Thursday, November 14, 2013


Cartwheel is a book that I've been seeing quite a bit about on the internet.  Jennifer Dubois' novel is an entertaining and suspenseful story with some similarities to the Amanda Knox murder trial.  

Lily has been accused of murdering her roommate, Katy, as the two live abroad in Argentina with a host family.  Lily is the oldest living daughter in her family, a fact that has shaped her.  Her older sister died before she was born, leaving her parents grieving, and indulgent of their other children. Lily is not a likable character, yet when she stands accused of killing Katy, I found myself rooting for her.

Lily also becomes involved with their neighbor, Sebastian.  He is also spoiled and rich, and alone as his parents have both died.  When Katy is found murdered, the police believe it is because of a love triangle between the three young people.

I was glad that I only knew of the Amanda Knox case and had not followed it closely so that this book was a complete surprise, except for the general premise - that there were two girls studying abroad, and one was murdered. 

There is a good deal of suspense in this book as chapters move back and forth in time and are told in Lily's perspective and that of other characters.  I marveled at the vocabulary DuBois used - although I could read the novel and understand it, there is a huge number of strange and interesting words she uses.

The end of Cartwheel was not as strong as the rest of the novel.  I found myself wanting more, and was a bit disappointed in the ending.  However, Cartwheel is a great psychological study of characters and their motives. I'll be looking for more work by DuBois in the future.

1 comment:

Ti said...

My review of Cartwheel posts next week. I enjoyed it, but I had heard enough of the Knox trial to know that there were a lot of similarities... the bar owner, the DNA evidence on the bra, etc. I think she should have fictionalized it more...taken us somewhere else with it.

The ending was anti-climactic. I still don't know in my head if she was guilty or not. I think so but can't be sure based on how the story was wrapped up.

What I found fascinating is the fact that it took place in another country. We know our legal system but being accused of murder in another country would scare me to death! Not knowing how they handle things, the unknowns of the prison system, etc. Eeek.