anatomy of desire lr dorn
Book Review / L. R. Dorn / Reviews with Spoilers

L.R. Dorn | The Anatomy of Desire

anatomy of desire lr dorn

The Book: 

The Anatomy of Desire by L.R. Dorn
Published May 11th 2021 by William Morrow
Date read: May 20, 2021

The Characters: 

Cleo aka Claire

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Buy it on | Amazon

The Plot (from Goodreads):

Claire Griffith seems to have it all, a thriving career, a gorgeous, successful boyfriend, a glamorous circle of friends. She always knew she was destined for more than the life her deeply conservative parents preached to her. Arriving in Los Angeles as a flat broke teenager, she has risen to become a popular fitness coach and social media influencer. Having rebranded herself as Cleo Ray, she stands on the threshold of achieving her most cherished dreams.

One summer day, Cleo and a young woman named Beck Alden set off in a canoe on a quiet, picture-perfect mountain lake. An hour later, Beck is found dead in the water, her face cut and bruised, and Cleo is missing. Authorities suspect foul play and news about Cleo’s involvement goes viral. Who was Beck and what was the nature of her and Cleo’s relationship? Was Beck an infatuated follower who took things too far? If Cleo is innocent, why did she run? Was it an accident? Or was it murder?

As evidence of Cleo’s secret life surfaces, the world begins to see just how hard she strived to get to the top— and how fast and far the fall is from celebrity to infamy.

L. R. Dorn’s reimagining of Theodore Dreiser’s novel, told in the form of a true-crime docuseries a la Serial and The Jinx—with characters speaking through the “transcripts” of recorded interviews—The Anatomy of Desire exposes the ambition, sexual passion, and dark side of success that readers will find as achingly poignant as they did a century ago.

Click here for book spoilers for The Anatomy of Desire
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read The Anatomy of Desire, I suggest you turn back now.

The Ending:

Cleo was convicted and went to prison, where she recorded the rest of the interviews. She maintained that it was an accident. While in jail, she died suddenly of a pulmonary embolism. Didn’t see that coming, and was shocked that it was based on a true story!

The Review: 

Thank you to for this advanced listener’s copy.

I loved the format of this audiobook. The book was told through the narration one would hear while watching a documentary about the case. After listening to the audio, I’m very curious what the book looks like. It wasn’t outwardly stated who was speaking, but this amazing cast of narrators made it easy to keep track. I definitely need to get my hands on a physical copy to see how it was done visually–different fonts? Just new chapters? I will report back once I see for myself!

I loved the court case aspect and the documentary style of this book, and was shocked that it was based on a true story! Well, to be more accurate, it was a retelling of a previous book about a true story. It’s always interesting when a twist makes you say “WTF??”, but then you realize it actually happened.
Overall, I’m very glad I received an audiobook of The Anatomy of Desire. I think documentary and podcast-based books make the absolute best audiobooks.

anatomy of desire lr dorn

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