You by Caroline Kepnes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What's the last book that you read where the protagonist was also the antagonist? The last one that I can remember personally is a creepy thriller called By Blood by Ellen Ullman.
Where By Blood feels almost like literature, You is a little more brain candy. If I'm being honest, it took me about fifty pages to really get sucked into the novel. The structure the author chooses, which is to have the main character speak to the object of his affection directly in his head is at first jarring and off-putting. There are plenty of stories that involve a copious amount of internal dialogue. With the main character speaking directly to his obsession, it's almost as though his thoughts are yours.
Joe fails in love with Beck at first sight and dives into a deep obsession with her. He systematically stalks her, removing all perceived obstacles to their togetherness. Despite the occasional mention of time passing, it's difficult to discern exactly how much time passes during the story. It's forever. It's no time at all.
Joe is clearly "crazy", but the inner monologues are (for the most part) calm and considered. I held out hope that the ending wouldn't be the ending, despite its inevitability. Even having guessed the end, it did not detract from the overall effect. Perception is a funny funny thing and it's readily apparent that our perceptions can differ greatly.
I hesitate to call it a murder mystery. There's no mystery here. Just an intensely self-aware obsessive stalker. My only critique would be that I wanted more back story as to how Joe ended up the way he did. He discusses being kept in the cage prior to the novel's beginning, but I'd love to dig in to the whys of it all. I eagerly look forward to the next in the series.
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