Review of new August fiction: 'Mrs. Fletcher' and 'See What I Have Done'

Mrs. Fletcher

Mrs. Fletcher reviewIf the title reminds you of Mrs. Robinson from The Graduate, it’s with good reason.  This satire explores love, loss, hookups and cross-generational relationships.

After divorcee Eve Fletcher’s son goes to college she is left trying to reinvent herself and give meaning to her life as an empty nester. She sets her hopes on a community college course on gender and society, but an unexpected text message sends her down a rabbit hole of online porn and thoughts of illicit relationships.

Meanwhile, college is not turning out to be the nonstop party and hookup adventure her son was expecting and he soon discovers other students have agendas different than his own.

Tom Perrotta’s Mrs. Fletcher (Scribner, digital galley) is a funny and observant look at society and how relationships are evolving in a constantly connected world. Reading this book was like hearing juicy gossip, it was hard to step away from until you got to the end and learned how everything turned out.

See What I Have Done

See What I Have Done reviewSomething is not right in the Borden house. In See What I Have Done (Atlantic Monthly Press, digital galley), first-time novelist Sarah Schmidt reimagines the famous axe-murders of Andrew and Abby Borden. And, of course, daughter Lizzy sits at the center of the tragedy that takes place in this dysfunctional household.

The events leading up to the murder unfold slowly as the story shifts forward and backward in time and between narrators to expose troubled relationships and possible motivations for murder. There are not a lot of characters to like in this story, but Schmidt does a good job of bringing the drama to life and tries to answer some of the lingering questions surrounding this historic case.

This is a visceral novel that is difficult to read at times as it proceeds toward the inevitable conclusion. But it’s also difficult to put down as you try to determine which of the books narrators are the most unreliable. And which are telling the truth.