Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Book Review: "I Love You More" by Jennifer Murphy
Published: June 17, 2014
Source: Goodreads First Reads Program
Picasso Lane is twelve years old when her father, Oliver, is murdered at their summer beach house. Her mother, Diana, is the primary suspect—until the police discover his second wife, and then his third. The women say they have never met—but Picasso knows otherwise. Picasso remembers the morning beautiful Jewels showed up at their house, carrying the same purse as her mother, and a family portrait featuring her father with two strange boys. Picasso remembers lifting the phone, listening to late night calls with Bert, a woman heavily pregnant with Oliver's fourth child. As the police circle and a detective named Kyle Kennedy becomes a regular fixture in their home, Picasso tries to make sense of her father's death, the depth of his deceit, and the secrets that bind these three women. Cunningly paced and plotted, I Love You More is a riveting novel of misplaced loyalty, jealousy, and revenge.
Lately, I've been drawn to mysteries and I've labeled this book as mystery, but I'm not sure that is an accurate description. There is, of course, a murder mystery...but that isn't what this book is about. Instead, this is a book about relationships. There is precocious Picasso's relationship ith her father and her relationship with her mother. Then we have Kyle's relationships with Picasso and Picasso's mother. And, finally, we have the wives' relationships--with each other and with their shared husband.
Murphy chooses to tell this story in an interesting way. The narration is shared between Picasso, Kyle, and the corporate voice of the wives. It sounds weird, I know. And, frankly, I thought I would hate it, but it was actually very effective. I also found the individual narratives fascinating. Kyle's voice is fairly straight-forward. The reader has no reason to question him, although it is clear he doesn't know everything that is going on. Picasso is an unreliable narrator, which I like. You are always wondering if she is telling you the truth--after all, she states early on that she is an accomplished liar. Then, we have the wives. This was the most fascinating narration of the three. Three women talking as one is tricky, and it is even trickier to tell their individual stories through this, but Murphy succeeds completely on this point.
I was captured most by Picasso. Murphy expertly draws Picasso out just enough at a time to keep the reader guessing. She is a girl at an age when children begin to really try to figure out their world, and her world is turned upside down. As I said, she's unreliable as a narrator, but it makes sense that she would be so.
I did have a few quibbles about the book. For one thing, I suspected the resolution of Oliver's death early on in the novel, even though I still found the ending satisfying. I also had a hard time believing that Picasso was only 11 or 12 years old. She came across as a girl in her mid-teens, instead.
But, those were minor faults in my experience with this book. Ultimately, I enjoyed this a great deal and would readily recommend it to others.
I won a copy of this book through the Goodreads First Reads program. I was encouraged, but not required, to post an honest review. I received no other compensation for this post.