You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott (3/5)

I am writing this review several months after the fact, so bear with me on this one. I am not sure why I initially gave it a 4/5, because as I recall the book I am no longer having such positive feelings about it. The thing is, with time I have realized that this books is really not all that memorable, it isn’t bad by any means, but I won’t be rereading this one. I have spent a lot of time in the last month decluttering and cleaning up my house and belongings. I am moving to a new city in the next few months and wanted to declutter before I moved rather than lug a bunch of stuff with me. This meant decluttering my books, and that is how I realized that You Will Know Me, isn’t worth keeping in my collection.

The book itself is interesting, and like Abbott’s other books, is a crime novel of sorts dealing with teenage girls. This one is about the rise of a young gymnast, the death of a family friend and the events surrounding both the girl and the death. Realistically, you will figure out what happened long before the book explains it, but that is sort of the fun in reading crime books, figuring out the “whodoneit” before the author exposes the culprit. That being said, I have some fairly big problems with the plot as a whole, especially with the elite athlete side of things.

I was an elite semi-professional athlete in an individual sport, just as Devon is in the book. However, I was not a gymnast and I cannot claim to know what a gymnast’s life is like. All in all though this felt like a stereotypical portrayal of a young elite athlete, from the obsessive parents, to the financial commitment and to the always forgotten sibling. Apart from the financial commitment, this was not my experience with elite athletics and I doubt it is most peoples. I was a internationally ranked, world cup athlete, but my parents were never obsessed with my sport, nor were they the ones pushing me to be successful. There was no sense of them living their dreams through me or for that matter caring more about my athletics than my well being. My life as an athlete was self-driven, my parents were always supportive (both emotionally and financially), but their investment was in me and my passion, not in my success. They were happy for me when I won and sat with me when I had a bad day, but in the end it was my sport and my life, and perhaps this was because my parents had a free-range attitude and really wanted to give me the freedom to explore my passion. This, is what I want to see in a fictional book about athletes, not the romanticized pressure and stress, but the passion for the sport and the loving acceptance from the parents.

Now the other part I want to address is the issue of the ignored sibling, this part of the book really kind of irked me. Drew is the younger brother of Devon and his life is essentially, school and watching Devon practice. It isn’t until he gets sick that his mother starts to pay attention to him and even then everything still revolves around Devon and her problems. I hope with all my heart, that my brother never felt ignored, he is older than me, but he skied too when he was younger. He also got a lot of one-on-one time with my parents as I was traveling from one event to another (my parents could barely afford to send me, let alone come). I am sure this is how it happens in some households, but tv, movies and books tend to emphasize just how little parents care about their other children. I know my mom cares about my brother as much as she cares about me, her love for both of us is equal and she has spent a lot of time and energy on both of us. I just wish books could portray more than one stereotypical view of elite athletics.

All and all, the book is a decent read, but if you have read one gymnastics book, you could probably just skip this one. That is why I adjusted the rating to a 3/5.

Up Next: The Walls Around Us – Nova Ren Suma (3/5)

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