Review & Giveaway: The Raising

The Raising

The Raising
By Laura Kasischke
(Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780062004789, March 2011, 496pp.)

The Short of It:

I found myself eagerly picking it up although I felt absolutely no affection for any of the characters.

The Rest of It:

I can’t say too much about the plot or I’ll give something away but this was an odd, little book. It was odd in the way it made me feel. The Raising is about the death of a sorority girl and how she continues to live on in the hearts of those who knew her. Except there are details of her death that are beginning to come out and all is not what it’s cracked up to be.

Essentially, the story is simple but it’s about so much more than what you see on the surface. It’s about obsession and the power of memory. How much are we willing to admit when perfection is at stake? It’s also very much a book about death and dying, but not in the traditional sense. The sense of mourning you feel while reading this novel is not what a grieving parent would feel. It’s different. Part of that is due to the story itself, but some of it has to do with the tone of the novel. If I had to describe it artfully I’d say that it was like a B&W snapshot with torn edges. Stark. Blemished.

I think if I were to focus on plot alone, I’d be rolling my eyes. It was a bit “out there” in places and not terribly realistic in others but I tend to focus on characters and although these characters would never be  my friends, I found them wildly amusing. No, I can’t say that I ever felt sorry for any of them or that I could even relate to their particular circumstance, but I could easily relate to the sorority life that Kasischke created. This coming from a “sister” who was blackballed from hers. Seriously, Kasischke nailed that aspect of it.

I also liked the fact that these characters were not who they appeared to be. The human condition is often not what we expect it to be once you carve away gender, race and class. I was often frustrated with these characters but fascinated with them, too. I think this is why the story worked for me. I’ve been reading some other reviews and many have not liked the book. I suspect that those folks had issues with the plot. I can certainly see where they are coming from, but because I enjoy reading about characters who are less than desirable I was willing to let go of reality for a short while.

If any of you’ve read Kasischke’s In a Perfect World, and recall it taking quite awhile to get a feel for the main characters, you will experience the same thing here. The character development is not handled as delicately as In a Perfect World, but The Raising is its grittier sister. The stories were completely different in each but there are some similarities as far as the writing goes.

Overall, I actually liked this one a lot more than I thought I would.

If you’d like a chance to win a copy, check out the details below.

Source: Review and giveaway copy provided by the publisher.

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.


This giveaway is for one copy of The Raising and is open to the US and Canada. A winner will be chosen randomly by me. The book will come directly from me. Only one entry per person.  Giveaway closes on April 29, 2011 (pacific). I will contact the winner for his/her mailing address.

To enter the giveaway, please click here. (This giveaway is now closed!)

16 thoughts on “Review & Giveaway: The Raising”

  1. Ti, did I read that right? Were you saying you were blackballed from your sorority? If so, that is fracking crazy! You seem like such a cool chick, who would want to do that you? Well, it was their loss – for sure! Sorry, you had to go through that – I can only imagine (gleaned from what my old roommate went through with her sorority).

    As far as this book goes, it sounds really interesting and so I threw my name into the hat by entering your giveaway.

    1. You read that right!! I didn’t agree with the hazing ceremony or the nude party requirements and after being blindfolded and walked straight into a pole, which gave me a HUGE bump/concussion, I quit. They say I was blackballed. Whatever. I received death threats for months afterward. Can you believe it? Seems so silly now.

      1. Ti, that is loco! I don’t blame you for quitting! I don’t agree with all that hazing either or even the way that the women are picked – talk about degrading (or at least it was that way in my roommate’s sorority). Anyhow, I think it is awful that you got death threats – definitely a huge sign that those crazies were not meant to be your sisters 🙂 And the sad thing is that I can totally believe that happened. It must definitely seem silly now – college times are definitely full of moments like that (silly ones I mean).

  2. Just look at you now!! Successful and smart without that sorority drama. I always thought that
    girls were more into togetherness not meanness.
    Good for you Ti, for being so independent.
    The book sounds good, drop my name into the book fishbowl.

  3. I was not a big fan. The whole plot thing just got to me. I wish she had committed to one thing or another. I don’t have any sorority experience so I had no idea how accurate that stuff was. Of all the characters, I think I liked Mira the most. I could have just read a book about her and her troubles and forgotten all the rest. Glad you enjoyed it more than I did.

  4. Ti – I really got into this book too. I think your review nailed it! I agree, the plot is probably what is putting people off – but, like you, the way the story was developed and the characters and the whole “weirdness” captured my imagination!

  5. I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews on this one. Some people really like it and others don’t. I’d still like to read it one of these days though and I do have a copy so don’t enter me. Loved your thoughts on it.

  6. You had a better response to this book than I did! It just died for me somewhere in the middle, I connected with one character, if that, and having no experience with sororities, the plot was way out there for me!

    I cannot believe you were blackballed by your sorority. That’s harsh & awful! I’m glad I went to a small college.

  7. You should read her first book, Suspicious River (not published by us, can’t remember who did it off the top of my head.) It’s VERY different in terms of plot, but the more I think about it and read reviews of The Raising the more I see the similarities.

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