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afterwhat

afterwhat

Every Secret Thing - Laura Lippman Two eleven-year old girls are sent home in shame from a birthday party. They see a baby carriage sitting outside of a house, peer inside and see a baby, and they decide they absolutely must take care of it. But something goes wrong, and the baby dies, and the two girls are sent to separate juvenile detention centers until they each turn 18. Shortly after their releases, another child goes missing, a child who looks startlingly like the sister of the baby who died. Through flashbacks to the summer the girls were eleven, Lippman slowly reveals exactly what happened to the baby, and the mystery of the missing child in the present day is uncovered.

There was more mystery to this one than in I'd Know You Anywhere, but it was still thoughtful, character-driven, and definitely women's-fiction-ish. I was really interested in all the characters, especially Ronnie (one of the girls) and Helen (the mother of the other girl). I was also liking the policewoman, but ultimately the secret shame that she carried was kind of lame. Actually, no one in this book is likeable--they're mostly selfish, self-obsessed, and callous--but a few of the characters were sympathetic, which is an important distinction. And the race issues were certainly fascianting. I'd be interested in reading more about the racial evolution of the Baltimore area, since things were shown to be so tenuous in this book.