Book Review of “If You Tell” by Gregg Olsen

Book review of “If You Tell” by Gregg Olsen

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This review is a part of a series of book reviews where, instead of providing a star rating review for each book, I provide the top three things I like about each book, and the top three things I dislike about each book. This means that even if I absolutely adore a book, I’m still going to find three dislikes to list and even when I despise a book, I’ll still find the three things that I enjoyed. Then you get to decide if the book sounds right for you.

Because of the nature of this review, there will occasionally be some spoilers, though I do my best to minimize them as to not completely ruin the story for those who haven’t read it. Although, if you’re like me, I personally adore spoilers and they usually just convince me to read the book more. But, in the name of due diligence, read at your own risk. 

**Some spoilers included.**

I decided to read this true crime since Shelly, the woman is the book, is set to be released in 2022. Which is completely mind blowing, and not in the good way.

Top Three Likes:

1. Chilling. This book really showed how powerful manipulation can be. People constantly don’t give emotional abuse enough credit, but it can be just, if not more so, as damaging as physical abuse. In this case it lead to multiple deaths.
2. Glad that it showed some insight into the daughters’ current lives. It sounds like they were able to grow up to have fairly normal lives despite everything, which was very comforting. I’m glad they were able to become the women they became.
3. Abusers all seems to think and act similarly. I’ve seen many similarities between the way SheIly acted and the way other abusers have acted in other true crimes and even in my own life. Because of this, I think this book can be very educational in teaching people what to look for and potentially help identify these abusive situations more often and sooner.

Top Three Dislikes:

1. The writing was so choppy sometimes and it took me out of the story.
2. I hate the reminder that many people believe what they’re told even when their eyes tell them differently. It’s a good reminder to have, but it’s a hard one for me to stomach.
3. I hate that people like Shelly are given a second chance. When you’ve murdered and tortured multiple people to death, you don’t deserve a second chance. They didn’t get one. It wasn’t an accident. She didn’t stop the first time it happened. She kept going until she got caught. It could happen again. I don’t agree that she should be released from jail and am glad this book is making more people aware of her.

Overall Thoughts:

Overall, I think this is something everyone should read so that we can learn how to better spot the signs that something may be wrong in the lives of people around us. It was a chilling reminder that often times the real life villains are far more evil and terrifying than our fictional villains. We as a society need to do a better job at limiting people’s abilities to be this evil. Learn the signs, and speak up when you think something may be off.

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts?

Looking for more? Check out these other book reviews:

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