Review: Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott

3:54 PM

Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott | Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5)

 “Women have to live so much of their life in the in-betweens.” 

In case you didn't know: Megan Abbott is one of my all-time favourite authors. I adore her prose so much and the way she is able to portray the complexities of humanity and the relationships between women. It's fairly obvious why I'd been looking forward to Give Me Your Hand since it was announced. Abbott could write out the contents of a phone-book from 1975 and I'd be pretty much guaranteed to admire it. There is no other author out there like her and very few authors have made me feel to the degree that she has in prior releases.

Give Me Your Hand had a simple enough premise to it. As per usual, it followed the friendship between two young women. Armed with her brutal honesty and frank under-standing of being women, and the all-consuming friend-ships that can bloom in our youth, Abbott compels her audience into a chilling sort of captivation. While Give Me Your Hand is a solid release, and has its fair share of stellar moments, it is far from her best novel. There were moments where it seemed to pause and lack growth; perhaps this is due to its topic nature and inclusion of science (something I was never altogether great with in the past) and more of a personal preference.

I just found there to be quite a few passages where I nearly zoned out on. While they still had Abbott's signature shimmery prose to it, I did have difficulty focusing and connecting to the greater parts of it. They just weren't for me, and that's okay, because the story was enjoyable despite it.

What I found most striking about Give Me Your Hand is the sort of numbness that comes with it. I do not think I'm doing good with explaining it, but every time Diane appears on paper--both in present time, as a girl, and in the future as a women who has reappeared in Kit's life--there's this dreary sort of numbness that comes with her. I really dig it, because it adds this eerie element to it that will hit readers hard.

I enjoyed the central mystery and the connection that Kit and Diane shared, even after the years since high school passed and Diane told Kit a secret that changed everything. As adults, they are similar to who they were and because of this, that connection crackles even now. I thought there was something so terrifying, intriguing and bittersweet about their friendship and the series of events that unfolds in their adult years.

Admittedly, I found myself haunted by Diane's secret much like Kit was. There's something so... off center about Diane, you're disarmed. She seems normal enough. And then there's those moments in her scenes where you know she's not, and you're struggling right there with Kit.

Give Me Your Hand proves a theory I've had all along--even in Abbott's weaker points, her prose is so fiery and dark that there's no competition between her work and many of her contemporaries. I cannot stress this fact enough: even her least compelling works still remain better written than so many other's in modern times.

While this novel wasn't my favourite of Abbott's, it's still a fascinating read that will absorb your fear and captivate you in due time. Give it a chance, it's worth it once it gets into its groove.

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