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Things We Didn't Say: A Novel Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Length: 355 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews


“In this moving and captivating novel, Kristina Riggle explores with depth and honesty the question of how we define a family, and the myriad ways we all seek to shed our difficult pasts. THINGS WE DIDN’T SAY is impossible to put down, and even harder to let go of.” (Julie Buxbaum, author of THE OPPOSITE OF LOVE, AFTER YOU)

“an involving portrayal of the obstacles confronting today’s families.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Women’s literature has another promising writer in Kristina Riggle. Her latest work “Things We Didn’t Say”, is an imaginative drama about the consequences of hidden secrets and how they alter human relationship in a family that is struggling to blend and bond together.” (Iron Mountain Daily News)

“It’s really unfortunate that Oprah’s Book Club is no longer around. This is the kind of book she would eat right up.” (Pittsburgh Tribune)

“Riggle has a knack for dialogue and prose…the plot is quite compelling and the characters are nuanced and very human.” (Desert Morning News)

From the Back Cover

What goes unsaid can sometimes speak the loudest . . .

What makes up a family? For Casey it's sharing a house with her fiancé, Michael, and his three children, whom she intends to nurture more than she ever took care of herself. But Casey's plans have come undone. Michael's silences have grown unfathomable and deep. His daughter Angel seethes as only a teenage girl can, while the wide-eyed youngest, Jewel, quietly takes it all in.

Then Michael's son, Dylan, runs off, and the kids' mother, a woman never afraid to say what she thinks, noisily barges into the home. That's when Casey decides that the silences can no longer continue. She must begin speaking the words no one else can say. She'll have to dig up secrets—including her own—uncovering the hurts, and begin the healing that is long overdue. And it all starts with just a few tentative words. . . .

Product Details

  • File Size: 849 KB
  • Print Length: 355 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (June 28, 2011)
  • Publication Date: June 28, 2011
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #329,136 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Kristina Riggle lives and writes in West Michigan. Her debut novel, Real Life & Liars, was praised by Publishers Weekly for its "humorous and humane storytelling" and by Booklist as "a moving and accomplished first novel." The book was a Target "Breakout" pick and a "Great Lakes, Great Reads" selection by the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association. The Life You've Imagined was honored as an "IndieNext Notable" book by independent booksellers.

Her latest novel, Keepsake, is about a hoarder and her estranged sister reluctantly united to clean out the hoarded home to keep Child Protective Services at bay, and much more than junk is uncovered.

Kristina has published short stories in the Cimarron Review, Literary Mama, Espresso Fiction, and elsewhere. She is also a freelance journalist writing primarily for The Grand Rapids Press, and co-editor for fiction at Literary Mama. Kristina was a full-time newspaper reporter for seven years before turning her attention to creative writing and freelancing. As well as writing, she enjoys reading, yoga, dabbling in (very) amateur musical theatre, and spending lots of time with her husband, two kids and dog.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
First Thought after finishing this book: Life is such a messy thing isn't it?

What I liked about this story:

The different POV's that Riggle presented. Each character was able to really come to life because the reader was able to read their thoughts first hand. I think this made the story work for me because I enjoyed getting to know each one a bit better and to learn what made them tick.
The younger characters Dylan, Angel, and Jewel. They actually had a lot more common sense than the adults and really put into perspective the effects of divorce and blended families have on the children.
The father being portrayed as the caregiver for the children and doing ANYTHING to keep them safe from their off-balanced mother. It was quite refreshing to see a dad portrayed in a more positive light!
Michigan author and Michigan locations- love that!!!!!!

What I didn't like about this story:

The overwhelming weakness of each of the adult characters. Not one of them had a bit of common sense about them and that drove me crazy!!! I thought Casey was a wimp frankly and really needed to take charge of her life. Michael was a pushover when it came to his ex-wife. Even though I think he was a great dad trying hard to keep it altogether, he caved way too often to his ex-wife and her whining!! Mallory, the ex-wife, just drove me crazy with her neediness and her continual blame game.

Personal Thoughts:
While reading this book I was instantly reminded of what my brother went through when his first marriage ended. He was the one who stayed in the home and kept his girls. He was the one that made sure that they ate, did their homework, chores, and tucked them into bed.
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Format: Paperback
While the characters in this novel are well-defined, all the adult characters are immature. Who gets engaged to a man without telling him major pieces of their history an identity? I felt that although there were multiple points of view, Casey was the main character, and she was incredibly flawed. Yes, that is supposed to make a story more interesting but I had very little sympathy for her. She created her own situation. Michael is similarly at fault -- he did very little to find out about his fiance, he was too soft on his ex, and he did not handle his kids' transition from their mother to his new, young girlfriend well.

I suppose this is a "slice of life" type of story. I did read the whole thing and I was interested in how it was all going to turn out. But I couldn't find much to like about any of the characters except the two younger kids.

I do enjoy Riggle's writing and will most likely pick up her books again, but I'm glad this one came from the library an did not cost me any money.
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Format: Paperback
I really liked how the author used the different voices of the characters in each chapter.
I felt like I got inside the thoughts of each of them.
This story shows what alcohol, divorce, mental illness can do to a family....but importantly, lack of communication.

I look forward to checking out Kristina Riggle's other novels.
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Format: Paperback
Honestly, this story exhausted me. It's like being caught in the middle of an extended family fight that goes on and on and on. There seems to be no real plot here other than fighting. All of the characters are fairly immature and despicable. As another reviewer notes, none are likeable at all. I can only wonder why one would write such a depressing story. Hate to give any book only 1 star; I'd give this 1-1/2 stars at best. Unless you like to read about unhappy people, I'd steer clear of this one.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The characters in this novel are so real, I hated to come to the end. I want to be invited to the wedding. I want to see Angel and Dylan graduate. One might think that this book is about a dysfunctional family, since the mother is an alcoholic, the men are both control freaks, the children coming from a "broken home". But instead, it about a family who cares about one another, and who eventually recognize that Casey, Dad's girlfriend, even with her flaws, is actually the best person to have entered their life. Most of the characters learn and grow from their mistakes. So it's a story about real people who are developing relationships with one another and who end up being much more functional than not.
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Format: Paperback
Some people lead lives full of problems. In Things We Didn't Say by Kristina Riggle, 26-year-old Casey has a mess of them. She's engaged to Michael, a man 10-years her senior, who has three children with an ex-wife who is a non-recovering alcoholic with multiple mental disorders. Casey's secrets come back to haunt her when Michael's middle child, Dylan, disappears after being dropped off at school one day and his oldest child, Angel, finds Casey's journal and reads it.

It's infrequent that there are no sympathetic characters in a novel, but I feel like Ms. Riggle may have wanted it this way. The novel is often gritty and you can truly relate to Casey's need to get away from the overbearing Michael who has not an ounce of empathy in his self-absorbed body. While Casey is the youngest adult in the novel, she's often the most accepting and tolerant and I found myself wanting to leave this novel to get away from her situation. While they search for Dylan, Casey is forced to deal with Michael's ex-wife, who is vilified in her need for her children and her oppositional use of them to get Michael back into her life. Casey, herself, seems at odds with her care for the children and her wanting of them to get away from her so she could have Michael to herself and this novel takes the wicked mother/exhausted-wicked stepmother idea to the edge of what it can possibly be without leaving reality.

Overall, this is not your beach read and it can be mentally exhausting at times. However, for those that are looking for a realistic portrayal of a difficult situation made more difficult by a crisis, this is going to hit all of the emotional buttons. My only catch was that the ending felt inauthentic to me, but the character wasn't mine to choose her path.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free in order to review it! Thanks for letting me share my thoughts.
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