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At a New England boarding school, a sex scandal is about to break. Even more shocking than the sexual acts themselves is the fact that they were caught on videotape.

A Pandora's box of revelations, the tape triggers a chorus of voices—those of the men, women, teenagers, and parents involved in the scandal—that details the ways in which lives can be derailed or destroyed in one foolish moment.

Writing with a pace and intensity surpassing even her own greatest work, Anita Shreve delivers in TESTIMONY a gripping emotional drama with the impact of a thriller. No one more compellingly explores the dark impulses that sway the lives of seeming innocents, the needs and fears that drive ordinary men and women into intolerable dilemmas, and the ways in which our best intentions can lead to our worst transgressions.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781600246180
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Publication date: 05/05/2009
Edition description: Abridged, 4 CDs
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 5.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Anita Shreve is the critically acclaimed author of 14 novels, including Body Surfing, The Pilot's Wife, which was a selection of Oprah's Book Club, and The Weight of Water, which was a finalist for England's Orange Prize. She lives in Massachusetts.


New Hampshire; Massachusetts

Date of Birth:



B.A., Tufts University

What People are Saying About This

Joanna Powell

Contrasting the sweetness of young love with the primal recklessness of lust, Shreve paints a chilling portrait of how bad decisions in brief moments can ruin lives.


Bette-Lee Fox

Shreve flawlessly weaves a tale that is mesmerizing, hypnotic, and compulsive.
— Library Journal

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Testimony 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 342 reviews.
loverofbooks27 More than 1 year ago
I have read everything that Shreve has written to date. I looked forward to this book. However, I was very disappointed. The characters were weak, and too predictable. Her storyline just didn't have the impact I would have thought that this storyline would have had. By using each character to tell the story I think it left the plot weak. The book was too predictable. This is not one of her best works. Very disappointed!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was an enjoyable read. The story was very intriguing and suspenseful. The thing that really bothered me about this book was how it was written. Shreve chooses to go back and forth between about 20 different characters which gets really annoying because half of the characters are extremely insignificant to the story.
DaniHall More than 1 year ago
i never read an anita schreve before but because of this book - i want to read more of her.

this book was amazing in so many ways. it was a slow read for the first 80 pages but after that, i couldn't put it down. the characters are amazing and could be the person who sat next to you in college or high school. it's real. the story is given up front and then goes backward which is beautiful. it tells you the end result right away and then starts to tell you what happened before, during and after the end result.

a must read!
loves2readIL More than 1 year ago
Ms. Shreve's sensitive story telling about a sexual incident that takes place in a private school and how it affects several families is a wonderful book. This could have been a very difficult topic to write about but Ms. Shreve carried it off very well. Told from the various views of the people involved, as a reader you get everyone's opinion, which keeps you wanting to read page after page. The characters are well developed.
cewilch More than 1 year ago
I have long appreciated Anita Shreve's writing style and her ability to portray sensitive subject matters in an understandable way. The story is told in alternating chapters by the different characters. Even though I understand why it was done this way, there were a couple of times I had difficulty discerning whether we were in the past or present tense in the chapter being read. With that said, even though parts of this story were painful to read, I was touched by it and brought to tears in certain parts. The suprise element at the ending was interesting and possibly meant to be somewhat redeeming in nature for the students involved in the incident. I always look forward to the next Anita Shreve book.
CarolP More than 1 year ago
When I started this book, I thought it would be just another sensationalism on a rape case, but it was not at all. The perspective of each character told in turn, brought forth the story in such a way that i just couldn't put it down. And, when I finished the book, I had such a tightness in my chest from the emotional trip, that I had to go listen to some crazy music just to alleviate the mood.
c5b More than 1 year ago
This was also my least Shreve book. It was very Jodi Picoult'ish in the way it's told - each person is a chapter - but not as effectively as Picoult. Even though it's a potential wake-up call for teenagers who might read this I don't feel that's what was intended as Shreve doesn't usually write for teenage boys. Thus, I don't feel they would read this. As for parents of teenage boys - I think they are already aware of these types of situations (I have 15 & 18 year olds and have talked with them about this kind of thing for the last several years). The story was good, the plot good, too many characters with not all of them developed enough - especially that of Mike's wife, in my opinion. If the story had been a bit longer, more involved with some of the characters and their relationships with each other it would have been a much better read. To me, this was more of a rough draft - still requiring work, but good start!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Did anyone else read The Headmaster's Dilemma by Louis Auchenclaus? His novel took place at a New England boarding school, Averhill Academy. Shreve's is Avery Academy, also in New Elgland. Averhill's headmaster, Mike. Avery's is Michael. Coincidence?
Vicki2 More than 1 year ago
The key to The Testimony is how one's actions can have a domino effect on others. In a very timely story (read current newspapers about teen sexting), Shreve details the lives of many people effected by the actions of just four students. The bad behaviors of these four leave a permanent and irreparable mark on the lives impacted. The story takes place in a private high school setting in New England but could translate to any school, anytown, USA. I recommend the book highly and have passed it to my daughter, a high school teacher, as recommended reading for her advanced students and colleagues. Anita Shreve's writing is wonderful as usual, her characters rich and believable.
book_me_up More than 1 year ago
I have loved Anita Shreve ever since I read Fortune's Rocks. The idea behind this book intrigued me, and I enjoyed it to about half way at which point it got difficult to remember who each character was. As the title suggests, each chapter is written as a testimony of a person who was somehow involved in the incident at this prestigious school. This makes it hard to really get into any of the characters fully. And you are introduced to a new character with a new perspective every few chapters. Also the book goes back and forth on the timeline, and sometimes it's hard to piece the parts together. I found myself asking did this happen before that did? It was a "novel" idea of writing a book (pun unintended), but it got annoying after a while.
ReviewYourBook.com More than 1 year ago
Anita Shreve
ISBN: 9780316059862
Little, Brown & Co., 2008
Reviewed by Debra Gaynor for ReviewYourBook.com, 11/08
4 Stars
Placing blame¿
The cassette looked small, innocent, and harmless; it was anything but. The cassette ended up on the desk of the headmaster of the Avery Academy, a prestigious New England boarding school. Scandal rocks the town. Someone had taped several male students from the Academy having sex with a young girl.
The story is told from several points of view. My perception of an event will be different from another¿s perception. The truth lies somewhere in between. You come to know each character and their nuances. Not all the characters are likable, in fact they all seemed to have the attitude ¿it was someone else¿s fault¿ or ¿why me¿ and ¿poor little me.¿ Sadly, this plot could have been ripped from the headlines.
Each chapter is short and to the point. Testimony is a fast and easy read. Anita Shreve examines the reaction of a town, parents, and students to scandal. This book will leave you thinking and questioning your own belief system. At first appearance, the plot is superficial. Then, as you begin to read you realize this is a deep story. There is more depth than what I first thought. The plot is complex and multifaceted. Hidden deep under the original event were the true stories; the readers have to ferret out the facts. There are consequences to all decisions, actions, and events. Readers will not want to miss this gripping drama.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hadn't had the opportunity to read a Shreeve novel for quite some time. This one didn't disappoint. Deals with current and relative subject matter that makes you think of things from many different perspectives. She has strong voice and characterization. You feel like you really know these people. Great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was one of the worst books I have ever read. Don't waste your time. The plot is disjointed and extremely hard to follow. I kept waiting for it to get better but it didn't. It was like an endless root canal!
SuseNJ More than 1 year ago
Intense emotions; some scenes you will never forget.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have to be honest, as much as this book bored me, I was quite interested in the end. The last eighty pages or so, I couldn't stop reading, which was quite unusual, because a day before, I wouldn't even pick the book up--it was so boring. And I didn't appreciate the constant time flips and flops. I mean, unless you're into that sort of thing or you're the type of person who's good at deciphering what year the book's in at any particular point within it, I should tell you now, that it is definitely quite the brain stretcher. Some of it's in 2006, some in 2008 or 2007. I don't even know. But anyway. I have to say, the characters were great; they each had an amazingly distinct voice. It was as if Shreve gathered up completely different people to write for every character. I was absolutely in awe when I read all of the characters and realized that ONE woman wrote each of these characters. I mean, Shreve proved to me how versatile she is. She can write from the perspective of a insolent teenaged boy to the perspective of a vapid fourteen-year-old girl to the perspective of a scholarly private school headmaster, without any strings attached to one another. They all have their own voice, and I think that's what I liked the most about this book. The plot was alright. There was way too much lag in the middle of the book and the foreshadowing in the beginning of the book kind of ruined it--notwithstanding, the end was great. I would recommend this book to someone with a lot of time on their hands, because I definitely can't say it was a book that was for a one-day reader. They'd be bored out of their minds. It takes a while, I guess, to let it soak in.
GreenAndBlueStars More than 1 year ago
I was really eager to start this book and when I finally got it, I found that I just couldn't finish it. It was hard to get in to and when I thought it would pick up, it just didn't. I felt like the story wasn't going anywhere and that I was never making any progress. I didn't feel the build-up to the turning point in the book. I didn't mind reading from different points-of-view, but felt like I was circling the story. Had to put this one down and move on to something else....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a big Anita Shreve reader. This book was good but not nearly as good as some of her past books such as Sea Glass and Fortune's Rock. As always she tells a good story that has some good thought provoking conversational undertones to it. Character development was a little too typical and not always realisitic.
EasthPayson1842 More than 1 year ago
This story is based almost entirely on true events. Passing this book off as fiction is a horrifying act of fraud. Anita is simply profiting from an actual event that ruined many lives and had a profoundly tragic impact on the community in which it took place. This comes from someone who was present in that community when the "tape" event took place. Shreve should be ashamed.
frisbeesage on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Testimony by Anita Shreve tells the story of a group of private school boys who changes their lives irrevocably in one moment of wild abandon. That one moment sweeps up the entire school, their parents, and the surrounding community in its aftermath. The book begins with the fateful moment and then takes you both back to explain the events leading up to the moment and forward to lay out the consequences. As we have come to expect Shreve presents us with clear, clean writing and an interesting plot. There are plenty of moral dilemnas here to ponder and Shreve leaves most of it open to your own interpretation. Did the boys deserve the final outcome? Where did their parents go wrong? Was the event inevitable?I listened to the audio version of this book. It was recorded with a full cast of characters which definitely gives the feeling of being there, on campus, in the middle of the big scandel. I loved the different viewpoints presented by the boys, the girl, a girlfriend of one of the boys, parents, headmaster, and even a lunch lady at the school. It gives you a complete picture while letting you see that no one character in the book had such a complete picture of what ocurred. Testimony held my interest and gave me some things to think about, but in the end it is a pretty dark and disturbing cautionary tale.
indygo88 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was really a pleasant surprise. I've read several of Anita Shreve's, and I've generally thought her subject matter was fairly interesting, but was never really blown away by any of them. This has easily been my favorite thus far. Basic plot summary: teenage sex scandal at a private school...A videotape is released & repurcussions follow. This was told from a variety of character perspectives, both major and minor. It brought to the surface a lot of varied emotions and allows the reader to see a situation from a not-so-narrow-minded point of view. I earread this on audio, and thought it was read very well by a cast of readers. The only complaint I have is that it did jump back & forth in time which was mildly confusing, as well as the variation of 1st person/3rd person/omniscient narrator. I think I may have enjoyed it even more had it been all in 1st person narration. But regardless, a very good novel.
sharlene_w on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Testimony is an incident told from the perspective of the various people that were affected. I especially enjoyed listening to the audio version as each character had a voice. It was well crafted with a powerful message. The choices one person makes can have a rippling effect on the people and community around them.
bookappeal on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Told in multiple points of view, this novel shows how one stupid, poor choice can have devastating effects. The headmaster of a private school receives a videotape of a 14-yr-old student girl involved in sexual activity with several older student boys. The mistakes of the kids compounded by the mistakes of the headmaster spiral out of control.The narrators of the audiobook are very good but Shreve's descriptive, metaphor-laden writing style is melodramatic and tiresome. Also, some of the characters' thoughts don't ring true. For example, Noel is a naive teenage girl in love but Shreve gives her insightful, almost poetic thoughts. Another character explains her infidelity with one breathless phrase: "I wanted." The ending was predictable and none of the characters particularly likable.
moonshineandrosefire on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
At Avery Academy - an expensive private school whose students have the brightest possible futures ahead of them - the students are carefully screened and selected to attend. These privileged and rich teenagers who enjoy the best education money can buy, can also indulge in any secret teenage vices they fancy. When a sex scandal threatens to break wide open - one that includes a video tape of seemingly consensual sex acts between a fourteen-year-old freshman and two seniors - the girl cries rape and in the resulting scandal no one comes out unscathed. Not the students involved, not the parents who send their children to the Academy. not the headmaster himself; not even the community that ignores what goes on behind the gates of the prestigious Avery Academy.I enjoyed this story very much. The writing style was slightly different from anything from Anita Shreve that I'd read before. I give it an A+!
kiwifortyniner on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The story takes place in a New England boarding school. A sex scandal breaks out involving three of the schools most promising basketball players and a girl of fourtenn and to make matters worse the whole incident has been recorded on a tape and the tape given to the headmaster who must now decide what he will do about it. The headmaster, trying to contain the event, calls two of the boys into his office (he is unable to find the third) and demands signed confessions from them both. The girl however claims she was assaulted and makes a report to the police and from then the whole incident spins out of control. Shreve tells of the events leading up to this from the view of many of the people involed in the story - the boys, the girl, the parents, the headmaster and the police. Each participants story is told in their own style. The characters are compelling , ordinary people whose lives are caught up in this tragedy, and changed in an instant. They will never be the same again. I found this a great read, one of her best.
smileydq on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What a tragic yet wonderful book about the ways in which several intertwined lives can be derailed, or worse, destroyed, in one thoughtless moment. The narrative is told from several different points of view and travels back and forth through a limited period of time - this tactic might have been confusing from a lesser author, but Shreve kept each voice so clear and distinct that I had no trouble falling seamlessly into the many stories being told. The idea of teenagers and sex isn't new, nor is it often particularly interesting - here, though, the story was less about sex and more about reason and consequence, about the fine lines between action and reaction. Four students and one night had the power to change the course of history for themselves, their parents and their school at large - a power they never considered nor ever seemed fully to realize throughout the story. Shreve captured the various characters and kept them rich and true to life, and though I had a feeling early on where the story would end, I couldn't put it down until I got there and saw for myself. I highly recommend this book - 5 stars!