You (You #1)
Author: Caroline Kepnes
Genre: Thriller, Fiction, Mystery
Originally Published: September 25th 2014
Format: Paperback (422 pages)
Synopsis: When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card.
There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.
As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder.
My Rating: ★★★★
Where do I begin? I think this is probably one of the most difficult and disturbing books I have read in a very, very long time. The premise of this book frightened me before I even started it, but little did I know how terrifyingly addictive it would turn out to be.
From the moment Joe sets eyes on Beck in the bookstore, he is completely and utterly besotted. He immediately starts stalking her: watching while she is in her apartment, reading each and every email she sends, following her across the country and keeping tokens of his obsession along the way.
This story is terrifying. It is very cleverly written with a second person narrative and it didn’t take long for Joe to be inside my head. I had to keep reminding myself that this was fiction and that Joe wasn’t stalking me. It is an incredible piece of work by the author. It was an addictive read from beginning to end and I couldn’t stop turning the pages. I must admit, I wasn’t expecting to read so many graphic descriptions. There is a lot of very sexual narration in this book and that won’t be welcomed by everyone.
As a character, Joe is both creepy and mesmerising. At times I could not help but feel sorry for him. He was so totally and utterly blinded by his obsession that he truly believes Beck is obsessed with him and that all of her actions are laid out for his eyes. On the other side, I often felt repulsed by Joe’s train of thought and the way in which he collected tokens of Beck’s life from panties, to a bottle of drink, to a used tampon. This book felt so real and it scared me.
What did I love most about the book?
This book is clever in the way it makes you feel differently about your own life. It made me think about how much someone could learn about me from my social media accounts, or my personal interactions on my phone via email or text messages.
“The only thing crueller than a cage so small that a bird can’t fly is a cage so large that a bird thinks it can fly.”
“The problem with books is that they end. They seduce you. They spread their legs to you and pull you inside. And you go deep and leave your possessions and your ties to the world at the door and you like it inside and you don’t want for your possessions or your ties and then, the book evaporates.”
“I don’t say anything. I know the power of silence. I remember my dad saying nothing and I remember his silences more vividly than I remember the things he said.”
“Happiness is believing that you’re gonna be happy. It’s hope.”
This is an excellent read. Unsettling, powerful and terrifyingly real. I know I won’t be able to resist reading more about Joe, despite how he makes me feel.
Have you read You? What did you think?