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The Double Bind

3.61  ·  Rating Details ·  23,328 Ratings  ·  3,501 Reviews
As the New York Times has said, “Few writers can manipulate a plot with [Chris] Bohjalian’s grace and power.” Now he is back with an ambitious new novel that travels between Jay Gatsby’s Long Island and rural New England, between the Roaring Twenties and the twenty-first century.
When college sophomore Laurel Estabrook is attacked while riding her bicycle through Vermont’s
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Published February 13th 2007 by Random House Audio (first published January 1st 2007)
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B the BookAddict
Dec 30, 2015 B the BookAddict rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Bohjalian has written a dizzying portrayal of a young social worker, Laurel, searching for the truth behind the life of one of the homeless men she meets at the shelter where she works in Burlington. After his death, she finds his beloved cache of photographs that leads her to suspect that Bobbie Crocker was, in fact, Bobbie Buchanan, son of Tom and Daisy Buchanan. Reaching out to the one remaining Buchanan, Pamela - Bobbie’s sister, she finds herself, and the shelter she works for, embroiled in ...more
Jonna Rubin
Apr 26, 2008 Jonna Rubin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one. Ever.
Offensively bad. Poorly written and/or poorly edited -- likely both -- oh dear crap, it was awful. Overwritten. Stupid. Carelessly written. Used the word "dowager" at least five hundred times -- so much that I laughed out loud and wished I'd made a drinking game of it. And it was UNNECESSARY. Who edited this? Who allowed "epoxied" to stand in for "glued" three times on three consecutive pages in totally needless contexts? Who greenlighted "dowager" so many damn times? Who decided to refer to Lau ...more
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
3 stars Tough one to describe - you've got a rape victim, the mystery surrounding a homeless man and "The Great Gatsby" all mixed in...mental illness a big part of it and there’s this weird blurring of reality and fiction, guess I’ll tag it physiological suspense. A survival mechanism, we all do it, avoid confronting problems by throwing our energy into just about anything else - ah the tantalizing lure of distraction.
Physically healed but with psychological wounds to painful to confront “Som
Mar 09, 2008 Jessica rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I really wanted to like this book, as I found the premise fascinating. The execution, though, was so weak that it was almost unbearable to force my way through the entire book.

The story centers on Laurel, who survived a brutal attack as a young college student. She graduates from college, dates older men, and works at a homeless shelter, where she comes across a man named Bobbie, who carries with him a mysterious box of photographs. Laurel becomes obsessed with the photographs and with figuring
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Debbie Petersen
Aug 19, 2008 Debbie Petersen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 01, 2009 Elyse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just noticed I didn't write a review on "The Double Bind"....

How did that happen? I must have either read it before I joined Goodreads --or was such a 'newbie-Goodreads' member --I just didn't write reviews yet.

I've told dozens of people to read this. I've bought this book as a gift several times ---its THAT GOOD!!! Completely unforgettable --

I 'could' write much more about this story --but some books are best knowing very little about --and just trusting you'll have an 'extraordinary' reading
Book Concierge
Audiobook performed by Susan Denaker

From the book jacket When college sophomore Laurel Estabrook is attacked while riding her bicycle through Vermont’s back roads, her life is forever changed. Formerly outgoing, Laurel withdraws into her photography and begins to work at a homeless shelter. There she meets Bobbie Crocker, a man with a history of mental illness and a box of photographs he won’t let anyone see. When Bobbie dies, Laurel discovers that he was telling the truth; before he was homeles
Jul 08, 2008 Kate rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Laurel Estabrook, a social worker at a homeless shelter in Burlington, Vermont finds herself caught in the middle of case. Bobbie Crocker, a homeless man that came into her shelter, passes away, leaving behind a collection of pictures- pictures that have been in Life magazine and pictures of famous people, and places. Including the infamous home on West Egg that once belonged to Jay Gatsby! Yes, you read that right, this novel incorporates one version of an aftermath scenario of The Great Gatsby ...more
Jun 24, 2008 Stacey rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a very creative premise but egregiously flawed. Most of this book chronicles an investigation that the main character is conducting that links an old box of photos with a homeless man, her own troubled past, and The Great Gatsby. She was a lot more interested in where this all was leading than I was. I was sort of lazily interested in the Gatsby thread because I just read it, but the rest of it was so repetitive and tiresome I could only read 5-10 pages at a time. I did not like the main ...more
Jul 05, 2008 Tracy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Book Clubs, M. Night Shyamalan fans, Jodi Picoult fans
Shelves: fiction, own-it
I would highly recommend this book to all book clubbers out there, because after you read it, you just want to talk to someone else who's read it. Kind of like after seeing the movie the Sixth Sense. There is a prerequisite that comes with this novel and that is to read or re-read The Great Gatsby. This is a must in order to understand all the references and parallels with Fitzgerald's novel. Bohjalian brings the characters from The Great Gatsby to life.
From reading the other reviews of The Dou
Sep 25, 2007 Nick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
If you were to write a book with the same themes as The Great Gatsby, but set it today, what would it look like? What archetypes would you pick to represent the lost, lonely people? The man who tries to live the American dream but at the end finds himself staring at the light he can never reach? The woman who tells herself stories about who she is and how she got where she was only to help avoid the truth of the horror of her life? The death of the American Dream, and its salvation in the ordina ...more
Jun 28, 2007 Jaime rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first thing I did before I started this book was head to Wikipedia and read a summary of The Great Gatsby, since it’s been 12+ years since I read it, and it’s really an integral part of this book. I recommend that to anyone who picks this up.

I often start thinking about what I’m going to say about a book before I finish it. As I neared the end of this, my thoughts were “this wasn’t as good as Midwives or Water Witches“. Then, Bohjalian gives you a very M. Night Shyamalan-esque twist that com
Although I am familiar with Chris Bohjalian, the title caught my eye. I was told (by an editor who recently read about 80 pages of my novel--in-progress), that the mother of my POV character was a classic case of the Double Bind personality. I had not heard of this before. (Google it to discover what it is -- or read this book!) In part, the editor was correct, but, of course, not having read the whole book, she couldn't make a definite assessment. It was helpful, though. As was this book -- in ...more
Mar 20, 2012 Carol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am absolutely stunned!! This book was amazing. I was immediately drawn in and intrigued from the start of it. I have worked in psychiatry as a registered nurse as well as enjoy reading books about mental health, so this book was right up my alley. I have read The Great Gatsby, and I think because I have read that, I was able to get so much more out of reading this one.
Mar 02, 2008 Maggi rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is the sixth book of Chris Bohjalian I have read, and I found the others to be quite good. Perhaps his prose wasn't as gorgeous as some writers, but his stories were gripping, and I turned the pages quickly, (which, if you think about it, is the main reason we want to read a book!). Tran-sister Radio was fascinating and sensitive. I read The Law of Similars in a weekend. Before You Know Kindness was complex and compelling. But despite the pull of the mysteriously wonderful photos that seem ...more
I read this book on the recommendation of a friend, and had no idea that there was a surprise twist at the end. As a mystery, I didn't feel it was very compelling, but aside from that the story was definitely interesting enough to keep me engaged. A quick refresher of The Great Gatsby on Wikipedia is a good idea if you read this book, as its characters appear in The Double Bind as well.

I thought that they were well-integrated into the book, and it was definitely an innovative idea on the part of
Jo Ann
Oct 14, 2007 Jo Ann marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Throughout his career, Chris Bohjalian has earned a reputation for writing novels that examine some of the most important issues of our time. With Midwives, he explored the literal and metaphoric place of birth in our culture. In The Buffalo Soldier, he introduced us to one of contemporary literature’s most beloved foster children. And in Before You Know Kindness, he plumbed animal rights, gun control, and what it means to be a parent.

Chris Bohjalian’s riveting fiction keeps us awake de
Nov 14, 2007 Amy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: should-have-quit
There were moments where I thought this books was really stupid. The main character was so dramatic at times, the plot seemed like it was trying to be more than it was only b/c the author was making the main character make such a big deal out of minimal things.
Turns out there was a reason for that. You don't find out until the very end (which you can predict near the end). The entire thing is explained on the last pages because it has to be completely written out, otherwise it's a book that is
Jul 24, 2009 Kelly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
MaryBeth Isaac
Dec 31, 2007 MaryBeth Isaac rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: friends
This novel is intriguing, heartbreaking and beautiful. Starting with a violent act, the story takes us through the life of the victim Lauren, a privileged young adult who has since dedicated her life to helping the homeless. After the death of a homeless man named Bobbie, Lauren's life intertwines with the descendants of Tom and Daisy Buchanan in present day.

Bobbies only known legacy is a box of secretive photographs and negatives. Lauren recognizes the homes in the photographs from her childho
Feb 11, 2014 Jen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I struggled with the rating on this book...started off intriguing and captured my interest however moved slowly from then on; conversations that took place seemed unrealistic and not likely to provide info so readily and easily. However, that being said, the book managed to take a turn and a twist, recapturing my attention. Overall a-good storyline just needed a little more development. Delighted with the ending as I had to reflect back to see how the pieces came together.
Apr 28, 2008 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those on vacation
Recommended to Mike by: My dealer at Barnes and Noble
Because I loved "The Thirteenth Tale" my contact at Barnes and Noble was sure I would like this book by Bohjalian. He had heard the two books had many things in common. Unfortunately, they don't. Fortunately, I moderately liked this one for much different reasons. As others have written in their reviews, this book was not edited with any real sense of purpose or aid. It lacked for a skilled edit job here and there.

(This review contains no spoilers of any serious degree).

However, the author does
This book finally pushed me into action, in that from now on my Goodreads friends, I'll being giving one or no star to books which have verbally abusive language towards women. Authors who would not use the "n.." word have no compunction in using the most vile language to attack women verbally. This book exceeds on that account and one may say that it was not gratuitous, but Bohjalian was overzealous in his use. Yes, it served a purpose as being part of the horrendous act of rape, but he could h ...more
Jul 04, 2010 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Reviewing this book properly would necessitate revealing the plot and spoiling the author's skillful and unusual handling of character development, narrative design, and technique. I have not read this author before. He is apparently known for his sensitive and creative exploration of serious social issues through fiction, and this book would be consistent with that.

While she's in college, Laurel is brutally attacked while riding her bike on a wooded country road in Vermont. The story quickly f
Aug 20, 2007 Darlene rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Not at all the book I thought I was getting. Far darker and more disturbing a story than the cover copy lead me to believe. I'm a fan of The Great Gatsby. I'm a fan of historical photography. I'm interested in mysteries.

I'm not interested in the details of women being brutalized over and over -- either physically or emotionally. I'm willing to believe it was unintentional on Bohjalian's part, but I couldn't help taking the thematic misogynistic overtones a little too personally.

I figured out t
Aug 09, 2007 Jane rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I reached page 155 in this novel, and I have decided not to continue. The protagonist, Laurel, is not compelling; the writing is unnecessarily adjectivey; the use of Tom and Daisy Buchanan, from The Great Gatsby, as characters in this novel feels tricked up; and one of the puzzles -- the "true" identity of a deceased homeless man -- is solved early and too easily for this reader's taste.

I understand, from reading other reviews in Goodreads, that I'm passing up a twist ending by abandoning this b
Apr 21, 2012 Shelby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How do I put into words this book? Wow...holy crap...Im still in awe of it. I wanted to say this is a 5 star book, simply Im still shocked by it and really cant say all that I feel. I may change my review later but as it stands 4 1/2 stars.
Are you KIDDING?! Manipulative trash. Badly written, badly edited, needlessly confusing, lifeless trash; yet this is the worst kind of book – a bad book that you have to keep reading to find out what happens. Some of the premise behind this book might be interesting if it had been handled differently. It could be interesting to have fictional characters from a classic novel (in this case, “The Great Gatsby”) appear as non-fictional characters in a work of fiction. Or, it could be interesting to ...more
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Chris is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of 19 books. His work has been translated into over 30 languages and three times become movies.

His new novel, "The Sleepwalker," a story of a mother of two with a very rare form of parasomnia who disappears one summer nigh
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“A term came to her that they used on occasion at the shelter: the double bind...They used the expression in much the same way that they would use a term like catch-22.” 0 likes
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