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You're Not You

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  1,685 Ratings  ·  264 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
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published May 30th 2006 by Thomas Dunne Books
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Heather G No it's not midsentence but it pretty well ends with her doing that to learn more about cooking. If yours ended midsentence then it wasn't a complete…moreNo it's not midsentence but it pretty well ends with her doing that to learn more about cooking. If yours ended midsentence then it wasn't a complete copy.(less)
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White as the Driven Snow
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5th out of 16 books — 4 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Oct 19, 2009 Jen rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Melissa Crytzer Fry
May 22, 2011 Melissa Crytzer Fry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wip-comps
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
Sep 04, 2007 Lisa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
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
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
ღ Suus ღ
May 01, 2015 ღ Suus ღ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 :(
May 10, 2015 Linda rated it liked it
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.
Feb 07, 2015 Jaike rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jul 25, 2007 Cheryl rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 05, 2007 Lori rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
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
Aug 06, 2007 heather rated it really liked it
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
Jun 28, 2009 Anita rated it really liked it
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
Sheri Arnold
Dec 28, 2009 Sheri Arnold rated it really liked it
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.
Julianne Angel
Oct 25, 2012 Julianne Angel rated it really liked it
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
Aug 22, 2007 Jessica rated it liked it
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.
Oct 13, 2010 Erin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Oct 05, 2014 Cassy rated it liked it
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
Oct 17, 2014 Kavita rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Katherine Marple
Sep 22, 2009 Katherine Marple rated it liked it
"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
Jul 01, 2007 Michele rated it really liked it
Caretaking and Cooking: Choices of a College Coed
This story drew me in at once because of the strong voice and the good writing. It clearly establishes a sense of time and place (modern day Madison, Wisconsin) and offers the "promise" of an intimate look at daily life during the last stages of ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) from the perspective of a personal caregiver. While we learn to understand the struggles of the patient, Kate, this is more about the struggles of a college student known as "Bec
Jan 20, 2016 Sabina rated it liked it
“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
Cheryl Grimm
Sep 12, 2016 Cheryl Grimm rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Wildgen, a former Ohio Stowite bookworm, 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, Wildgen takes us into the home and oh-so-personal life of Kate, a rapidly declining, well-to-do sufferer of the disease and Bec, ...more
Apr 10, 2015 Sara rated it really liked it
Shelves: like-it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
As you can see,I read this book long after it won a few awards for one of the best books of 2006. I picked it up expecting it to be an interesting character study yet it turned out to be much more than that. I admire the way Wildgen presents the reader with several controversial points yet doesn't preach or attempt to convert with her own opinions. We are left to decide what we feel is the right course. Not only that, each character was presented in all their humanness--flaws and all--with no ...more
Jan 28, 2009 Antof9 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: bookczuk
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 07, 2016 Jesica rated it really liked it

no tengo ni idea porque tenia esta historia conmigo, creo que debe ser de mi prima tal vez entre las cosas que a veces deja un día se le quedo y pues como en mi casa le pongo orden a los libros que me voy encontrando pues tal vez por eso llego a mis manos....

comenzare diciendo que no tenia ni idea de que se trataba el libro, *a veces no me gusta leer las sinopsis* y de esa manera me sumergí en la historia me sorprendí mucho cuando nos presentaron a una de l
Jun 02, 2014 Ari rated it liked it
Shelves: 20s, read-in-2014
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 ...more
Maudeen Wachsmith
Aug 14, 2007 Maudeen Wachsmith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

When Bec, a 21-old Madison, Wisconsin college student decides to change her part-time job from bartending at a local greasy spoon restaurant she has no idea how much her life will change or how much her charge will influence her.

Sophisticated 36-year-old Kate Norris has had ALS aka amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease for two years. Happily married she to husband Evan, she is wheelchair-bound and literally unable to do anything for herself. Her speech is even getting so bad that
Tony Heyl
Dec 28, 2012 Tony Heyl rated it really liked it
This story of a young college student becoming the caregiver for a person with ALS is smart and touching and a pretty decent representation of living with Lou Gehrig's Disease. Bec starts taking care of Kate, who has ALS, after responding to an ad. There she learns not only about the disease and seeing a person as more than just their illness, but also learns lessons for herself through the ups and downs of Kate's marriage to her husband Evan.

Bec grows up by learning what she can and cannot do,
Elizabeth Galewski
Oct 01, 2014 Elizabeth Galewski rated it it was amazing
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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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
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