Thank you to the lovely folks at William Morrow Books for my copy of Sunburn by Laura Lippman. All thoughts and images are my own.
One is playing a long game. But which one?
They meet at a local tavern in the small town of Belleville, Delaware. Polly is set on heading west. Adam says he’s also just passing through. Yet she stays. And he stays – drawn to the mysterious redhead whose quiet stillness both unnerves and excites him. Over the course of a punishing summer, Polly and Adam abandon themselves to a steamy, inexorable affair. Still, each holds something back from the other – dangerous, even lethal, secrets.
Then someone dies. Was it an accident, or part of a plan? By now, Adam and Polly are so ensnared in each other’s lives and lies that neither one knows how to get away – or even if they want to. Is their love strong enough to withstand the truth, or will it ultimately destroy them?
Something – or someone – has to give.
Which one will it be?
This book could have been great. A complicated woman surrounded by the intrigue of a mysterious death (potentially more than one death)… But it wasn’t. As much as I wanted to cheer for her, I hated Polly. She was selfish in a way that caused harm to anyone who happened to cross her path, whether they chose to involve themselves in her life or not. And despite the madness of some of her actions, the story seemed to drag on endlessly.
There was far too much focus on how much she weighed. Her weight loss was mentioned at least every 20 pages. At first, I felt that this was to illustrate how some men are unable to see women for more than what they weigh at any given moment. However, it was overplayed and I grew frustrated by it quickly.
Spoilers abound past this point because I need to rant. So, dear reader, if you plan to read this book, I recommend you stop reading here. To be quite honest, I didn’t hate reading this book. But it left me unsettled.
This woman does not love her daughter. Polly leaves her daughter because it is what is best for Polly, not her daughter, Jani. She cares not how her choices affect this three year old girl. She selfishly wants her child to remember her, but she sends nothing but a simple postcard. She only decides she wants Jani back when she learns that her husband doesn’t want to give Jani up. This was endlessly frustrating to me. And in the end, she is the cause of yet another murder, and she gets her daughter.