Don’t Get Too Cocky: You Should Have Known

Sometimes those who purport to be an exhibitor of the gold standard in a field or an oracle on a topic, end up being blinded by their own expertise, to the true facts around them. As TBYL Reviewer, Tam found out while reading You Should Have Known, by Jean Hanff Korelitz (Allen and Unwin), those who think they know best, often don’t, they’re just as in the dark as the rest of us…

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Grace Sachs is a happily married woman living in New York with her husband, a popular paediatric oncologist. Together they have a young son, Henry.

you should have knownGrace runs a successful therapy clinic and is about to release her first book titled ‘You Should Have Known’ aimed at women, full of tough talk on how women should be making the right decisions when it comes to finding their partner for life, and the common traps that women fall for. She is cocky, self-assured and completely convinced by her theory. Despite this, early in the novel, as she sits for an interview to promote her new, hard-line way of thinking (or is that judging?), I got the sense that perhaps Grace was about to learn her very own lesson about judgement – both how to make good ones and how to avoid making rash ones.

Early in the piece I was wondering, is Grace about to find herself in the unfortunate position of not really knowing who she has been married to for so many years? Did she miss the signs from her husband? Signs that she has been telling women to look for? It’s true, even the smartest of women can fall for the wrong man, they too can miss the tell-tale signs that not is all it seems to be.

When a young mother from Henry’s school is found murdered it would seem that Grace is more connected to crime than she is initially aware. Her husband is missing, she is questioned by the police and Grace is beginning to feel that perhaps her reputation as a therapist and an author are all in jeopardy.

The twist of this novel, the predicament that Grace finds herself in should have made for a really gripping read, but personally, I found this novel a bit too detailed. I felt that I had to spend too much time sifting through the back-story and conversations and I was finding it hard to hold onto the story. I wasn’t feeling the suspense that should come with a psychological thriller as I was being distracted by too many details.

There were so many threads off the main story and this made the story complex, and intriguing to a point, but overall I have my suspicions that it just made the novel a bit longer than it needed to be.

In saying that, I did enjoy the story. It was twisty, and its slow-reveal built a tension for the reader. Grace was a strong female lead and the narrative delivered a powerful message that even the smartest person can still be wearing blinkers when it comes to the one they love. It’s warning, any one of us could be seeing only part of the story.

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Find out more about You Should Have Know, by Jean Hanff Korelitz here…