a medical convention in a town she can't quite remember and he didn't tell her where he would be staying and when he would be returning. When she finds his mobile phone at their home and her jewelry missing, she begins to wonder about the man she has been married to. Further investigations show that he had been discharged from the hospital for cause, that he had borrowed a large sum of money from her father, and had emptied out their bank accounts. Furthermore, it is revealed that he was the father of a little girl with the woman that he supposedly murdered. On top of all that she meets his estranged family and finds out that the stories he had told her about his family were fabrications. Grace is devastated --- she of all people SHOULD HAVE KNOWN about him.
I liked that the author has Grace learn to accept what has happened and has her create a new life with her son, and also have her able to reunite with her best friend from grade school on, her father, and her husband's family who always wanted to know her.
Charlotte Y., of Beaumont, TX
There is no question that Ms. Korelitz is a gifted writer. This book was interesting on oh so many levels --- and it was a fascinating read to 'watch' as her life unfolded into a nightmare of which was something (surprisingly) she had never considered or imagined. I read the book in 2 days and found (this thriller) most compelling as well as thought provoking regarding women and the choices they make with not much thought given to reality in their personal relationships.
I had to suspend belief that a marriage/relationship therapist who was so good at her job in helping others... plus had written a book on the subject on how women 'should have known' early on in their relationships --- would have no clue regarding her own life. Ms. Korelitz is a wordy soul and her writing superior, HOWEVER, occasionally, I skipped several paragraphs where she seem to go off on tangents that were totally unnecessary to the story and made me impatient --- truthfully, in the beginning, it almost made me stop reading until I chose the skip method.
This is a mind boggling thriller and I would recommend it to women who (like me) enjoy books that are written in a way that the writing itself is a joy to read --- and in this case, a good story was the icing on the cake. I am recommending it to several of my friends with various careers from a history professor to a shrink friend --- it is a book any thinking women would be glad she read...
Nancy N., of Onalaska, WI
It took me many pages before I really liked this book. I found maybe the first 100 pages to be mediocre. But then the story grabbed me and I had to keep reading until I finished it. I love reading about relationships, communication and good characters, so that is what kept me going in the beginning. Grace Reinhart Sachs is a therapist, married to a pediatric oncologist and has one son, Henry. Grace has written a book, YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN, about relationships. Her book's premise is that you see things at the beginning of a relationship that should tell you that this person is wrong for you.
As the story continues, Grace's life disintegrates. Actually, Grace isn't always the most likeable person. She feels she isn't materialistic, but the reader might find otherwise. I did see growth in Grace by the end of the novel, and this is one of the things that made me love it. Henry attends a very exclusive school in Manhattan, which Grace had also attended. Grace doesn't have a clue that even though she is well below the income of most of the Wall Street banker families who have children in this school, that she is very privileged. You can see comments made throughout the novel. But this is one of the things I admired about the writing. The reader sees the misperceptions that a person can have. Grace reconnects with family and a friend from the past, and the descriptions of these relationships are great.
Without going into more of the plot, which could spoil it for the reader, the plot is unique, the characters are believable, and the writing keeps you wanting to find out what has happened. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves novels with good character development, a good plot and a story about relationships. This would make a wonderful book group discussion.