About a month ago I decided to re-start posting to my blog. I knew I wanted to start with this book. I read her book The Goldfinch sometime in the last year and was blown away (it did win the Pulitzer Prize). Immediately after I finished it I put her other two books on my paperbackswap.com wish list. I quickly received The Little Friend and while I thought it was very good, it wasn’t quite at The Goldfinch level.
I’m one of those people which looks at every list of books I come across, just to make sure I’m not missing something wonderful. Every time I saw a list of the top books of the last century, The Secret History was on it. Ok, I’m getting more and more eager to read it. I finally received it a few weeks ago. I was flummoxed that it was a “mass-market paperback” (you know…the kind you can buy in the grocery store). I was under the impression that nothing worth reading could be found between the covers of a mass-market paperback! (Ok, that statement is probably about a 3 on the sarcasm meter, but I will admit that I am a bit of a book snob!) I decided to read it anyway, all those lists could not be that wrong.
Book synopsis from back cover of the book: “Richard Papen had never been to New England before his nineteenth year. Then he arrived at Hampden College and quickly became seduced by the sweet, dark rhythms of campus life—in particular by an elite group of five students, Greek scholars, worldly, self-assured, and at first glance, highly unapproachable.
Yet as Richard was accepted and drawn into their inner circle, he learned a terrifying secret that bound them to one another…a secret about an incident in the woods in the dead of night where an ancient rite was brought to brutal life…and led to a gruesome death. And that was just the beginning…”
This is not really a “whodunit”, we know who from the beginning, but a “whydunit”. It is thoroughly gripping and lyrical. The characters are believable and enchanting. It is interesting to me that all the main characters come from a somewhat dysfunctional family, but then again, maybe they needed that in order to believe that they did what they did. So many questions! Someone read this book so I can discuss it with you!
Mormon Mention: At one point two of the main characters go far into town where the locals are not used to the students showing up there. They two young men (dressed in suits and ties) are sitting at the bar drinking some kind of alcohol when the waitress mistakes them for Mormon missionaries and comments on them drinking, saying something like, “Huh, they let you guys drink now? I thought you couldn’t even drink coffee.”