Anita Shreve is one of my favorite authors and I've read ALL of her novels. I haven't liked her last several novels as much as my favorites (The Weight of Water, Fortune's Rocks, Sea Glass, The Pilot's Wife). While Testimony was better than the last several that I've read, it still was not as good as my favorites.
Testimony is a story of a sexual escapade in a private high school in Vermont that is caught on tape and through a domino effect, ruins the life of many people. The story is told in an interesting twist as a sort of testimony in past and present tense from a variety of different views of different people who were present at Avery school at the time of the event as told to a researcher who is interviewing people for an adolescent boys and alcohol study. There were three males and one female involved in the incident, but the story really becomes a love story between one of the boys, Silas and his girlfriend Noelle, as well as the story of Mike the headmaster and Silas' parents. The story was tragic in nature and hard to put down. The story had surprises and did not end with everyone wrapped up and solved.
I liked that the book had an ambigous ending as in real life. I liked the stories of Noelle, Silas, Mike, Anna, and Owen a lot. The overall tale was very well rounded from all points of views, not putting blame on the girl or the boys, but trying to see it from all angles. I thought it was a good story for showing on one thoughtless act can really affect many people in tragic ways. I thought it also showed a good story for they way our laws are now that if a freshman girl/boy is involved in a "relationship" with a senior male/female, it is against the law - especially when caught on tape. It's interesting to think about. Such things went on when I was in school, and I'm sure they did before me and after me. Usually it was only one senior boy and girl and no videotape/ internet leak, but still - it would be against the law technically. The book made a case for how the media can twist a story and make it larger than life. Secrets are harder to keep in our internet world.
I liked the concepts of the book and the main story, but I felt that to have SO MANY different view points took away from the story. It seemed that often the story went in random directions that had nothing to do with the main story. If it would have focused more on the main characters it would have been better. What happened to Noelle after the event? I still want to know!! Also I didn't like the porn graphic detail of the first chapter. It turned me off from the story, but since I like Shreve as an author, I trusted her enough to keep on reading.