Book Review: Pictures of You – Caroline Leavitt

Title: Pictures of You
Author: Caroline Leavitt
ISBN: 9781565126312
Pages: 336
Release Date: January 25, 2011
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Summary:

Isabelle is driving along a foggy road, fleeing her marriage after discovering that her husband had impregnated another woman.  She unexpectedly comes upon a stopped car turned the wrong way around on the road, with a woman standing in front of it.  Isabelle isn’t able to stop in time, and ends up striking the woman with her car.  After the accident, she finds out that the woman’s name was April and she was killed.  Her son, Sam, was outside the car in the woods.  The question that Isabelle, and April’s husband Charlie, must ask is why April was driving away that day, and where they might go from here.

Review:

The first thing I need to say in this review of Pictures of You is that it was my book club’s pick, and I’m writing this review after we’ve already discussed it.  I try not to do that because my club’s opinion ends up affecting my own, but I’m going to try to separate my thoughts as much as I can in this review.  I will say that it made an excellent book club pick – it was one of the liveliest discussions we’ve ever had because there was just so much to talk about in this novel.

I was very impressed by Pictures of You while I was reading it.  I was completely engrossed in it – I read it in one sitting.  I was so involved in the characters and their stories.  Leavitt did an incredible job with her characters.  They all seemed very lifelike and real to me.  I could see them in my head, picture them going about their days.  I was completely sucked into this book and absolutely loved the experience of reading it.

After I finished it and had a little time to reflect, I still really liked it but had some minor issues.  Specifically, I was fascinated by April, the dead woman.  There is a brief flashback scene in the novel where the reader learns that she had some problems.  Specifically, it seems as though there she might have had some mental issues, as unhappiness didn’t really fully account for her behavior.  I would have loved more exploration of April, but at the same time, I know it wasn’t really her story.  As a result, this isn’t really a criticism, just how I felt.

Pictures of You was an incredibly interesting read that I really enjoyed.  I absolutely loved how realistic it was, from the characters, to the twists and turns of the storyline, and I appreciated that Leavitt didn’t take the clichéd, easy way out.  As I said, this novel made an amazing book club pick.  If you’re looking for a book you’ll be itching to discuss, definitely consider Pictures of You.

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Comments

  1. I’ve never heard of this book, but it sounds like a great character study! Thank you

  2. I’ve never heard of this book, but it sounds like a great character study! Thank you

  3. I have heard nothing but good about this book, and have to admit that with every successive review I get more and more excited about trying it. I am glad to hear that you and the book club loved it and I am adding it to my wish list now!

  4. I have heard nothing but good about this book, and have to admit that with every successive review I get more and more excited about trying it. I am glad to hear that you and the book club loved it and I am adding it to my wish list now!

  5. Terrific review, Swapna! I loved this book too.

  6. Terrific review, Swapna! I loved this book too.

  7. I’ve been wanting to get my hands on this book…you all have worn me down. I may be way off base, but I can’t help but think about Red Hook Road, where the plot revolves around those left after a tragedy. And I loved that one (more and more the longer I think about it). I’m wondering if your book club liked it as much as you did?

  8. I’ve been wanting to get my hands on this book…you all have worn me down. I may be way off base, but I can’t help but think about Red Hook Road, where the plot revolves around those left after a tragedy. And I loved that one (more and more the longer I think about it). I’m wondering if your book club liked it as much as you did?

  9. I wanted to know more about April as well. Maybe Leavitt will write a prequel and fill us in.

  10. I wanted to know more about April as well. Maybe Leavitt will write a prequel and fill us in.

  11. Kathy — great idea to have a prequel! I also loved this book and thought it was great book club choice.

  12. Kathy — great idea to have a prequel! I also loved this book and thought it was great book club choice.

  13. My review posted today (for the audiobook). I liked it!

  14. My review posted today (for the audiobook). I liked it!

  15. Yay for Caroline! I loved her book 🙂

  16. Yay for Caroline! I loved her book 🙂

  17. I’ve never heard of this book and the cover certainly doesn’t project to me the plot that you describe. (I am not sure why, but the winged camera kind of creeps me out.)

    I also feel that more recently, SO MANY BOOKS are written about infidelity and the way that people react to infidelity. I feel that is used too often as a plot device or instigator for self-reflection, and I wish that authors could find other ways to motivate their characters to re-evaluate their lives and what they’re doing…

  18. I’ve never heard of this book and the cover certainly doesn’t project to me the plot that you describe. (I am not sure why, but the winged camera kind of creeps me out.)

    I also feel that more recently, SO MANY BOOKS are written about infidelity and the way that people react to infidelity. I feel that is used too often as a plot device or instigator for self-reflection, and I wish that authors could find other ways to motivate their characters to re-evaluate their lives and what they’re doing…

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