You by Caroline Kepnes | Book Review

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Rating: 3/5

Favourite Quote: “The only thing crueler than a cage so small that a bird can’t fly is a cage so large that a bird thinks it can fly.”  

Review: This book was like nothing I’ve ever read before. It was frustrating, repetitive at times and a little dull. But overall I can’t deny that it was, to quote You back at itself, “different, hot”.

Joe Goldberg, our protagonist and stalker, is actually the one described as “different, hot” in the book. But really he’s neither. He works in a bookshop. He’s not interesting. He’s bland. And he’s oblivious.

I started to realise early on that Joe lives his life outside of himself, if that even makes sense. His whole internal monologue is him thinking about other people. Judging them and making up excuses for their actions. He’s not self aware at all.

Beck, the writer who is being stalked by Joe, on the other hand lives entirely within herself. She only thinks of herself and what she can get out of people and how they make her feel. She’s completely self absorbed.

Both Joe and Beck’s behaviour gets more annoying as the book goes on. All the lying and cheating and stalking and killing couldn’t make them interesting people to me. In fact, I felt sad for them. They obviously suffer from various mental illnesses.

Though I’m not saying any of the above makes the book bad. The characters are not interesting (to me) but the overall storyline is. I found it fascinating how Joe would use email, Facebook and Twitter to stalk Beck and also to cover his tracks. It really highlighted the power of social media to me. And how one tweet, that kind of sounds like something you would write, will make everyone think you’re ok. A scary thought.

Also You highlighted how manipulative people can be. Even, perhaps unintentionally, to those they’ve just met. Another scary thought.

So really You is a bit like watching some weird reality tv show. It’s not amazing or anything but it reveals a lot about humanity. And it is fun because it’s not you dealing with all this rubbish, it’s someone else.

And as with most books I rate 3/5 I found that the last several chapters were some of the best of the whole story. Which means I’m left wanting more. And *SPOILER* I’m definitely intrigued to know about Joe’s new obsession in the next book which Caroline has described as “every bit as terrifying…”.

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