Give Me Your Hand

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 May 2019

Member Reviews

Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott is a reminder of the sheer talent and originality of storytelling that Abbott possesses. It is also a reminder that this is one of the more prolific writers going today and she simply refuses to allow anyone to box her into any one genre. This is a thriller and a drama and the creepiness factor just slides under your skin, tingling and bubbling until you're aware that scratching at it won't do enough. No you need to peel the layer of skin away and get to the blood underneath.

"...I haven't had any time. And I've never even suffered from cramps, but since I'm the only woman other than Dr. Severin (and we never talk about it in front of her), I'm supposed to know more, know differently, know something about the purple marrow of female rage. The fear all men have that there's something inside us that shifts, and turns. A living thing, once dormant, stirring now, and filled with rage..."

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder or PMDD as it is more commonly referred to is the subject of Dr. Severin's study. The researchers know that their work will change how everyone views this disorder. Often mocked and called Hatchet PMS or the Medusa Menses, it is rarely considered a serious subject. Until of course, it is too late and blood is spilled. It is a career changing study and those chosen to participate in the study will become famous in their fields.

Kit is the only other woman besides Dr. Severin, on the team. She has risen to the top of her field and is on the brink of having everything she ever wanted. That is, until someone new is introduced to the team. Someone Kit knows all too well. 

Kit and Diane Fleming were best friends as teenagers. Their ambitions and drive made them inseparable, that is, until the day Diane shared a secret with Kit. A secret that drove the young women apart. A secret Kit has kept to this day. But now Diane is back and the secrets that once drove them apart, has fused them back together.

"...You do something bad, ' she says. 'Very bad. You can't even really believe you did it. You wait for your punishment for a long time. You expect it. You wait every day.'

   She looks down at her hands, then up again. From the hallway, I can hear the elevator's ding. Its doors open and shut.

   'But then nothing happens. Your life continues. Except you're not a part of it, really. Your life. You go forward, you have experiences. But they don't touch you. You're watching them from the outside. It's like you're a ghost haunting your own life..."

This novel is a horror thriller with a level of suspense that will remind the reader such classics as Rosemary's Baby. Abbott builds the tension with vignettes of the past the two women share and with the undertone of the study that hints at the danger and violence to come. You almost feel sorry for the men who work near them, with no sense of the impending blood lust that is just around the corner. 

Megan Abbott crafts a tale of regret and fear and a sense that the monster is not waiting to reach out from under the bed. No, the monster is inside of us all along.

A hell of a good read!
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Cunning and clever. Kit meets Diana at school, both runners, both work harder than anyone else, both want to win the scholarship sponsored by the reknown Dr. Severin. Only one, however, will win this prize. A secret is a secret only when the one with the secret never tells. Diane has a big secret, one she tells Kit, who she considers her friend, but friends can so easily become rivals, when both want the same thing.

Years pass, Kit works with Dr. Severin in her lab on a study of female menses, when she is unexpectedly united with Diana once again. When I read thrillers I am sometimes entertained, sometimes incredulous, but Im not often made to think about how the story was assembled and what it is meant to represent. Abbott writes about strong females, women at the top of their game, but inside they are anything but strong. Here she shows us the cut throat, claustrophobic feeling of the scientific lab. Where there is room for only a few in the important studies, the prestigious ones, and what people will do to get to the top. On the surface Diana and Kit are alike but underneath they are very different. Or are they? One knows who she is, the other makes excuses for the way she acts, but who is to say what she is actually capable of doing. She is not exactly innocent, has betrayed before, swinging things in her favor. 

As I was reading this I kept thinking of the book Columbine and one thing said in the book has always stayed with me. That without Eric, Danny would never have been a killer. I was surprised therefore, when something like that was written here.

"The world is a fiction the brain constructs. The smell of a fresh peach, the punch of a Firefly in the night sky. The lilting hush hush of a lullaby. The brain fashions it all and we don't know how or why.

So how could I know about myself, what I am, what Diane is or was before.
What Diane and I are together that we might never have been alone."

There is so much going on here under the surface, so much symbolism. Not an ordinary thriller by any means, but a thriller by a clever author at the top of her game.
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Great thriller with page turning suspense. This book did not disappoint. Loved it. #goodread #thriller #pageturner Will let my customers know about it.
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I love any book by Megan Abbott anyway, but this one in particular. I found the story very engaging and binge-worthy! Read it in a day.
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While this wasn't my favorite Megan Abbott book, it was still an enjoyable ride. As a friend mentioned, the story here bore a close resemblance to the true story of Marie Robards, who poisoned her father at 16 years old. However, regardless of whether or not Abbott drew inspiration for Give Me Your Hand from this tale, it is left unaccredited.
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It was just okay.  It really isn't a genre I read much so I have little to compare it to however I had read: You will know me, so I figured I would give this one a shot.
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Megan Abbott is at the top of the thriller authors and I enjoy everything she writes.
this book was no exception.  very fast paced and enjoyable
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I'm a huge Megan Abbott fan and always appreciate the opportunity to review early. As usual, she nails female friendships and the dynamics of women competing in the work place were spot on.
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I recommend this on my blog Modern Mrs Darcy in a blog post called "17 books everyone will be talking about this summer"
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I love Megan Abbott!  This was not as good as some of her previous but it was a great read. No one captures the complexity of mean or bad girls quite like Abbott.
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Kit and Diane meet in high school, both driven to excel in the sciences. Diane confides a terrible secret, shared only with Kit and their friendship comes to an abrupt end. Kit goes on to a coveted position working with a top female researcher, safely keeping the past buried. When Diane reemerges, in competition with Kit for a top spot on a new research team, the past is flung forward and danger is everywhere. 

The premise of this book was compelling and I was excited to read a thriller with strong, smart females leads. The tension and intrigue were well written. Where this book missed for me was in the character development. It's a pet peeve of mine when strong females are represented as hard and unlikeable and that was, unfortunately, the case for every one of the characters in this story. I simply did not care about them enough to root for a positive outcome.

Thank you to Little, Brown and Company and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an a copy of this book, in exchange for my honest review.
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Give Me Your Hand is a slow burn suspense about two women, their friendship and their secrets.
Kit and Diane were high school friends until Diane shared a secret that haunted Kit for years. Now a chemist, Kit has the chance to work out a groundbreaking study and soon finds herself working with Diane again. They soon find themselves in a dangerous position and Kit struggles with the knowledge once again. Give Me Your Hand  isn't fast-paced or full of twists but it's a solid exploration of friendship and competition. This story truly kept me on my toes and I loved the way she revealed the information!
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The latest of Megan Abbott's novels, this one may have not been my favorite, but it certainly kept me intrigued the entire time. Though I thought I knew how the plot was going to progress, Abbott constantly surprised me with different twists and turns to the story. As the main character and her story became more twisted, the plot began to reflect that with changes and reveals at every turn. I enjoyed this novel and would suggest it to anyone who loves a thriller.
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This book felt suspenseful and filled the reader with a sense of urgency. I enjoyed the storyline of two successful women and the cost of success. At times, I found the plot a tad unbelievable, but this did not detract from my enjoyment of the book. I really enjoy Abbott's work and this book was no exception.
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This book nicely sets up a rivalry between the naive narrator and the sociopath sister/rival. There were a lot of nice metaphors. I wasn't entirely pulled in to the narrative.
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2.5 stars
This book was just weird. I couldn't really connect with the storyline, and I figured out Diane's big secret long before it was revealed to the reader. Pretty much everything about the mystery/thriller portions of this story were just downright implausible to me. 
What I did like were the facets of women pursuing scientific careers, their research was very interesting and would have been better fleshed out in the story had Kit been as astute about interpersonal relations as she was about science. I felt like she was pretty savvy, even when being shown in her high school days, yet every time she got around Diane her good sense just went out the window.
I thought this story could have been better. Had the characters been consistently portrayed and the thriller section not so completely out of left field, the core idea is interesting.
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Wow, ambition and driven from an early age, it all comes back to haunt high school classmates Kit and Diane. Left me wondering if I accidentally shared any secrets that I may regret.
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I’m going to go against the grain with other reviews I’ve seen and say that I loved this book - more than “You Will Know Me,” Megan Abbott’s last smash hit. This book was the perfect amount of creepy and cold-blooded to just scare the bejeebus out of me. I couldn’t put it down.

It’s hard to describe the plot without using spoilers, but I’ll do my best: When Kit and Diane were in high school, they became friends - sort of best friends - until one fateful night when Diane shared her deepest, darkest secret with Kit. And Kit ran far, far away. In the present day, Kit is a lab assistant about to land a spot on a coveted research team - until the day when Diane walks into the lab, recruited by the boss. Kit feels her sanity and her conscience slipping as she spends more time around Diane - will the two women be forever tied together by a terrible secret? Or can they overcome their pasts?

OK, so that’s the basic gist and it plays out extraordinarily well, flipping between the past and the present to depict the strangely intense, complicated relationship between the two girls. It has so much symbolism, I could hardly keep up - Hamlet, fairy tales, red, blood! 

The twists weren’t too hard to keep up with, and I guessed at least one - but I don’t go to Megan Abbott for huge earth-shaking twists. I here for the immaculate storytelling. And this book was no different. I was so sucked in to the world of the lab and it’s players, I could hardly put my Kindle down. I was just enthralled. (But there were a couple plot points I did not guess, so don’t feel like you’ll see everything coming a mile away or anything.)

If you like dark, atmospheric stories that just draw you in and hold you until the end, this is your book.

Highly recommended.
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Big thanks to Net Galley and the publisher for my ARC of this book. It was absolutely awesome.

I have spent as much time as I can trying to formulate my thoughts on this book. I absolutely must talk about it now. 

First, I’ll warn that it’s a bit of a slow burn and as someone who really really likes the action to start immediately, I get that that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. For me, I will say there was a lot of lag in the beginning where there wasn’t much happening and the main theme seemed to be jealousy. I was still here for it, because I could see it turning into commentary on internalized misogyny and women’s mistrust of other women, etc., but nah. It’s not about that.

It’s really about the connections women have to each other, even when they don’t know it. About how, even when you look at another chick and vehemently deny that you two could have anything in common, being women does connect us because there are some experiences that connect us. 

I keep coming back to that word: connect. 

Connections are a huge part of this book in basically every sense. Connections as in nepotism and favoritism style connections. Romantic connections. Family. Friendship. We get to see how incredibly complex all these relationships are but how, much like the human brain, each part is connected and works to make us function (or not). 

Okay, I guess I’ve spent enough time on a kind of vague overview, so let me give you a more concrete look at the book: Give Me Your Hand (and I’m sorry it’s not italicized; for some strange reason my phone is not letting me select the title) is the story of two women, Kit and Diane, who share a strange kind of rivalry from childhood. It’s the kind of rivalry most people hope to  experience at some point in life: they are in competition with each other, but they initially bond over that competition and use it to make each other stronger rather than tearing each other apart. As the two girls grow closer, a Secret ultimately drives them apart while simultaneously connecting them in a way that will last for their lifetime. 

Initially—actually for a lot of this book—I thought Kit was wrong not to trust Diane. I won’t go into more spoilers than that, but even after you read the “reveal” you won’t feel that differently about anything. It’s strange because the book is a thriller and there is a very tense, climactic scene... but somehow the climax isn’t the part that matters or sticks with you. It’s truly a book about how much women are cast aside and underestimated by others in their lives, even other women. There’s a constant devaluing that happens and it changes us, I think. Anti-feminist types, I can see your eyes glazing over, but pause: you’ll like it, too. Like I said, there’s a twist. There’s a climax. There are a dozen threads that all tie together at the end. But there’s also something deeper. There is an honest look at the complex lives of women. And, with the focus on the PPMD study, there is an honest look at the fear of female bodies, not just by men; but ourselves. 

Last year, when teaching the movie Rosemary’s Baby, I was bringing in the reproductive element of the film when I found an article that argued that the central fear in Rosemary’s Baby is a fear of women’s bodies during pregnancy because of the mystery and power that comes from the changes required to create life. One of those changes is blood: “the blood is the life” as Dr. Severin would say. My husband has only told one joke through the years that made me cringe: “never trust something that bleeds for seven days and doesn’t die.” While this makes me literally want to vomit because of its misogyny, it holds a kind of truth that is constant in this book: men are terrified and angry when women are too powerful and the blood of menstruation.... it’s both an excuse and a reason to hate us. 

Wow. I could really say a lot more about this, but you should do yourselves a favor and buy this book. 
I loved this book. It’s definitely a must read. 5/5
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I am reminded anew at what an interesting author Megan Abbott is- she constantly is evolving as a writer, and I find that really encouraging. It makes me want to keep up with her releases. That said, this particular book's tropes did not fully connect with me, so though I enjoyed the writing, the book as a whole was more so-so for me. Looking forward to her next release & hopefully it will be a better fit for me
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