Author: Megan Abbott
Publication Date: 31 July 2018
Publisher: Picador – Pan Macmillan
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher
Give Me Your Hand is the first book that I have read by Megan Abbott and it was certainly a mind-game read. I enjoyed the story right from the beginning, I found it intense but not gripping.
There is a lot to love about Give Me Your Hand, the suspense is well written and we have a dual timeline bringing the events of the past together with what’s going on now. It’s a slow and steady unfolding that kept me guessing.
Give Me Your Hand is set in a research lab where the sought after Dr Severin has won funding to study PMDD, premenstrual dysphoric disorder. It’s a debilitating condition affecting 3-8% of menstruating women, a super severe form of PMS. Spots on the research team are limited and everyone in the lab wants to be chosen.
Kit is the only woman in the lab and she has worked hard to get to where she is, she feels she deserves the spot on the research team and that she must have an edge being the only woman.
This is a dual timeline story with a Then and Now that slowly come together to paint us a complete picture. Now, Kit is a driven young woman building a career in the sciences. Then, Kit was your average teen; until Diane Fleming started at her school and the two started spending time together.
Kit and Diane were close for much of their senior year but haven’t seen each other yet. They had an unusual friendship and when a huge secret was shared everything exploded. Their friendship was over but the drive that was been born for a scholarship spot with Dr Severin remained strong, it was something they had both been working towards.
Their lives moved in different directions until Diane walked into the lab in the days before the research team was announced and it brings back all of the high school angst Kit thought she had buried.
The mystery and suspense in this one certainly kept me guessing and all of the threads were deftly woven into a taut storyline that showed these people were connected and tied together in ways they didn’t necessarily realise. I am pretty sure some of the players knew exactly where all the connections were but it certainly wasn’t common knowledge. I was fascinated watching it all unfold and ticking off the connections and the history that had been hidden.
Another fascinating aspect was the lab politics and the nastiness hidden beneath the surface. People who worked together long days, every day, for years and always got on pretty well; as soon as they are in direct competition for very few sought after spots the claws start to come out. Just how far will they go to get what it is they want?
Abbott has planted a couple of deft twists that kept me guessing in this psychological thriller that expertly explored the depths of the mind while giving us a little taste of the research into PMDD. I had never heard of the disorder and I have to admit that it sounds like something that could have been cooked up by a savvy defence team. On finishing the book I did a superficial google search to discover that it is a real disorder and it is attracting attention for research to begin to understand, and hopefully manage the debilitating condition. Abbott shows how it could be twisted into a great defence but it is still a very real condition that deserves recognition and research.
Give Me Your Hand is a book that I enjoyed a lot, it kept me guessing and it had some very well placed twists that ensured I couldn’t put all the pieces together. Then when I started to put together a picture of the connections you start to make assumptions and then discover that isn’t necessarily the case either.
Interesting and thought provoking I would recommend this to readers with a love of the psychological side of the suspense, and not adverse to some gore. This was my first by Abbott but it wont’ be the last.