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Between Here and April Hardcover – October 7, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 277 pages
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books (October 7, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565125622
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565125629
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,258,217 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. How could a mother kill her children? This breathtaking first novel from photojournalist Kogan (Shutterbabe) attempts a heart-wrenching answer. Elizabeth Lizzie Burns Steiger, a 41-year-old TV producer/journalist, has a hallucination while watching a performance of Medea at a Manhattan theater; she sees her best friend in first grade, April Cassidy, who was killed by April's depressed mother, Adele, in 1972 in Potomac, Md., along with April's sister. In addition to exploring her memories in therapy, Lizzie interviews the Cassidys' former neighbor and others who knew the family for a proposed cable network documentary, but a priceless Pandora's box—tapes of Adele with her psychiatrist—provides the most startling revelations. Kogan skillfully interweaves Lizzie's struggles with her troubled marriage, parenting and a personal trauma shared in the Balkans with a former lover in this unflinching portrait of filicide, which still manages to find light in the darkness of a very disturbing subject. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

What prompted Adele Cassidy to commit suicide and kill her two young daughters, April  and Lily? That’s the 30-year-old mystery haunting photojournalist Elizabeth Burns in this engaging first novel. Burns, who had been childhood pals with April, grapples with the tragedy’s grisly details as she reflects upon the realities of her own unhappy adult existence: an unsatisfying job shooting puff pieces, a husband who lately seems only interested in sex if it involves S and M.  Burns interviews the Cassidys’ remaining neighbors and friends, hoping the resulting story will help her break back into the hard-news biz. (She is also pondering an assignment in Iraq, which, as bad luck would have it, would pair her up with an old flame.) Although the novel’s characters hold our interest, Kogan’s fiction lacks the fire of her racy memoir, Shutterbabe (2000), which documented her experiences as a wartime photographer. She seems more at home writing about real-life international matters than life on the domestic front. --Allison Block

More About the Author

1966-1966: Born in Boston, MA; moved to Adelphi, MD six months later. Allegedly.

1966-1970: The preschool years; fuzzy memories of hippies, astronauts.

1970-1978: Moved from Adelphi to Potomac, MD. Attended flower-shaped elementary school that had no walls; first writing award; weird obsession with Jonestown massacre.

1978-1981: Hormones.

1981-1984: Gigantic public high school; reams of angsty poetry; first pieces published in Seventeen.

1984-1988: The college years, which coincided with the crack/AIDS years: mugged at gunpoint unrelentingly, mated cautiously; made films, shot photos, wrote articles for the school paper, performed in school plays and one film, Key Exchange; rejected by every creative writing course in the Harvard catalogue.

1988-1992: The croissant/photojournalism years; stored clothes, personal items in Paris, France, while parachuting in from conflict to conflict (Afghanistan, Israel, Romania, Zimbabwe, the USSR, etc.) Won awards, had exhibitions; images published in Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, L'Express, Libération, Géo, Stern, etc.

1992-1998: Moved from Moscow to New York; produced TV for ABC then NBC News; got married, had a couple of babies, won an Emmy, inexpertly juggled work and kids; loudly whined for subsidized daycare, secretly pined to be a writer.

1998-now: Wrote bestselling Shutterbabe, followed by unpublishable drivel, followed by Between Here and April, Hell is Other Parents, and the New York Times bestselling The Red Book; published essays in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Elle, More, Slate, Paris Match, O, and others; shot photo assignments; produced and shot a documentary in Pakistan for CNN in the wake of 9/11; became a columnist for The Financial Times; performed live on stage with The Moth, Afterbirth, Six Word Memoir, and Eve Ensler's tribute to Anita Hill; adapted Hell is Other Parents for the stage; wrote several screenplays and a TV pilot that were never produced; watched Shutterbabe (the big and small-screen versions) languish in development hell; had another baby; lost appendix, father, Upper West Side home, bearings, socks, sanity, and several nouns; found Harlem, yoga, and occasional serenity. But not the socks. Or the whatchamacallit. Nouns.

Customer Reviews

I put the book down several times, and I really had to persevere to finish it.
L. J. Just
I thought the book had too many plot lines that bogged the story down and found myself skimming through many parts that I just didn't care about.
Lindsey
I would recommend this book to all Jodi Picoult fans and would love to read more of Deborah Kogan's books.
Rita Hoop

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 32 people found the following review helpful By KDMask VINE VOICE on August 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I very rarely read a book in one sitting but this book grabbed me and didn't let go. Elizabeth Burns starts to remember her friend's mysterious disappearance when they were children and it unleashes a torrent of memories within her herself and her hometown. The subject matter is true, but as the author says, the "why" is what is still left to fiction. A unflinching look at motherhood and those emotions that go with it are stripped bare and shown with terrifying reality. This book not only explores aspects of motherhood, it also provides a look back at "modern" medicine's myths regarding woman's health issues. It's horrifying to realize that April's mother was actually under a doctor's care when this act happened, and that so little was done to help her at the time. With references to Susan Smith and Andrea Yates, "Between Here and April" sweeps you into to the dark world of depression. I found Elizabeth's own story at times to be intrusive to the tale of April, but didn't put me off finishing. I found myself examining not only my feelings about motherhood but that of my mother and my grandmother. Simply captivating.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Monica J. Kern VINE VOICE on September 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This novel describes what happens as the protagonist, Elizabeth Burns, becomes fascinated with understanding the story behind the death years ago of her best friend from first grade, April. As the story progresses, we discover, bit by bit, the story of April's mother, Adelaide, that ultimately makes clear the desperation and hopelessness that can lead some women to commit the ultimate betrayal.

Kogan's first novel is well written and captivating. I stayed up far later than I should one night to finish it. However, there were certain aspects of the plot that prevented it from being a truly great novel. Elizabeth remembers WAY too many details of the conversation and setting of encounters she had back in first grade to be plausible. Interviews with people from Adelaide's past conveniently divulge realms of right-on- target information. A trip to Adelaide's psychiatrist produces written transcripts from a handful of therapy sessions that just happen to include, implausibly early in the therapeutic process, a group session including April, that just happens to yield all sorts of valuable insights. Finally, before Elizabeth even has the chance to visit Adelaide's widowed husband, he writes HER a letter asking her to drop her project--out of respect for his privacy--but which then goes on for several pages blabbing all sorts of intimate details about their marriage.

I am guessing that women will like this book much more than men, because there isn't a likable man in the entire novel. Elizabeth's husband is so awful (working until 11:00 pm literally just about every night, and neglecting Elizabeth completely unless it is to request kinky S&M sex) that he is almost a caricature.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John Standiford VINE VOICE on November 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It wasn't all that long ago when the field of psychiatry didn't recognize post partum depression and often prescribed Valium for depression. Today we know that post partum depression is real. We've seen a few famous cases where mothers have killed themselves and/or their children. We also know that there are better drugs than Valium to treat depression.

This book recounts the story of a mother who ends up wanting to know what happened to a friend of hers in elementary school. What follows is a gripping story that brings in the topics that I've mentioned. Moreover in trying to find the truth of what happened to her friend many years ago, the main heroine of the story finds out much about herself, her feelings as a mother and her marriage.

This is one of those books that isn't all the comfortable to read. There are times where you kind of know what's going to happen; you know you aren't going to like it, but you read on much like watching a train wreck. The main reason you read on is because the book is well-written. The pace of the writing makes it hard to put down and you like the characters she has created.

Most importantly, there is a positive feeling about reading this book at the end. It is worth reading and chances are you will found yourself gripped story while learning a few things.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By R. McQueen on September 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover
"Between Here and April" is a very mediocre book. I will not read it again or recommend it to a friend. I did, however, not want to stop in the middle. The biggest problem is the total lack of character development. Only the main character is developed at all, but even she was fairly uninteresting. Another problem is that all the females in the story had severe emotional disturbances and all the males, except the one homosexual, were totally self absorbed jerks. On the upside, Kogan does a good job of showing the pressures that people face trying to keep a balance good balance between family and career. Also, incase someone is thinking of buying this book for a younger read, it should be noted that this book contains
--SPOILER, maybe--

bondage, a graphic rape scene, and a masturbation scene.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. Desoer VINE VOICE on November 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Despite increased awareness of the reality of post-partum depression, and depression in general, this book addresses maternal and marital stresses both now, and a generation ago. Elizabeth is the prototypical woman who had a high-pressure, exciting career as an international war reporter and who, all of a sudden finds herself mostly house-bound, working part-time on "fluff" pieces, with a physically and emotionally-absent husband and two young children, and the stress of handling their day-to-day needs. She seems to find herself in this situation as if she were pulled along in her life, with little control of its outcome, which doesn't "jive" with her early career. How did she end up where she is?

After she begins a series of black-outs Elizabeth flashes on a first grade "best friend" who "vanished" two months into the school year. (This set-up is a little strained and, frankly, unnecessary.) In any case, it becomes clear that Elizabeth is very aware that her friend and her sister were killed by their mother in a murder-suicide. She decides to research the event, which was largely ignored in the press at the time, and interviews people who might have some knowledge about the situation to attempt to determine the "why" of the situation, to the extent that one can ever know why someone makes such a choice.

Unfortunately, this book suffers from uneven writing and attempts to tackle too many side-stories such as the protagonist's past lover who suddenly reappears, changes in psychiatry and its understanding of "female" hormonal issues, the pressures of lifestyle changes, and society's expectations of wives and mothers. I felt like there were a lot of unresolved and udeveloped themes - not that I expected "resolution" about the underlying filicide.
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