My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 2 days
Pages - 386
Publisher - Riverrun
Source - Review copy
Blurb from Goodreads
Tracing the fifteen-year fallout of a toxic high school rumor, a riveting, astonishingly original debut novel about the power of stories—and who gets to tell them
2015. A gifted and reclusive ghostwriter, Alice Lovett makes a living helping other people tell their stories. But she is haunted by the one story she can't tell: the story of, as she puts it, "the things that happened while I was asleep."
1999. Nick Brothers and his lacrosse teammates return for their senior year at their wealthy Maryland high school as the reigning state champions. They're on top of the world—until two of his friends drive a passed-out girl home from of the team's "legendary" parties, and a rumor about what happened in the backseat spreads through the town like wildfire.
The boys deny the allegations, and, eventually, the town moves on. But not everyone can. Nick descends into alcoholism, and Alice builds a life in fits and starts, underestimating herself and placing her trust in the wrong people. When she finally gets the opportunity to confront the past she can't remember—but which has nevertheless shaped her life—will she take it?
An inventive and breathtaking exploration of a woman finding her voice in the wake of trauma, True Story is part psychological thriller, part fever dream, and part timely comment on sexual assault, power, and the very nature of truth. Ingeniously constructed and full of twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the final pages, it marks the debut of a singular and daring new voice in fiction.
Is I had to describe this book in one word I would say trippy. The book goes over multiple timelines, character narratives - first person narration, movie scripts, essays in different drafts, emails so it is quite a mixed bag. Prologue is present day (ish) then a movie (script) then 1999 when the event happened that plays such a huge part in so many lives. A young girl passed out drunk, two young guys alone with her in a car and lots of rumours of a sexual assualt, bragging and pack/popularity mentality. We then flip forward again and follow one of the friends of the boys as an adult and how his life is going.
The book touches on a lot of triggering issues, sexual abuse and the popular kicks attitudes to it, alcoholism, animlal abuse/death, self harm, control, coercion, manipulation and the long reaches that one night, one incident can have on more than one person.
It took me ages to settle into it, the changes in time, in layout, in characters however once I could work out who was who and what was going on it made more sense. Certainly a different read and it crosses genres as some passages, the movie scripts are spooky, haunting, horror but then the story itself is an abusive event and how it affected those involved. You really need to concentrate, well I did, to keep up with it. It isn't a book you can dip in and out of as so much happens in so many directions. Different, weird, tripping, thought provoking, I think it would be a very good choice for a reading/discussion group, 3.5/5 for me this time.