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You're Not You

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  1,400 ratings  ·  242 reviews
College student Bec is dangerously adrift. Self-conscious and increasingly uncertain about her long-term plans, she’s studying a major that no longer interests her and is caught up in a bewildering affair with a married professor. In an impulsive attempt to redeem herself, she answers a want ad seeking a caregiver.


What she finds is a wealthy, cultivated woman in her midthi
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Hardcover, 288 pages
Published May 30th 2006 by Thomas Dunne Books
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Jen
Okay, I'm writing a more thorough review of this book b/c I did a little search on others' thoughts and actually found some people giving this book one star. That's just ridiculous. Maybe the subject matter isn't for everyone - it's about the relationship between a college student and the thirtysomething woman suffering from ALS that she cares for - but to imply in any way that this book is not extraordinarily crafted and beautifully written is just absurd. I read a LOT of books, and I'm not abo ...more
Melissa Crytzer Fry
Michelle Wildgen’s YOU’RE NOT YOU is the perfect book for readers who like to tackle novels with thought-provoking, grey-area topics. Warning: this is not a light read, as it addresses terminal, progressive illness and how the afflicted and the spouse must deal with the stark realities forced upon them. The author has created so much more than that, though – offering humor, strength and the power of choice to her strong female characters.

At the heart of this book is Bec, an ambivalent college wo
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Lisa
I so desperately wanted to like this novel. The synopsis on the back hinted at a tragedy turned around through the beautiful exploration of the senses. That is certainly not what the story delivered. I expected Kate to be a better-developed character with a more profound lesson to teach. I admit that she did change Bec's life but no more than any other employer or boss. I also felt that Bec's attitude and behavior towards the end of the story (I won't give away too much information) was a bit an ...more
Gina
Great debut book about college student, Bec, who is unhappy with her major and her job waitressing who takes a job as a caregiver for Kate, a youngish woman with ALS. At first Bec doesn't think she is cut out for the job with all of the personal things she has to do for Kate and feeling very uncomfortable doing it. However, Bec soon finds herself enmeshed in Kate's life doing practically anything and everything for her, giving up her friends and herself in the process. But what will she do when ...more
Samantha
Een boek dat ik gelezen heb samen met de boekenclub 'YA & chicklit NL', tevens kon ik dit boek gelijk weer gebruiken voor mijn 2015 reading challenge onder de noemer 'a book by an author you've never read before'. Ik hoorde voor het eerst over dit boek, doordat ik de trailer van de film zag.

Jij bent mij, gaat over Kate. Kate heeft 2 jaar geleden te horen gekregen dat ze lijdt aan ALS. Nu ze steeds meer hulpbehoevend wordt, zijn ze op zoek naar een extra hulp voor overdag als haar man is wer
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ღ Suus ღ
Ik vond het een heel mooi boek.. Mooi maar hier en daar wel wat langdradig geschreven. Sommige stukjes boeide me niet zo waardoor ik dat een beetje vluchtig geen lezen. Voornamelijk na de dood van Kate.

Daarom geen 5 sterren. We hebben dit boek als maandboek gelezen met de groep YA & CHICKLIT NL als thema boek + film.. De film ga ik van de week dus ook nog kijken.

Boek is een aanrader! Het verhaal zet je met beide benen op de grond .. Het idee dat dit heel realistisch is , is beangstigend :(
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Linda
Ik wou dit boek 4 sterren geven, tot ik bij het einde kwam. Ik twijfelde zelfs of ik de juiste epub had, zo abrupt kwam dit einde. Zonde, want het verhaal vond ik verder erg mooi geschreven.
Judy
It's rare for me to give a book five stars, but this one fully deserves every one. It was one of those books you wish wouldn't end.

Bec is a college student in Madison, Wisconsin -- disinterested and aimless. Bored with waitressing, she answers an ad for a caregiver, and is drawn into the life of Kate, a 30-something woman with ALS. Clumsy at first, she gradually begins to discover what she's good at, to get a sense of who she might be in the world. She starts to come into her own.

But the irony i
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heather
Full disclosure: Michelle was my workshop leader at Tin House.

I loved this book. The writing is simultaneously spare and lush, something that I love but am not sure how one achieves this. I suppose it's word choice. I noted this in Michelle's essays on food that I had read previously, and this book also veers into fantastic images of farmers' markets and kitchens.

A short summary makes this book sound like "a Lifetime special movie" (as Michelle herself told me at one point). A college student be
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Lori
This book was a break from my normal reading as of late. I had finished some heavier and creepier stuff and decided to fall into something a little less tense, something effortless.

This book fit the bill. I finished it over the course of one night and day. It so closely walks that chick-lit vs fiction line... But I feel its got more substance than your run of the mill chick-lit novels do.

The main character Bec is a going-nowhere, job-hopping, party girl in college, who is sleeping with a marri
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Cheryl
Jul 25, 2007 Cheryl rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: fiction
YOU'RE NOT YOU by Michelle Wildgen - St. Martin's Press - 0-312-35229-8 - 274pps - $23.95 (paperback due in August from Picador Press - 0-312-36952-2- $14.00)
Wildgen masters her first novel with the tightest story I've read in years. As strippingly honest as Ethan Hawke with the simple elegance of Kent Haruf and a touch of Jennifer Weiner's wit. No padding, no redundancies, just impeccably good writing with incredible insight into the life of a Lou Gehrig's victim. With respect and empathy, Wi
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Anita
A honest read that will evoke complex feelings, pain, sadness and happiness. This is the story of a naive young caregiver and her patient, a strong independent woman with Lou Gehrig's disease. The relationship between these two women far outweighs any of the other relationships of the book. We see how the relationship grows. How the relationship helps Bec inadvertently find her calling in life and how the relationship allows Kate to have the courage and ability to stay true to her belief system ...more
Elizabeth Galewski
While Michelle Wildgen's novel You’re Not You was originally published in 2006, buzz for it has been picking up due to the December 2014 release of a movie by the same name starring Hillary Swank. I just finished reading the book last night, and I’m here to tell you —

The buzz is justified.

I’m not usually a fan of literary fiction. I like to play in the genres, myself. But Wildgen’s book quickly won me over. How much do I admire it? Let me count the ways:

(1) This book is a masterpiece of show, do
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Ari
I admit I've never had much use for people who don't know what they want to do with their life and don't try to figure it out. I've never understood why people would study something they have no interest in as Bec is doing. But it's alright because a book doesn't need to have a likable main character to be quality fiction. Bec feels like a real person though, someone in one of your college classes or a friend of a friend. And her pain feels real although some issues of hers are never really expl ...more
Sheri Arnold
This is the book that Lorrie Moore MEANT to write when she wrote A Gate at the Stairs. It is very much like Moore's book--a female college student unsure of where she's going in life, needing a job to get through school, ultimately taking a caretaking job for a couple, then becoming embroiled in their lives, and finally breaking away and learning something in the process. BUT, Wildgen somehow does it so much better. Do yourself a favor: skip A Gate at the Stairs, but read You're Not You.
Kavita
Bec is a college student who's a bit aimless in life. On a whim she applies for a job as the caretaker of a woman living with ALS, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig's disease. She is young, not too wise and can barely take care of herself much less someone else yet somehow, flying by the seat of her pants she figures it out.

Kate has very little motor function from her neck downwards. She is fully dependent on her existing caretakers, her husband and her wheelchair. The only thing they don't do for h
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❀ Sabina
“You’re not you” by Michelle Wildgen
Read: April 14-16, 2015

April 17, 2015

First thoughts
I’m not sure what to think of this book; it didn’t captivate me while reading it although it had the elements that I like. A story about a student who takes care of a woman suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease, better known as ALS, and the relationship she develops with her. It also shows the growth this student, Bec, goes through and the struggles she has after being done with her job as a caregiver. The book
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Erin
Exquisite, through and through -- writing, voice, character arcs, all of it. So many times I would stop and think, "If only I could write like this." As an added bonus, it's set firmly in Madison and has a fair amount of good stuff for the foodie set as well. I love, love, loved this book.
Jessica
This book about a college student who cares for a woman with Lou Gehrig's disease is not altogether realistic, but is nonetheless very touching in parts. Given that this is Wildgen's first novel, I think she shows a lot of promise, but it's not fully realized here.
Julianne Angel
I really enjoyed this book. Makes one think about a whole other side of ALS. The outside caregiver. I lived their relationship and showed w caregiving is way more than a job. Sad but real. I thought it was a great read and would recommend it for sure
Cassy
I'm going to be honest. I read this book because I saw the trailer for the movie, and just the trailer had me in tears. I put this book on my hold list at the library the next day.

I'm not really sure how to feel about it. I didn't have to fight to finish it; it definitely kept my attention. But it was... odd.

The book revolves around Bec, a 21 year old college student who works as a waitress, parties hard, is having an affair with her married professor, and has no direction in life. For some rea
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Jen Alarcon
So this was an easy read even though it dealt with some very heavy aspects of life. I did enjoy it though! This is the story of a young college student trying to find her calling in life. She takes a job as a caretaker of a woman who had ALS. Through this experience she gains a wonderful friend and in the end has found her true passion. I loved the relationship between the characters and how deeply their friendship had progressed. It is a book that makes you think of what your actions would be i ...more
Anne Martin
I did not really enjoy it. I watched the movie first and then of course, wanted to read the book. But in my mind, Bec looked like Emily Rossum and it bothered me, while Hilary Swank was fine as Kate. The spiritual growth escaped me, because I don't see any growth in Bec. Of course, she matures somehow, and she learns how to handle the constant problems, but she is the same person all along. And the story was sad, very sad. What are all those food recipes doing there? that's another thing I did n ...more
Kelly Mccaugherty
This novel is a must read!! It is about a young college student who wants to try something different from waitressing, and decides to jump in headfirst as one of the primary caregivers for a young woman with ALS. Being a young woman who requires assistance within my own daily life, it was interesting for me to view moments that I experienced as "the client" from the perspective of a "caregiver"!! You're Not You is a poignant, heart warming novel, that lets the reader inside these two women's liv ...more
Amber
This wasn't a book I normally would have thought I'd enjoy. However, I ended up reading it within just a few days because I couldn't seem to want to put it down. It has a sort of depressing tone to the story line, but it is there for a reason.

I found myself wondering what I would have done in the situation that the main character was in. I must say I'm still not sure, although I think I know the choice I'd have made. This wasn't the best book I've ever read by any means, but it was a good one.
Antof9
Jan 28, 2009 Antof9 rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: bookczuk
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sara
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Beth
Bec, a college student, is adrift; she hates her marketing major and is a dead-end relationship with a married man. Impulsively she answers an ad to be a caregiver to Kate, a woman with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease.) Kate, who is married to Evan, is young (mid-thirties,) wealthy, cultured, and was an accomplished chef. She is also warm, caring and, in spite of her almost complete paralysis, maintains her zest for life (and a wonderfully dark sense of humor.).

Bec becomes part of Kate and Evan's fam
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Katherine Marple
"You're Not You" was a very detailed, intricate story between a young, reckless 21-year old girl who falls into the role of caregiver to a 30-something woman who is dealing with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease).

Bec, the college party girl, has a tangled life. She is no longer close to her parents (since she moved out to college), she is happily involved with a married college professor (luckily, not HERS), and doesn't mind working at a deadend waitressing job (she doesn't typically stay in one job fo
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Michelle Wildgen is a writer, editor, and teacher in Madison, Wisconsin. In addition to being an executive editor at the literary journal Tin House, Michelle is the author of the novels Bread and Butter: A Novel (forthcoming from Doubleday), But Not For Long and You’re Not You (both available in paperback from Picador), and the editor of an anthology, Food & Booze: A Tin House Literary Feast ( ...more
More about Michelle Wildgen...
Bread and Butter But Not for Long Food and Booze: A Tin House Literary Feast but not for long Tin House: Wild

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