I am thinking right about now that I should have known how much I would love this book. I'm a little annoyed with myself for how long it has taken me to get to it on my library pile, but vacation was a perfect time to dive right in to Jean Hanff Korelitz's book You Should Have Known.
Grace is a therapist, excited by the publication of her new book on relationships, You Should Have Known. She finds herself living a picture perfect life with her twelve year old son, Henry, and her pediatric oncologist husband, Jonathan. Just as she is being recognized for her work and giving advice to couples, her own relationship is imploding.
Unbeknownst to Grace, Jonathan is not at all who she thought. When the mother of a child is murdered at Henry's school, Grace can't fathom why the police would need to talk to her, yet as things unfold, Grace is surprised over and over by her husband and who he really is.
Korelitz does an expert job of slowly revealing bits of Jonathan to the reader. There were things I expected that came to fruition, but plenty I didn't that I was surprised by. The idea that a person can't truly know another is not unique, but it certainly thought provoking and complex (I remember discussing this with a book club long ago after having read The Pilot's Wife by Chris Bohjalian, as the wife in this book discovers that her husband, a pilot, had a second family - wife and children- she was unaware of until after he died). In Jonathan's case, it isn't just a matter of keeping secrets, it is that he appears to be someone without a conscience or remorse, and although Korelitz doesn't dwell on this, it felt to me like he was unable to feel love.
Grace's character develops throughout the novel. As I closed the book, I thought about how much more I liked Grace by book's end than I did at the beginning. When the novel starts, Grace is clinical, a bit cold - certainly detached. By novel's end, she no longer feels as though she has all the answers, and is human.
My only regret in reading this is that I was so anxious to get to the end, I nearly flew through the last fifty pages. Korelitz's writing deserves more attention than I gave, yet I couldn't stop myself from finding out how she resolved this story.
Definitely worth reading!