Audiobooks

by Megan Abbott
Blackstone Hachette Audio, July 2016, $30

“All happy families are alike,” Leo Tolstoy famously noted, “each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” The way to unhappiness is unique in Megan Abbott’s compulsive, disturbing fever dream of a novel where Katie and Eric Knox experience the luck—good or bad being the big question—of having given birth to a natural athlete. Their daughter, Devon, is the teen queen of the gym, tiny but, skill-wise, head and shoulders above the other girl gymnasts who are hoping to turn their ultra-structured, gruelingly tested, hyper-competitive young lives into Olympic gold. Abbott previously has displayed an ability to channel teens in all their surprising, changeable moods (The Fever, Dare Me). That talent is fully present here, too, but the novel’s focus is on Katie Knox who has devoted most of her otherwise uneventful adulthood to serving Devon’s wants and needs. Her younger child, a son, is suffering from scarlet fever, but that seems only a minor distraction as Katie begins to uncover the many secrets, at least two of them criminal, her hot mess of a husband has been hiding in his overzealous attempt to make Devon all that she can be. Katie’s problem is that she’s not sure what, if anything, she should do about it. Abbott’s inventive plot twists are designed to push this fascinating-if-not-precisely-likable protagonist to the breaking point, providing the kind of emotional flare-ups that give Lauren Fortgang the opportunity to do more than merely read. Along with an impressive aural interpretation of Abbott’s prose, she finds the perfect teen voices, full of arrogance, snark and entitlement, magnified by their parent-enhanced feelings of self-worth.

Dick Lochte
Teri Duerr
5500
Abbott
July 2016
you-will-know-me
30
Blackstone Hachette Audio