Between Here and April – Book Review

betweenhereandapril It’s hard for anyone to know where allusion ends and reality begins, let a lone a small child. – from Between Here and April, page 25 –

Elizabeth Burns, a journalist who has given up traveling the world to cover war stories in order to be there for her two children, begins suffering blackouts one day. When medical tests show there is no physical reason for her fainting spells, Elizabeth seeks psychiatric help. What she discovers is a long buried memory of the disappearance of her best friend April when she was six years old. Driven to seek out the truth, Elizabeth begins to research April’s disappearance and uncovers a horrible truth – the disappearance was actually a murder committed by the girl’s own mother. Elizabeth’s journey to uncover the truth and understand the mind of a woman who would kill her own child opens a floodgate of unresolved issues for Elizabeth – a failing marriage, a brutal gang rape, and questions of her own ability to mother.

Between Here and April is a novel which reaches into the dark recesses of the human mind and looks at one of the most difficult to understand crimes: filicide. Deborah Copaken Kogan brings to the novel her own background of  journalism (she is the author of the bestselling memoir Shutterbabe which explored her life as a war photographer), and a history which includes a murdered childhood friend. In mining her own experiences, Kogan brings to her writing an honesty and clarity that transforms the novel into something that feels like a true crime story.

Between Here and April is provocative, tough to read and at times uncomfortable as it explores the subjects of sexual perversity, rape, child abuse, discrimination against women, and the unrelenting demands placed on mothers. Filicide is a crime which is almost unspeakable – and yet Cogan takes this topic head-on and seeks to find empathy for the woman who would be driven to commit such an act.

“Mrs. Cassidy had one arm wrapped around each of her daughters. The two girls…were lying on pillows, their feet toward the tailgate. They were dressed in flannel pajamas.” She held them while she killed them. She loved them, even as she was suffocating them. But she must have hated herself more. – from Between Here and April, page 223 –

Cogan’s writing is sharp, intuitive and hypnotic. I always enjoy novels written by journalists who have honed their writing skills to get to the core of the story quickly, and who know how to create tension and conflict between characters. This is not a book for everyone. Many readers will be disturbed by the images Cogan creates. The subject matter will turn many readers off. But, those readers willing to follow Cogan into the darkness will be rewarded with a story not soon forgotten.

Recommended.

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15 comments

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    • Kathy on July 21, 2009 at 07:59

    This book sounds absolutely fascinating. Great review.

    • Anna on July 21, 2009 at 08:26

    This sounds like a well-written book. The passage you posted made me really want to read it. Thanks for the review.

    • Nicole on July 21, 2009 at 08:57

    Wow. There are so many disturbing issues rolled up into this one books. Sounds great.

  1. This sounds good! I also like the cover. Have to add it to the wish list, I think. 🙂

    • Diane on July 21, 2009 at 10:20

    Sounds like a powerful story. Great review Wendy (i have this one too).

  2. This sounds really good – have just added it to my TBR!

  3. This does sound excellent!!! Hopefully I can read it at some time.

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  4. Dear Wendy,

    I was sent a link to your review of my book this morning, and I just wanted to say thank you for reading the book and posting such a thoughtful commentary on its contents. I really appreciate it.

    All the best, Deborah

    • Wendy on July 23, 2009 at 05:54
      Author

    Kathy: It is a book with A LOT to it….

    Anna: Glad I tempted you with that passage…the book is very well written.

    Nicole: *nods* Some readers won’t like that…but I think books that tackle difficult subjects are the most interesting to read.

    Kailana: The cover art is terrific, isn’t it?

    Diane: Thanks – I’ll look forward to reading your thoughts on it when you read it!

    AnotherCookie: Glad I enabled you to add another book to your TBR 🙂

    Amy: I would love to read your thoughts on it, so I hope you do pick it up at some point!

    Josh: Thanks for submitting my blog 🙂 Always happy to have a new reader here!

    • Wendy on July 23, 2009 at 05:55
      Author

    Deborah: Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. I listened to you speak on the panel at the San Jose Book Expo last year and immediately bought your book (you autographed it for me :)). I really enjoyed reading your novel – the subject matter is difficult, but you wrote so compellingly (is that a word!??!) about it that I could not put the book down. I hope you’re working on another novel!

  5. I had not heard of this book before, but it sounds like a worthwhile read. Thanks for the great review.

    • Wendy on July 26, 2009 at 10:04
      Author

    You’re welcome, Serena…I hadn’t heard of this author until I went to the San Jose Book Group Expo last year…after listening to her speak, I knew I wanted to read this book. And it did not disappoint!

  6. Dear Wendy,
    I am working on another novel, but don’t hold your breath. I also have to make a living, so there are a lot of magazine assignments and photo shoots (I’m a photographer as well) in between…
    Thanks again for your lovely review. I’m glad you liked the book, and whether or not compellingly is a word, I like its usage in your sentence, so let’s just declare it so.
    All the best, Deborah

    • Wendy on July 31, 2009 at 07:40
      Author

    Deborah: Glad to hear there will be another novel some day 🙂 Glad you enjoyed my review…like that we just created a new word *laughing*

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