Horrific Story; Mediocre Read

Prepare yourself for a heart-wrenching journey. If You Tell is a chilling true story by Gregg Olsen. Olsen dives into the horrors endured by one family at the hands of their flesh and blood.

If You Tell is the true story of Shelly Knotek. Olsen details the unimaginable abuse, degradation, and torture that Shelly inflicts on her children. Her children bond together to escape this nightmare.

First, let me commend the victims for their resilience and strength. They survived the torment inflicted by Shelly. Their story is nothing short of incredible, and my heart goes out to them. Olsen does a commendable job of highlighting the horrific struggles they faced.

However, I must admit to feeling a bit misled by the book's premise. I expected a significant focus on the family relationships between Shelly's children. But, that aspect was only a portion of the overall story. This left me yearning for more depth. I wish Olsen explored the dynamics between the siblings. The characters read as one-dimensional.

For example, If You Tell could have explored the psychology behind Shelly's actions. Understanding the motives and triggers would have added complexity to the story. It's a missed opportunity to get inside the mind of a disturbed individual.

If You Tell is a dense dark book. It catalogs abuse. This is not a critique of Olsen's writing. But, it is worth mentioning that the content can be brutal to digest. Prepare for the intense and graphic descriptions of the abuse endured by the victims.

Another downfall of this book is the pacing. The middle section drags on, making it a struggle to push through. It feels as though the story loses momentum, leaving the reader feeling disengaged. I wanted more detail at the end, which felt rushed. A tighter narrative structure would have improved the reading experience.

One aspect that left me confused was the timeline of events. Olsen jumps back and forth between past and present with little warning. It was difficult to grasp the chronology of the story. The narrative flow felt disjointed, leaving me scratching my head at times.

Overall, If You Tell is a rollercoaster of emotions. It captures the unimaginable horrors endured by a family. The story itself is truly incredible. However, the disjointed timeline, slow pacing, and lack of depth left me dissatisfied. This is not the best true crime out there, it's just okay.


Mystery & Thrillers
True Crime