Quickie Book Review: See What I Have Done

Author: Sarah Schmidt

Published: August 2017 by Atlantic Monthly Press eBook

Length: 328 pages

Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Crime, Thriller

Source: Public Library

My rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Synopsis:

In this riveting debut novel, See What I Have Done, Sarah Schmidt recasts one of the most fascinating murder cases of all time into an intimate story of a volatile household and a family devoid of love.

On the morning of August 4, 1892, Lizzie Borden calls out to her maid: Someone’s killed Father. The brutal ax-murder of Andrew and Abby Borden in their home in Fall River, Massachusetts, leaves little evidence and many unanswered questions. While neighbors struggle to understand why anyone would want to harm the respected Bordens, those close to the family have a different tale to tell—of a father with an explosive temper; a spiteful stepmother; and two spinster sisters, with a bond even stronger than blood, desperate for their independence.

As the police search for clues, Emma comforts an increasingly distraught Lizzie whose memories of that morning flash in scattered fragments. Had she been in the barn or the pear arbor to escape the stifling heat of the house? When did she last speak to her stepmother? Were they really gone and would everything be better now? Shifting among the perspectives of the unreliable Lizzie, her older sister Emma, the housemaid Bridget, and the enigmatic stranger Benjamin, the events of that fateful day are slowly revealed through a high-wire feat of storytelling.

Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks
When she saw what she had done
She gave her father forty-one
I think this rhyme is familiar to almost every school kid in America. I skipped rope while chanting this as a child almost a full continent and 80 years away from Fall River, Massachusetts. The fascination with the murders lingers on for so many, including me. So much so that I had a long wait to re-check this book out of my local library.

 

What I Like:

I love a story based on infamous murders. And this one is a crazy tale. The writer, Sarah Schmidt, is an Australian and brings an outsider perspective to this story. She explores the Borden family and it’s dynamic through the senses. The overwhelming heat of that hot August day. The sweat and odor of unwashed bodies. The spoiled mutton broth that they were all forced to eat due to Andrew Borden’s stinginess. The sickness that pervades the house due to that rotten mutton broth. The rotting pears in the yard. So, yes, this family is sick and full of decay.

I also like that there are so many 1st person perspectives for the event. We have Lizzie’s, Emma’s and Bridget the maid’s. We also have Benjamin’s, a man hired by Lizzie and Emma’s Uncle John to kill Andrew Borden. Like any mystery, we need different perspectives to get to the truth of what happened that day.

What I don’t love:

Some of the same things I like about the story, I dislike too, if that makes sense. The descriptions of the decay and sickness and rot of the family become overwhelming. I’m also not a fan of the inclusion of Benjamin in this story. I’m not sure we need his point of view of the events. At the end he causes action, but again, not sure it needs to be him that causes that event?

Would I recommend?:

Yes. Especially if you enjoy true crime that we can’t solve 100 plus years later, then I think you will enjoy this story.

**Edited to add:   After I posted this review I listened to a podcast about Lizzie Borden. Click on this link to The History Chicks see the show notes and listen to the podcast.

Have you read See What I Have Done? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below.

Advertisements

October 2017 Wrap-Up

October Stats:

Total Books Read: 16

Number of pages: 5,157

Written by Men: 1

Written by Women: 15

Diverse Authors: 1 (Not Quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas)

Nonfiction: 0

Fiction: 16

Paperback: 2

Hardback: 0

eBooks/Kindle: 14

Library books: 14

Audio books: 0

Rereads: 2

DNF:

The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout, Ph.D

I’m still waiting for these two books to become re-available at the library.

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick

Challenges to Date:

GoodReads: 108/75 (I met my goal for the year.)

BookRiot Read Harder 2017: 0

#ReadMyOwnDamnBooks:  0

Favorite Book: Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor

Books Purchased/#BookHaul!:

 

Room by Emma Donoghue

Margaret The First by Danielle Dutton

Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor

The Curl Revolution by Michelle Breyer

 

 

 

My Bookish Posts:

Morning Pages

Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon October 2017

Dewy’s Readathon Updates

Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon Wrap-Up

Across the Web:

I think this essay is an interesting read: The Hidden Horror Inside Jane Austen’s Novels of Love by Mikaella Clements

So that was my reading life in October. How was your October? Let me know in the commments below. Happy reading in November, y’all!

 

September 2017 Wrap-Up

September Stats:

Total Books Read: 13

Number of pages: 4,673

Written by Men: 0

Written by Women: 13

Diverse Authors: 0

Nonfiction: 0

Fiction: 13

Paperback: 0

Hardback: 0

eBooks/Kindle: 13

Library books: 10

Audio books: 0

Rereads: 0

DNF: 0

My Favorite Book this month:

Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor. I love this book and am so looking forward to the next book in the series!

Challenges to date:

GoodReads:  90/75

BookRiot Read Harder 2017: 1

#ReadMyOwnDamnBooks: 0

Across the Web:

In the fall I love to read, watch, and listen to creepy stories. One of my favorite creepy stories is about Robert the Doll in Key West, Florida. You can hear a version of this story at the web page for the podcast Lore.

The end of August marks the 20th anniversary of Diana, Princess of Wales’s death. And there are “think pieces” about her legacy. Hilary Mantel has written two interesting pieces about being royal here and here.

Friday 56, #37

It’s time for  Friday 56!  It’s a book meme hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice. Be sure to visit her blog if you would like to participate!

From Freda’s Voice The Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post in the Linky on Friday 56. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple!

Here is my contribution:

The Art of Fielding

This is at the 56% mark on my Kindle:

This description of the professor is so good. It completely reinforces my belief that feather boas should be worn every damn day.    #lifegoals #readmyowndamnbooks #BookRiotReadHarder2017

Have you read this book? What did you think of it. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, and be sure to leave a link to your Friday56, too. Happy Reading, y’all.

May Wrap-Up

May Stats:

Total books read: 7

Like No Other Lover (Pennyroyal Green, #2) I Kissed an Earl (Pennyroyal Green, #4) Maybe This Time A Murder in Time (Kendra Donovan, #1) First Star I See Tonight (Chicago Stars, #8) Natural Born Charmer (Chicago Stars, #7) Match Me If You Can (Chicago Stars, #6) American Gods (thumbnail images courtesy Goodreads)

Number of pages: 2,804*

Written by Men: 1*

Written by Women: 7

Diverse Authors: 0

Nonfiction: 0

Fiction: 8*

Paperback: 1*

Hardback: 0*

Library books: 6

eBooks/Kindle: 7

Audio books: 0

Rereads: 4*

DNF: 0*

Favorite book of May*: I don’t have one this month. Edited to add: American Gods is my favorite this month. I finished it just before midnight last night and needed to add it to my May Wrap-Up.

Challenges to date:

Goodreads: 48/75*

Book Riot Read Harder 2017: 5/24 (No change from last month. I need to get on the ball.)

#ReadMyOwnDamnBooks: 2*

Purchased/Acquired in May:

From Quarterly Box: (Arrived May 2nd)

Borne Gutshot The Blue Fox

And I got these audio books free from Sync: Audio books for Teens. Click on the previous link if you would like to sign up for this program and receive free audio books too.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1) Feed In Our Backyard: Human Trafficking in America and What We Can Do to Stop It The Gathering (Shadow House, #1) Beast  Of Beast and Beauty

In the Blogisphere:

Because I love challenges (I have read 83 of the books on the list.)

I’m always looking for advice for blogging. I just need to start following it!

I love visiting literary sites. One of these days I’ll blog about literary places I’ve visited.

How was your reading in May? Have you read any of the books I mentioned above? What did you think ? Leave a link to your May wrap-up in the comments below?

Friday 56, #21

It’s time for  Friday 56!  It’s a book meme hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice. Be sure to visit her blog if you would like to participate!

From Freda’s Voice The Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post in the Linky on Friday 56. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple!

Here’s my contribution:

         

 

This book has been on my TBR pile for years. And I’m just now reading as a part of the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2016. What do you think of this excerpt? Would you read this  novel? Let me know in the comments below. Don’t forget to leave your link below so I can visit your blog. Happy Reading!

Friday 56, #19

It’s time for  Friday 56!  It’s a book meme hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice. Be sure to visit her blog if you would like to participate.

From Freda’s Voice The Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post in the Linky on Friday 56. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple!

Here’s my contribution:

Small Wonder

Dire habitat loss has become the norm for tropical species, but macaws and parrots are further doomed by their own charm. Such beauty doesn’t come cheap: A poacher who captures a young scarlet macaw can sell it into the pet trade for up to $400 U.S. (The fine for being caught is about $325.)

 

This has been on my TBR pile forever. So this year I decided to use it as a part of the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2016 and #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks. What do you think of this excerpt? Would you read this book? Let me know in the comments below. And don’t forget to leave your link below so I can visit your blog. Happy Reading!