Review: Cartwheel by Jennifer duBois

Title: Cartwheel

Author: Jennifer duBois

Published: Scribe Publications November 2013

Read an Extract

Status: Read from November 01 to 03, 2013 — I own a copy {Courtesy the Publisher}

My Thoughts:

The parallels between the real life case of a young American student (Amanda Knox) accused of the murder of her British flatmate in Italy, and Jennifer DuBois’ novel, Cartwheel, are strong, despite the fictionalizsation of characters and details.

Five weeks after arriving in Buenos Aires on a study abroad program, nineteen year old Lily Hayes is arrested and charged with the brutal slaying of her roommate, Katy Kellers. Painted as a remorseless monster in the media, condemned by her own thoughtless behaviour and pursued relentlessly by the prosecutor on circumstantial evidence, Lily’s guilt seems indisputable.

Dubois shifts between varying characters perspectives of the events leading up to the crime and I felt this was a clever technique to demonstrate how easily our judgements of people and places are swayed by biased opinion and partial facts. From the very first pages I began to build a view of Lily as a spoiled, narcissistic and promiscuous b*tch, but as the story progresses it becomes clear that while Lily may be all of those things, but they are also only a part of who she is. Lily is a far more complex person than the media, Eduardo (the prosecutor) and even her parents credit her with, and no single view seems to represent the truth.

Whether or not Lily is guilty of being involved in Katy’s murder is still a question unresolved at the end of the novel. Though the ambiguity may bother some readers, it is thought provoking and has the potential to stimulate lively debate and discussion. Cartwheel is an interesting, well written story about perception and truth, faith and doubt and guilt and innocence.

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. harvee
    Nov 05, 2013 @ 23:18:22

    I thought it was interesting that the author left us hanging, as the real case also does. Though I found there were a few clues in the book that could answer some of the detective’s questions, for example, how Lily’s fingerprints got on the clasp of a bra worn by the deceased.



  2. laurelrainsnow
    Nov 06, 2013 @ 02:40:38

    I have this one waiting for me on Sparky…and after reading your thoughts, I am eager to begin soon! Thanks for sharing…and I liked how you pointed out that viewing other perspectives helps fill in where partial facts and bias tend to lead to erroneous conclusions.



  3. Jennie
    Nov 06, 2013 @ 14:01:45

    This one sounds interesting. I don’t really mind ambiguous endings – sometimes I like to imagine the various ending possibilities myself.



  4. Kathryn White (@KathrynsInbox)
    Nov 07, 2013 @ 21:24:55

    Sounds absolutely fascinating. I agree, Jennie. Sometimes I don’t mind ambiguous endings.



  5. Trackback: Book Review and Giveaway - CARTWHEEL by Jennifer duBois
  6. ireadnovels
    Nov 29, 2013 @ 04:14:23

    cartwheel sounds my kind of book i must get this to read from



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