You Remind Me of Me
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You Remind Me of Me

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3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  2,712 ratings  ·  389 reviews
With his critically acclaimed "Among the Missing" and "Fitting Ends," award-winning author Dan Chaon proved himself a master of the short story form. He is a writer, observes the"Chicago Tribune," who can "convincingly squeeze whole lives into a mere twenty pages or so." Now Chaon marshals his notable talents in his much-anticipated debutnovel.
"You Remind Me of Me" begins...more
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Published May 25th 2004 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2004)
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Kristi
This book left a huge impression on me for several reasons. First, the language was crafted beautifully. Chaon could write a novel about someone sitting and picking their nose, and he would make the language so extraordinary that you would be glued to your seat and in tears by the end. Second, this books makes you think. The characters are very real; they are unsure about their goals, and despite their good intentions they mess up a lot. Their mistakes and the consequences they deal with make yo...more
Teresa
Jan 29, 2014 Teresa rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Teresa by: Cathrine
I felt about this book the same way I felt about Dubus III's House of Sand and Fog: very well-written, psychologically astute, but maybe just not for me. I didn't feel fully engaged until the very end of page 250 (right before the last section) with this passage:

What if she never knows the end of the story? She shudders, and her mind continues to lurch forward into the future, that simple expectation of time passing--another moment, and another moment. It seems impossible that it will abruptly
...more
Brent
Sep 30, 2008 Brent rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any fan of thoughtful literary fiction.
When I grow up one day as a writer, I want my writing to be like Dan Chaon's. This is his debut novel after many years of writing short stories. The craft of short story writing comes through in every sentence of this novel - rich, evocative imagery punches through some of the most economic sentences and paragraphs; characters are compelling, dynamic and fully explored; drama hits forcefully and emotionally.

I took plenty of time to read this book, treating it as if it were the literary equivalen...more
Patti
Aug 29, 2007 Patti rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes John Irving
Ok, so now that I've said anyone who likes John Irving should read this, some John Irving fanatic may accost me. He is not John Irving, but Dan Chaon's style and mood are very similar. I picked this book up to get inside the mind of more gritty, lower-middle class characters for a monologue I was working on and was surprised at how engaging it was. A lot of the reviews say they found it depressing, but I'm twisted, so it just leaves me glad I'm not like the people in the book. And I guess I have...more
Nathan James
SPOILERS AHOY HOY!

My thoughts on Dan Chaon's story of two half brothers that find each other in dire circumstances midway through their twenties has a lot to say about the What If's of life. And his conclusion seems to say that regardless of our childhoods we become what we're intended to become - a bad mother, a kidnapper, a good bartender, a commercial artist. Putting it a different way, a good upbringing does not a good life make. Chaon also writes a lot about patterns, especially those found...more
Gabriel
Feb 21, 2008 Gabriel rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: melancholics
I read this book when it had just come out in hardcover. I'm pretty sure it was during the summer, maybe right after high school, I had nothing to do and was feeling miserable, and I would go for walks to get out of my parents house, usually landing in the barnes & noble nearby, where I'd sit in the cool and read new fiction at random. I picked this book out because i liked the cover art or the title and wound up reading the whole thing in the store over the course of a couple of weeks (my m...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
I have to say, right off the bat, that I have never skimmed bits as much as I did in this book. I usually like to read every single word, but I got so impatient with this that I kinda skipped a sentence here, skimmed a paragraph there, all in the hope of reaching the end faster.

And not because I felt like I was running out of time because I had a bookclub meeting for it. It was simply due to a small amount of boredom and a nagging impatience with the characters.

Jonah lives with his mother, Nora...more
Elaine
This is a masterpiece! Chaon ranks with the very top of 21st century authors. His phrasing is felieitous and elegant. His plotting brilliant. The way he allows his stories to unfold, riveting.

This book is about choices and if's. If someone had made a different choice, then what? They made a choice and what other choices do they then make and what happens to their lives and someone else's? Oh, this has been argued and reargued in philosophy and even psychology. Is it nature or nurture? Is it by d...more
Aban (Aby)
Wow, what a great book! My thanks to Doreen for lending it to me.

For me, the book got off to a slow start, partly bacause I was travelling while reading it (and couldn't read it for any length of time)and partly becuase of the nature of the book (it moves between characters and times). There was - to begin with - no obvious connection between the characters. However, I was patient as I knew they would all come together eventually, and they did. Once they did, I couldn't put the book down!

This bo...more
Sunny Shore
I almost gave this book a 5, till I got to the end. I love Dan Chaon, but I didn't like the way he ended it. Chaon weaves little stories together to form one novel and he did a great job with Await Your Reply. We witness lives of characters within chapters going back and forth from the 60's, 70's and 90's. The main characters are Troy, a man adopted as a baby; Jonah, a very lonely young man with the ability and urgency to change the past, present and future; and Nora, a young woman with mental p...more
Cathrine
As I picked up this novel I saw a post by a friend of the author on his FB wall.

An article that jokes about 'things writers hate'.

Like how some reader rate a book at Amazon based on 'in what shape the book arrived in'. The packaging, not content.

I found myself in a similar situation. I loved this story. Its characters, its and their depth. Pulled me right in.

But the font size must have been made for lilleputians!

I have never seen print this small! (Teresa I bought you a different edition). My...more
Missy
My picky husband really enjoyed it. He said it would be a good book club read- so I read it too.

This was an interesting read. The book is written from the perspective of 3 people and over 3 different time periods. At first I wished I had been writing out my own timeline to reference when the story hopped along. The book has 2 protagonists who make poor choices. There were sections of the book where I was not rooting for anyone and I felt that loss. At times I wondered, "So why should I care abo...more
Alison
I was disappointed with this book, possibly because I had such high expectations. I love the idea of seemingly random strangers being connected together through space and time. I liked the non-linear manner in which the story was told. However, I found myself disliking all of the characters. Their individual situations seemed very real and the comparison of two brothers' backgrounds and the way they turn out was yet another interesting technique. It's also very clear how they turned into their a...more
Betony
based on a short story published in harper's magazine (how many great books have had similar origins?), dan chaon's first novel is a nuanced and detailed story of three lives in varying stages of redemption. a teenaged mother sent away to wait out her pregnancy, a man deformed in boyhood by a vicious dog, and an out-of-luck loser who continues to fall into the same traps of drugs, alcohol, and irresponsibity-- all whose stories are woven beautifully. the focus of this novel is character, and cha...more
lindsay!
You Remind Me of Me is simple and sad and honest.
The characters are all so pitiful with really unfortunate lives, yet each story is poetic in its honesty. It sort of has an awareness like: "Life sucks but the sun still shines." Anyway, it was a nice book.
In fact, it is the first book I have loved in a long long time (ever since Middlesex blew all other published materials out of the water).
Dustin Crazy little brown owl
"How can you be alive when every choice you make breaks the world into a thousand filaments, each careless step branching into long tributaries of alternate lives, shuddering outward and outward like sheet lightning."
-You Remind Me of Me

I think Await Your Reply is better, but I really enjoyed this story also. Dan Chaon writes in a way that gives me so much to think about.

I love the way the story opens with Jonah playing in the bathtub with the dog named Elizabeth:
(view spoiler)...more
Ron Charles
Long before brothers started fighting in the back of the station wagon, they got off on the wrong foot in Western civilization. By the time Freud described the murderous fantasies between fathers and sons, brothers had already been deadly antagonists for millenniums. When Remus mocked his brother's wall, Romulus killed him. When Abel upstaged his brother's sacrifice, Cain slew him.

In the early 1940s, both East of Eden and The Skin of Our Teeth revived the Bible's first brothers, reenacted the mu...more
Dina
Credit to Shannon for my review. I copied and pasted her review, deleting the parts that didn't apply to my opinion. Why reinvent the wheel?
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Anti-climactic and meandering...

I have never skimmed bits as much as I did in this book. I usually like to read every single word, but I got so impatient with this that I skipped a sentence here, skimmed a paragraph there, all in the hope of reaching the end faster. It was due to boredo...more
Owen
Midway through the book, one of the characters imagines writing a letter:
Once upon a time there was a woman who had two sons. The first son she gave away when she was a teenager, and she regretted it for the rest of her life. The second son she kept for her own, and she regretted that even more.
Now, that's a disturbing but compelling kind of situation to imagine, and if the book had started out there I probably would've devoured it much more eagerly.

Instead, Chaon starts slowly and realistical...more
Lit Folio


This is an extraordinary look at the ordinary. And the first thing you can say about this novel is that it could never pass for a "crowd pleaser". Perhaps, that's because this novel hits the raw nerve in all of us had we not found loving partners, or meaningful work, or mothered or fathered wonderful children. This is a strange look at loneliness and the thirst to find real meaning and to bond with whatever we can find that will give us that meaning.

What struck me so deeply about this story is,...more
Fawn Butler
I wasn’t a big fan of the way the story was written, but I had to read it for book club so I pushed through it…wasn’t easy. There are 3 different story lines to follow however they interwoven. A boy is raised in the shadows of the son given up for adoption. After his mom dies he goes on a search to find this brother. The brother is a bartender/drug dealer whose world revolves around his son. This little boy is a big part of the relationship between the two men.
Kelly
One of my favorite books to recommend. It's not a difficult read, but the character development is fantastic. It's about trying to find a connection with someone else (and, in some cases, simply anyone else). I ache for some of the characters who try to do the right thing but can't escape the mistakes they nonetheless make. It's much better than I make it sound. Does it help to learn the author is from Ohio?
Josh
A wonderful wonderful book! Amazing in the way it accumulates momentum and emotional resonance as the book progresses. Though I enjoyed the beginning of the book quite a bit, it just kept getting better and better and more emotional. A really well written, satisfying, exceptional novel.
Sarah
What a fantastic book! I highly recommend this to everyone. The author writes from multiple points of view and connects different characters in an intruiging way. It's definitely the type of book that you can't put down.
Kelly
You Remind Me Of Me is author Dan Chaon's first full length novel. He has previously written a number of short stories. This novel almost reads like a number of short stories that are interrelated and interwoven. This book is an interesting read about nature vs nurture vs . . . how we shape our own lives.

This isn't a cheerful book. In fact, the lives examined are lower middle class lives with their share of struggles and issues. But despite the sadness, it's a gripping read. I had trouble putti...more
Vivienne Strauss
I wanted to weep at the end of this book, not for any specific character or event - just for all the lost souls out there in general.
Whitaker
A really great book shows us how everything is great and worth to die for
Natalie Pezzenti
I've always been a fan of novels with an ensemble cast. You Remind Me of Me was no different. It weaved the stories of two half-brothers and their relatives in a way that I haven't really read before, jumping back and forth from character to character as well as stories from the past and present. It took a little bit to get adjusted to the jumping, but once I did, I really went on the roller-coaster of emotions with brothers Troy and Jonah. I related to Jonah most of all. He felt like an only ch...more
Amy
"There was no way to account for love, she thought, or for sorrow."

Dan Chaon's gifts as a short-story writer show themselves in his exquisitely crafted sentences, as in this passage from the novel's opening:

"In the movie you would only see him emerging from the bus, a boy running with his backpack dragging through the wet gravel, a red stocking cap, a worn blue ski jacket, stones grinding together beneath his boots, a pleasantly rhythmic noise he was making. And you would be up above everything...more
Lindsey
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Dan Chaon is the author of Among the Missing, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and You Remind Me of Me, which was named one of the best books of the year by The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, The Christian Science Monitor, and Entertainment Weekly, among other publications. Chaon’s fiction has appeared in many journals and anthologies, including Best Ame...more
More about Dan Chaon...
Await Your Reply Among the Missing Stay Awake Fitting Ends Big Me

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“How can you come to understand your life when even the beginning is so complicated: a single cell imprinted with the color of your eyes and the shape of your face the pattern on your palm and the moods that will shadow you through your life. How can you be alive when every choice you make breaks the world into a thousand filaments each careless step branching into long tributaries of alternate lives shuddering outward and outward like sheet lightning.” 16 likes
“Sometimes he thinks that if he could only trace the path of his life carefully enough, everything would become clear. The ways that he screwed up would make sense. He closes his eyes tightly. His life wasn't always a mistake, he thinks, and he breathes uncertainly for awhile, trying to find a pathway into unconsciousness, into sleep. ” 13 likes
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