Before You Knew My Name

Bublitz, Jacqueline

  29 Reviews

With the Big Apple beckoning, eighteen-year-old Alice Lee sees no future in small-town Wisconsin, especially with the recent loss of her mother. With very little to her name, Alice sets forth, only to meet her demise.

When Ruby Jones, recently arrived from Melbourne and ready to embrace a new start stateside, finds Alice's body by the Hudson River, she feels compelled to find out who the victim is and what happened to her.

Not only does this story tick all the boxes for a gripping crime novel, but Alice's clever posthumous narration and an emphasis on the humanity of the victim offers a thoughtful feminist exploration of how the world views young women.



AUCK 058
All members enjoyed this book and felt it covered the issue of a voice for the 'killed' in a sensitive manner. Alice was more than a body in a park (young, female, pretty). A different story (older people) but some similarity to 'The Lovely Bones'.
AUCK 277
This was popular with our group. We were impressed that it was a debut novel by a N.Z. author. We felt it was easy to read and took a different approach to crime fiction.
AUCK 027
One of the best books for us this year. Very well-written with interesting angles.
CHCH 468
Disturbing but beautifully written book. The group all agreed it was a little hard to get into but soon became such a good read. We 'loved' that Alice was 'hovering' until justice was done. Very clever author. Totally recommend, but wasn't a 'read before bed book'!!
CHCH 550
A couple of people thought it was okay, some did not finish.
NEWP 001
Some loved the book. Some did not.
WELL 168
This book was thoroughly enjoyed by all book group members, with it having a wide range of appeal on many counts - one to be recommended!
CHCH 529
We really enjoyed this thought provoking book.
TAUR 004
Some didn't finish the book, but those who did enjoyed the second half as the suspense increased.
TAUR 061
Generally the group found this engaging and reminiscent of The Lovely Bones. The title conveyed the overriding purpose of the book. We reflected on the Grace Malone tragedy and how via various voices we jigsawed an image of who she was. Once again, the vulnerability of being a young woman was at the centre of this work. Men held the power.
Such a deep moving story that will tug you one way then another. We found the early part of the book tedious and several almost gave up but once the narrator changed it became full on and we couldn't get enough. Excellent and better than you imagine.
The group all enjoyed the book and found it clever and unusual with engaging characters. They enjoyed the novel idea of talking through a dead person, and the macabre humour. They thought though, at times, the plot was a little clumsy and engineered. Parallels were drawn with another book, 'The Lovely Bones', by Alice Sebold.
Opinions varied on the book itself, but the issues it raised prompted very wide ranging discussion and most thought the writing style was great.
AUCK 406
It's unanimous - we loved this book! Well-written, relevant and makes you think. A real page-turner.
Those that read it were very enthusiastic about this book - great writing and very cleverly put together. Other members unfortunately read the notes first and were put off by the subject matter! Three members had already read the book and were keen to re-read it so that made others realise that there was more to the book than they thought!
ASHB 009
This was an interesting read!! Not everyone enjoyed it but agreed that Jacqueline Bublitz is a brilliant writer. Her descriptive use of words is so good! She certainly has you wanting to know how it all ends!!
AUCK 285
Unfortunately not many readers of this book - the subject too hard to read for parents of girls. We knew the outcome so couldn't be invested in a story where there is no hope. One of our eleven however, thought it was a brilliant book - giving a voice to the victim of a crime...
All except one ( because of a bereavement) enjoyed the book and thought it was well-written, in a very unique style. Portrayed the minds of other people with well constructed insights and lyrical prose.
NAP 005
The group generally really enjoyed this book though some found it difficult to get into. There was much discussion on a wide range of concepts arising from the book e.g. fascination with violence against women and in particular young white girls (white girl syndrome), how such interest can quickly move from one victim to the next, how a victim's private life becomes "broadcast to the world" (with reference to NZ cases) etc.
Everyone enjoyed the book and scored it 4.
CHCH 145
We all thought the book was well-written. A thrilling whodunnit but so much more. Giving women a voice when normally other people speak for the dead, and dig around in their remains for a story that fits everyone's thinking of what the dead girl must have been.
Most enjoyed the book. Some felt it was bit long and contrived. Maybe written by someone who just took a creative writing course.
AUCK 353
Unexpectedly enjoyable, given the subject/theme. Very well-written, doesn't seem like a debut novel. Both main characters we wanted to stay with; beautiful moments in the book e.g. the connection between Noah and Ruby at the end.
CHCH 336
The group generally really enjoyed this book, although all found it difficult to get into. Very cleverly written. Characters interesting and believable. New York setting good, places relatable. Some of the discussion questions were frustrating and long. The group had a very lively evening discussing the many aspects of the book.
CHCH 537
We enjoyed the book, a very easy read. The characters were believable and it was beautifully written. Difficult to read for a couple of women with teenage daughters. We had no empathy for Mr Jackson - we felt No.5 question was superfluous. The book notes were good and certainly got us talking about the fascination with women who go missing.
CHCH 537
A very easy read, enjoyed the reading, beautifully written. Reminded us of 'The Lovely Bones', great to hear the victim's voice. The age old imbalance of power between men and vulnerable young women. All the men bar Noah, had the image of narcissism. Characters are believable.
TAUR 016
All but one of our members really enjoyed this book. Although an easy read, we felt it had depth and gave insights into human nature and, in particular, relationships between male and female and the imbalance of power. Other themes of hope, bravery and sisterhood made for an interesting and thoughtful read. We all liked the viewpoint adopted - that of a 'dead' girl, while recognising it has been used before. The intrigue of who the perpetrator was, kept us involved, and wondering. Hints dropped in were never too obvious. Cleverly written by a Kiwi writer which adds to its appeal.
We all enjoyed this book and felt we would have loved to have explored some of the other characters like Noah, Lennie and Sue. An impressive debut novel, and great to read a Kiwi novelist. The subject matter was interesting and kept us engaged.
7/10 really enjoyed this book - found the format different but good. Lots of discussion re keeping safe, being cautious, living your life well, and of the anxiety, loneliness and sometimes fear young women live with. Thought that the writing was excellent - insightful and real. Highly recommend.