Testimony is a book I have had on my shelf for the longest time - pretty much since it was released in 2008 (in fact I think it was a Christmas present from my parents that year). I must have been waiting for just the right time to read it because when I had a day off from work a few weeks ago I managed to read the whole book in one day, and in pretty much one sitting.
The way Testimony is written and structured encourages the "one sitting" reading. It is narrated alternatively by different characters and as each chapter is read we learn a little bit more of the story from a slightly different angle and with a slightly different focus that just makes us want to keep reading to get the next little piece of the puzzle.
The book is set in an exclusive New England boarding school which is thrown into a scandal when a video tape is discovered and distributed showing several of the students engaged in sex acts - the students being 3 boys and 1 girl (and another student who has captured it all on camera).
The book focuses on telling the story of what happens after the tape has been made public from the viewpoints of the students involved, teachers, parents and other students and community members.
As I was reading this book I found I was thinking about it from different angles myself. As a reader I was impressed with Shreve's ability to build a story and create controversy and debate by having different characters hold very different views and opinions about the acts that had taken place - I think this would be a fantastic book for a reading group to take on. On the the other hand I was also reading it as a feminist, a woman and a social worker who has worked with women and men who have experienced sexual assault and from that perspective I found myself becoming very angry and frustrated with some of the views that were expressed by some of the characters. I think this passion only contributed to my reading experience though as I found myself fully engaged with this book and the final outcome. I'm not sure why I left it on my shelf for so long!