The Raising

The Raising - Laura Kasischke This book had me from the first page, really the first paragraph. I was entranced from the beginning and could not put it down. I spent many way too late nights staying up to read it and long after I put the book down I would be thinking about the characters in the book. Ms. Kasischke draws complex three-dimensional characters beautifully well for her readers. The story progresses slowly in the beginning, slowly in terms of the action, but I do not mean that the story was boring. Far from that – it was very interesting, it was intriguing. However, before the true action begins Ms. Kasischke shows the readers who the characters are and how they react in various situations. We learn about their family lives, we seem them with their friends, in past relationships and we begin to truly know the characters. The scenes in the beginning of the book, really flesh out the emotions and complexity of each character. Thus, when the characters are in highly stressful scenarios later on in the book, their reactions seem honest to who they are. The story is told from four different points of view. Ms. Kasischke does this very effectively (many authors can’t carry off the varying points of view, however she does), she spends quite a bit of time introducing us to each character, so that each character has a strongly distinct “voice”. Two of the characters are female professors and the other two are male students. Each character is in a very different place in their life, but I found myself identifying with each of these characters and caring about them.I do not want to spoil this book for anyone, but I will say this book is a psychological thriller. As the reader is pulled in to the characters’ lives, the reader also becomes very emotionally invested in what is happening. I began to feel afraid of what was around every corner in this book, I felt that something was out there but I had no idea what. It was a thrilling read. The setting of this book is so tangible I feel like I had been there (and maybe I have!), it is a Midwest college campus and Ms. Kasischke got the feel of it right. She accurately draws college life for students -- from their sex lives, to their relationships with each other, the pressure of studying and the pressure in a large Midwest university of the Greek system. She does the same for the professors – the political pressure inside the university, the stress of the need to publish, and add in the pull of personal and familial ties and responsibilities. Did I mention the bad “guys” yet? Ohhhhhh, the baddies in this book are truly bad – and scary. I highly recommend this book to be read by anyone who enjoys a good psychological thriller (maybe some comparisons can be made to such authors as Donna Tart, Tana French, Sarah Waters). I plan to seek out Ms. Kasischke’s other books and read them. I am so glad I read this book. This book will be published on 3/15/11. I received this book from NetGalley to review for the publisher.