Thursday, October 23, 2014

Can't Keep It To Myself: You

I want to recommend this book to everyone I talk to, because I enjoyed it that much. And yet, I realize that this is not a book for everyone. It is twisted. It is clever. It made me laugh out loud and then a couple of pages later, I was recoiling in horror. The novel is You, by Caroline Kepnes, and I found it as troubling as I found it fascinating.

Love means different things to different people. To narrator Joe Goldberg, it means finding the perfect girl and then finding out everything he can about her. Guinevere Beck, who goes by Beck of course, is that perfect girl, and she just happens to walk into the bookstore where Joe works. She buys the right books, says the right things, and just that quickly, Joe is hooked. Because Beck is beautiful and smart and funny and well-read. And perfect. And of course, with a little work on Joe's part, Beck realizes just how right Joe is for her, too.

What follows is a love story for the ages, one of madness, obsession, passion, desire, and fascination. This is as much a creepy cat-and-mouse thriller as it is literary love story, as told by the most demented, unreliable narrator possible. The more obsessed Joe becomes with his perfect Beck, the more the reader becomes aware that Beck, herself, is so much more deeply flawed than she would have others believe.

This was impossible to put down, one of those delectable books that makes you keep turning pages even as you dread the inevitable end. Kepnes is so good at what she does, so insidiously clever, that by the time I realized that I was rooting for the villain, it was far too late. Fans of classic Stephen King and of Gillian Flynn's work, this one is for you, and you're doing yourself a disservice if you skip it.

Then when you've read it, come to the library and find me. Because you're going to need someone to talk to about it. Believe me, I understand.

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