Description: Katie and Eric Knox have dedicated their lives to their fifteen-year-old daughter Devon, a gymnastics prodigy and Olympic hopeful. But when a violent death rocks their close-knit gymnastics community just weeks before an all-important competition, everything the Knoxes have worked so hard for feels suddenly at risk. As rumors swirl among the other parents, revealing hidden plots and allegiances, Katie tries frantically to hold her family together while also finding herself drawn, irresistibly, to the crime itself, and the dark corners it threatens to illuminate. From a writer with “exceptional gifts for making nerves jangle and skin crawl,” (Janet Maslin) You Will Know Me is a breathless rollercoaster of a novel about the desperate limits of desire, jealousy, and ambition.
Megan Abbott’s latest novel “You Will Know Me” went behind the scenes of competitive gymnastics and depicted the intense pressure put on the various people immersed in that culture. Told from a mom’s point of view, Katie and her family with their daughter Devon who is a gymnastics prodigy are at the center of the story. Living and breathing gymnastics, everything is turned on its head when Ryan, a young man who was part of their community, is killed in a hit-and-run.
Amidst the shock of Ryan’s death, Katie struggles to understand not only what happened to Ryan, but also what has become of her own family. Katie is blind to the interworking of her family and the pressure her daughter is under to win her competitions on the road to the Olympics, but it seemed she was either naïve or just didn’t want to see the reality of her family’s dynamics.
The book was well-written and the perspective made it the most intriguing because it’s generally expected that the one who is telling the story from their point of view is the main character. In this case, Abbott keeps readers guessing, never quite sure whether the story is really about Katie, Devon, or even husband/father Eric, but at the end of the day they are a family – a unit – and what affects one affects all of them.
I loved getting into the politics of the competitive gymnastics culture and comparing it to the lives of the few people I have known in that world. Megan Abbott did a great job of balancing the parental discord with the stress and anxiety placed on their daughters.
Although Katie was annoying in her choice to remain disengaged and almost feel as if she was above the other parents for doing so, her character was relatable and honest. Devon was the only character that was difficult to know or relate to, but told from a mother’s perspective it makes sense that a teenager would maintain her stoicism and remain distant.
The most interesting aspect of this book was how everyone’s lives both converged and diverged on one specific night. Things are always happening, but it’s easy to forget all of the little details in the moment and looking back with the realization of its importance, how many of those details can be easily recalled? Hindsight is 20-20, as Megan Abbott skillfully demonstrates in “You Will Know Me.”
*I received this book through BookSparks for participating in #SRC2016 in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.