Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday's Forgotten Books--"Witness To Myself" by Seymour Shubin

Time once again for Friday’s Forgotten Books hosted by Patti Abbott. After reading what I came up with, head over to her blog at for the bigger list. Every week there are a lot of good books covered and plenty of reading material to keep one occupied for quite a while.

This week I chose Witness To Myself by Seymour Shubin. Been thinking a lot lately about those little choices we make along the way that can lead to one to where you are now. In that spirit, I offer the below……

Adolescence is a hard perplexing time ripe with strange thoughts, strange feelings, and impetuous actions with little consideration of the consequences. It certainly was fifteen years ago for teenager Alan Benning. His family, on vacation in Cape Cod by way of a large motor home, had no idea what he thought or felt. The family was well off, his parents were conservative and Alan, with no one to talk to about life and his feelings, began to hate and fear himself. That hatred and fear of himself grew and grew after the incident in the woods near the beach during that vacation.

In the present day, Alan, now thirty is a successful lawyer with a steady girlfriend, Anna, a loving cousin, and an obsession about what might or might not have happened that fateful day fifteen years ago. Driven to know, he begins to unravel his own perfect life. A life that appears to be perfect but hides so many dark secrets that he is not sure of what actually happened back then.

Author Seymour Shubin has weaved a complete tale about the human spirit. Shifting in point of view between Alan and his cousin the author paints a picture of obsession in Witness To Myself. Not only is Alan obsessed with what he might or might not have done but the cousin has his own obsession. The cousin’s need isn’t as obvious early in the novel but the end of the book it is clear that his own obsession is just as strong.

It is also clear that the author is commenting on the nature of mankind. Those little things that surely lead to disaster. Those little things, unnoticed or unremarked at the time and yet become telling through the use of hindsight. The signs were obvious, as they often are, and unnoticed until long after the fact. The author makes this point throughout the work as he weaves complex multifaceted characters throughout the tale.

The result is a fast paced intense read. While only 250 pages in paperback, this isn’t a beach book and far from it. Witness To Myself is a book that rapidly becomes a real page turner as it pulls the reader into a world not unlike his or her own. This is a book that one doesn’t want interrupted and is sorry to see end. Intense and driven, the book doesn’t let go until that final phrase “the end” and even then lingers in the mind.

Witness To Myself
By Seymour Shubin
April 2006
Hard Case Crime
ISBN #0-8439-5590-2
250 Pages

Material received courtesy of my ongoing paid membership in the Hard Case Crime Book Club. The club is on hiatus right now as it changes some things. Bad from a reading standpoint but good for me as otherwise I would have to let my membership expire.

Kevin R. Tipple © 2006, 2011


Kerrie said...

Hello Kevin. This week's edition of Friday's Forgotten Books is now up at MYSTERIES in PARADISE. Thanks for participating.

Evan Lewis said...

Glad to hear Hard Case has a new lease on life.