Blogtober Day 14: Review: You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott
I don’t know why I keep picking up Megan Abbott’s novels, because they never impress me as much as I hope they will. I’ve already read The End of Everything and The Fever, and although I enjoyed Abbott’s writing style throughout both novels, I’ve constantly struggled with her pacing, as the stories seem to drag to a halt and limp along until they reach a rather inevitable conclusion.
The exact same issue crops up during You Will Know Me. The beginning of the story is gripping: we’re introduced to Devon Knox, a gymnast with Olympic potential who only starts performing as a form of rehabilitation after losing two of her toes in a freak accident during her childhood.
As soon as the characters are established, a spanner is thrown in the works: Ryan, the boyfriend of the head coach’s niece, is killed in a hit and run accident. Katie, Devon’s mother and our protagonist, she fluctuates between sympathy for Ryan and concern for her daughter, who should be focusing on the Senior Elite qualifiers that are rapidly approaching.
But when it seems increasingly likely that one of her family members was directly involved in Ryan’s death, Katie learns just how far she’ll go to protect her family, and Devon’s dreams.
There’s a problem with describing this book as a thriller, and it’s that the majority of the story moves at a snail’s pace. It’s the same issue that I’ve had with Abbott’s previous releases, so it didn’t surprise me too much. However, the others are focused on the coming-of-age development of girls, whereas this one looked like it was going to be very action-based, which is why I felt so disappointed.
Sadly, compared to the other novels of Abbott’s which I’ve read, the characterisation was lacking throughout You Will Know Me. The Knoxes are hyper focused on gymnastics, but that’s basically all you need to know about them. There’s the implication that Eric might be about to embark on an affair with the mother of one of the other gymnasts, but nothing ever comes of it. Katie is naive and ineffectual, and being inside her head is painful. The constant repetition is draining, and the flashbacks to the Tiki Party – at which nothing of substance really seemed to occur – had me groaning and skim reading huge swathes of text, something I always resist doing.
I borrowed You Will Know Me from the library at the same time as Abbott’s newest release, Give Me Your Hand, which I’m still planning on reading but am now feeling far less enthused for. On paper Megan Abbott should be one of my favourite authors, because the stories that she writes should be right up my alley, but unfortunately something always gets lost in translation.
If you’re interested in learning more about You Will Know Me, check it out on Goodreads. If you decide to buy a copy, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link: I’ll earn a few pennies from your purchase. Thank you!