Crime & Beyond Wiki

We had a great turnout in April to discuss Lisa Unger’s Under My Skin. We welcomed our new book club member and library liaison, Mehrnaz. Mehrnaz likes to read lots of different genres—of course, she’s a librarian—but she really enjoys mysteries and is looking forward to being a part of our group.

This book really got us talking, but not a lot of it was good. I don’t think there was any disagreement that Lisa Unger is a good writer. We’ve read several of her other books (Jeff gave me the number but now I’m blanking…..4?) and liked them. They all seem to have been quite different from each other, so she doesn’t write in one easily defined sub-genre of mystery. We also agreed on one other thing: the domestic thriller genre is overdone! In case you were asleep for the last 12 months, or avoiding book club, let me run that down for you. The domestic thriller is where there is a female who has gone through a trauma, has turned to booze and pills, and whose judgment cannot be trusted. We are SO over these books.

This got us into the discussion of the fact that these messed up protagonists are always female. Not sure why this is, I suppose we could have a male, sniveling, boozehound who can’t seem to tell the difference between fact and fiction. But alas, no one seems to want to write those books. Probably because we’d all stop reading.

So, to recap the positives we heard about the book: we like the author’s writing, we’ve liked some of her past books, the second half was better, and we’d give her another try.

Janice believes the author had a checklist as she was writing the book. One alcoholic woman: check. A pill pushing friend: check. Hallucinations: check. Since these are all negatives, I’ll list some more that were thrown out: Confusing, downer, unrealistic, didn’t like the characters, hard to get into, sick of this genre, disappointed, pissed off, felt like 2 books thrown into one.

We really had a good discussion, as we usually do when we don’t all love the book. I will end this summary with the moral of the story, as identified by Amy. If you take one lesson away from this book, it should be “going for a run is always a bad idea.”

Speaking of Amy, she brought some awesomely themed snacks. I personally loved the cookies shaped and decorated like pills. Jeff will post a photo along with this summary on our Wiki site soon.

Remember that we have a holiday on the 4th Monday this month, so we are meeting the THIRD Monday, on May 20th. We will discuss The Witch Elm by Tana French. I will be leading and Tammy is bringing snacks. If you haven’t started reading yet, you may want to start. It’s over 500 pages.

See you then,