You | By Caroline Kepnes
Normally I don't mention trigger warnings but YOU need that. TWs : Stalking, Murder, Violence, Drug use
About the Author
Caroline Kepenes has worked as a pop culture journalist for Entertainment Weekly . She was also a TV writer for various shows including the Netflix adaption of You.
Joe Goldberg runs a bookstore in New York. When struggling writer Guinevere Beck walks into his store, he feels a connection towards her. They are “different, hot“. From there on, Joe literally monitors everything Beck does in real life and on social media. He is ready to go to any lengths to protect Beck from what he thinks is potential danger to Beck or more accurately his chances with Beck.
It has been a long time since I’ve read something that is so unsettling and creepy in the most twisted way. I am the person who goes for optimistic light reads. This year I decide to shake things up and boy did I not?
Last time I felt like this was after finishing a Sydney Sheldon book eight years back.
Narrative and plot
The narrative is what makes this book so unsettling. So, one of the booktubers I religiously follow suggested to listen to the audiobook and I do. One chapter down and I realise, I can’t do that. I don’t have the guts to listen to this when every other sentence has the word “You” and the narrator enunciates “You”. So I find the book and listen to it while reading. Now I can remind myself I am reading a book and this is not some creep saying stuff to me.
The plot I should say is pretty much your standard stalker story from the days of what was that movie – Sliver isn’t it? The upgraded version of it and you know this story will go down only one way. And the fact that, over the years, this is not a fantasy but closer to reality is what disturbs you and breaks the bubble of security that you believe you have in this Internet era.
Characters and Conflicts
Most of the times we believe that the right way to follow a story is rooting for the protagonist and his objective. But here, do YOU get that satisfaction, No! Instead you follow this narrator who is a stalker and sick person. You wish he gets caught every time or at the least you are curious to know, is he really going to pull this off? I mean, you can see why this has been made into a Netflix series because it has several cliffhangers.
It would have been difficult if the author had decided to patronize a certain set of characters and portray them as this embodiment of virtue. Instead none of the characters in this book is worth your sympathy. None of their actions are justified in any way and it is written so brilliantly that you’re still hooked to the story.
There is this idea that everyone in this world need a cause to justify their actions however evil they are. You cannot function as a sane human being if you know how wrong you’re. If that wasn’t the case, then half of the conflicts in the world would be resolved. Everyone is righteous in their own minds and the day they realise they’re not, that is when sanity slips away.
Why this isn’t a five star? To begin with there are a lot of loopholes and loose ends. At times, even Joe is over-confident and he gets away with that. He should have worked harder to get away with the things he did. I am going to read Hidden Bodies to find out more.
A fellow blogger talked about how some people are romanticising this notion of Joe. Clearly, that wasn’t the intention of the book. It uses the twisted voice of Joe to call out the flaky social media presence that people have. It reminded me of that Black Mirror episode “Be Right Back”. This is an intense book with a strong plot full of twisted and complex characters. If you enjoy that kind psychoanalytic stories, this is for you.
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Coming up soon a Book Vs Adaption discussion on YOU.