The Fall of Lisa Bellow by Susan Perabo
Susan Perabo, who is best known for her short story collection, recently released her breakout novel and I was lucky enough to receive a copy for review. If you enjoy contemporary fiction that centers on family functioning, this novel may be perfect for you. Keep reading to check out what I thought. The Fall of Lisa Bellow by Susan Perabo
Published: March 2017
Reviewed by: Jen
Find it here: The Fall of Lisa Bellow
Two middle school girls, Meredith Oliver and Lisa Bellow, are waiting in line at a local sandwich shop when a masked man with a gun enters and tells them to lie on the floor while he robs the place. Meredith is convinced she is about to die, but instead, she watches as the man abducts her classmate Lisa. The novel follows what happens after this event.
The Fall of Lisa Bellow is marketed as a psychological thriller, which I think is a mistake. In fact readers who buy this book expecting a thriller or mystery will be disappointed. The novel is not about what happens to Lisa after she is abducted. It’s also not about solving the mystery of that abduction. Instead, the book is the aftermath of tragedy and how families cope with trauma. Meredith is certainly traumatized by the experience of watching her classmate be abducted by gunpoint. She experiences a range of complex emotions about the incident and her family becomes wrapped up in both her reactions and their own means of coping. It is certainly a psychologically-focused novel but I personally wouldn’t describe it as a thriller.
The novel moves fairly slowly with things unfolding gradually over time. It took me a while to feel truly connected with the plot but once I did, I was hooked. Perabo does a wonderful job capturing how a young teenager may react to trauma. The story is told from alternating perspectives of Meredith and her mother. It’s well-written and both perspectives feel very authentic.
The real mystery of the book is how Meredith will come out of her tailspin after the trauma and whether her family will figure out how to help each other cope with all the recent events. I enjoyed the book and once I made it past the first 30 pages, it was a pretty quick and engaging read for me. The book will appeal to readers who like books about family relationships, coming-of-age stories, and psychological analysis of how trauma impacts lives in myriad of ways.
Thank you to Simon and Shuster for providing me with a review copy.
If you would like to buy a copy for yourself, you can find a copy here: The Fall of Lisa Bellow