Summary: Chapters 22-23

Chapter 22 

Lowen spills her coffee in horror when she notices movement on the monitor. Verity is crawling around on the floor of her room. In a state of shock and urgency, she screams for Jeremy, grabs a knife, and confronts Verity, accusing her of faking her condition. Lowen wants Jeremy to see Verity for who she really is before she can harm anyone else. She manages to partially pull Verity out of bed before Jeremy intervenes, dragging her away. 

Jeremy angrily questions Lowen in the hallway, believing that she has just assaulted his comatose wife. Lowen pleads with him not to leave Crew upstairs with Verity. Instead, he carries Lowen to her room and insists that she leave. Lowen is distraught, urging Jeremy to believe her claims about Verity's deception. Jeremy dismisses her, unwilling to believe anything he hasn’t seen for himself. Desperate to prove her point, Lowen thrusts the manuscript of So Be It at him. She implores him to read it for the sake of his daughters, explaining that it contains all the facts from the day he met Verity until her car accident. Jeremy, though not entirely convinced, agrees, and leaves to read it. Lowen is left in a vulnerable state, fearing the loss of Jeremy's trust and grappling with the uncertainty of the situation. 

Lowen waits anxiously as Jeremy reads Verity’s manuscript. Sounds of a crash quickly follow, and Jeremy’s shouts of grief and anger echo through the house. Lowen falls onto her side clutching a pillow and crying as she thinks about how much the information in the autobiography will hurt Jeremy. She is consumed by guilt, but hopeful that he will believe her. Lowen then hears his footsteps moving around upstairs, and runs to join Jeremy. Jeremy is standing in Verity's doorway, staring at her. He speaks to her, but she doesn't answer him. 

Chapter 23 

Verity is still pretending to be unconscious, but Jeremy threatens to call the police if she remains unresponsive. Lowen is terrified that Verity might somehow manage to convince him she’s really comatose. Lowen gasps in shock when Verity finally opens her eyes and starts to speak. Jeremy, stunned, seems on the verge of exploding with rage. He slams the door with a closed fist, making Verity flinch. She remains calm, pleading with him not to hurt her and promising to explain. Jeremy lunges at Verity, accusing her of killing their daughter. He begins choking her, but Lowen immediately tries to stop him. She knows that if he murders her in this obvious way, he will go to jail and she and Crew will lose him. Lowen suggests an alternative: making Verity’s death look like an accident, as Verity tried to do with Harper. She tells Jeremy to make Verity vomit, so they can cover her death up as her choking on her own vomit in her sleep. Jeremy immediately does what she asks, and after a long struggle, Verity eventually dies. 

Lowen is horrified, realizing she has become an accomplice to murder. Jeremy and Lowen quickly compose themselves to deal with the aftermath. They decide Jeremy will report finding her lifeless in the morning, and practice their story together to avoid discovery. 

As they lie awake in the dark, Jeremy and Lowen anxiously await the uncertain consequences of their actions, hoping that this won’t be the one Crawford murder that gets prosecuted. 


Lowen and Jeremy’s relationship hits a crisis point of trust when he finds her assaulting a seemingly unconscious Verity in her bedroom. Lowen is distraught when he tells her that she has to leave. She tries to explain how she knows that Verity can talk and move, and why he has to believe her for his own safety. Jeremy retorts contemptuously that Verity’s not faking it, that she's helpless and is practically brain dead, and that he thinks Lowen’s been seeing things since she got to Vermont. There is an unpleasant moment where it seems as though Verity’s manipulations have actually succeeded, and that Jeremy won't believe Lowen nor read the manuscript. He says that it's impossible that she's moving around, but Lowen insists that she can prove it. Jeremy follows her as he runs into Verity’s office. She grabs the manuscript of So Be It and shoves it against his chest, asking him to read it for the sake of his daughters.

Lowen explains what the manuscript is, and tells him that that all of the facts are there from the day that he met Verity until her car wreck. Having spent so much of the novel feeling terrified of telling Jeremy about So Be It, the desperation of this scene makes it seem like the only possible option for Lowen to protect herself and their relationship. However, once she's given him the manuscript, Lowen is left alone in a state of total vulnerability. It’s the only proof she has that Verity is dangerous, and she has no idea how Jeremy will react. She’s paralyzed with fear at the sudden disappearance of Jeremy’s trust and the looming uncertainty of the situation. 

The novel also reaches its climax of violence in this section, as Jeremy and Lowen choose to kill Verity in the most poetically judicial way possible. When Verity wakes up, Jeremy can't believe that she has pulled off another manipulation of his magnitude. He's furious, becoming so frustrated that he punches the door. This is the second time in the novel when Jeremy has damaged a household object in his rage. As with many referred behaviors of this kind, it immediately precipitates physical violence against his wife. He runs to Verity and starts to choke her, blindly furious at her for killing Harper. Verity’s manipulations won’t work this time, as Jeremy is not interested in having sex with her, and she can’t speak to him to persuade him to agree with her point of view. For all Verity’s psychological trickery, her death is gruesomely visceral and physical.  

Lowen becomes an active participant in Verity’s death, using the knowledge she gained in So Be It to finally finish Verity off. Lowen knows that if Jeremy strangles Verity to death, it will be very obvious that he's done so because her windpipe will be crushed. If that happens, Crew will lose a father and she will lose a chance to have a family with Jeremy. In desperation, Lowen thinks about the way in which Verity had planned to murder Harper. She knows that it's very difficult to prove that vomit aspiration isn't a spontaneous event in comatose patients, and so she suggests that Jeremy stuff his fingers down Verity's throat and make her vomit. Although it's a brutal and violent way to kill her, Jeremy agrees without any protestation. Lowen has to shut her eyes as Verity thrashes around, choking on bile. It’s ironic that although Lowen voraciously read all of Verity’s violent and sexual confessions, she has to avert her eyes from this scene.