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3.70  ·  Rating details ·  316 ratings  ·  33 reviews
What would you do if your best friend was also your worst enemy?

When Caroline Kraus leaves behind her sheltered, upper-middle-class home in St. Louis for San Francisco following the death of her mother, she is searching for clarity and a fresh perspective to help her escape her mother’s ghost. Instead, in a dreamlike city of beatnik bookstores and coffeehouses, she meets J
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published February 24th 2004 by Broadway (first published 2004)
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Average rating 3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  316 ratings  ·  33 reviews

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Self-pitying point of view of the destruction left in the wake of mental illness. The privileged author was subjected to the realities of borderline personality disorder suffered by a close friend. But the focus was on the author’s pain with little sympathy for the pain that mentally ill patients suffer on a daily basis. While an interesting read in the context of a train wreck happening over the course of several years, I finished the book with a bad taste in my mouth and a growing disdain for ...more
Feb 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
This is an amazing example of how magical and overwhelming a border line personality can be.
Psychological thriller alert. I've been looking for a good book for a long time and FINALLY found one. I absolutely LOVE books like this. It's like we are sitting in on Kraus's psychology session. I love that this book is true because truth is way stranger than fiction. This book took a lot of guts to publish and to write because it really exposes the author in both a good and bad light--albeit sometimes more bad than good-- or possibly just naive and vulnerable. It's so raw and honest which is ...more
Sep 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
The author is a very good writer -- writing clearly and simply for the reader. I enjoyed the book overall but found myself appalled by the behavior of both Caroline and "Jane." Jane definitely has a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder with Caroline having BPD traits. Disgusting incestual relationship between these two women in the guise of "friendship." I hope Caroline gets the continuous help that she needs in order to never fall into this destructive relationship pattern again. Would ...more
Oct 26, 2008 rated it liked it
An autobiography about a girl in her early to mid-twenties and her pyscho best friend. Very Single White Female. I didn't want friends after this. :) An interesting memoir.
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Currently rereading. The first time I read this book was over ten years ago. I was at the moment living with a borderliner, caught in the trap, not knowing. That person happens to be my mother, and nearly killed me. If by any chance Caroline Kraus reads this: thank you. Your story changed my life. And saved my life.
Feb 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was hooked on every page until the very end!
A chilling, physiological thriller that is also a memoir, Caroline Kraus describes the circumstances in which she met her partner "Jane", and the downwards spiral that it led to in her life.

Kraus has a way with the prose that clearly denotes exemplary literary talent.

Highly recommended read!
Dec 05, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: narcissism
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This memoir perfectly encapsulates what it is like to be in a relationship with someone who has borderline personality disorder. I don't recall if Jane actually was ever diagnosed, but based on my research and personal experience, I believe this is what Jane suffered from. It starts out innocently enough, and over time, Caroline and Jane's relationship twists into something unrecognizable. The recounting is intense and dizzying, familiar and unforgettable. While there are no answers, no easy exp ...more
I liked it and thought it was fairly written. It made me think of incessant people who live off of other people's energy, time and money. This story is not only about mental illness, but about the consequences of not having proper boundaries set up against individuals who can suck life out of you like blood sucking vampires. I think the relationship between the protagonist and the antagonist is something to pounder upon and in the end there is a definite lesson to be learned; If something is hur ...more
Sep 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved the pace of this book. While it took me awhile to finish, I couldn't wait to get back to reading it. I have been both Jane and a Jane person in my life so a lot of the memories she recounted sounded vaguely familiar, while others left me incredulous at the depths of hold Jane had on her. What a brave story of Caroline to tell, as we know there is nothing deeper than relationships with others. Bravo!
Apr 11, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Wow! These are two seriously screwed-up girls! One of the girls feels lost and guilty over her mothers' death, the other one preys on that and uses it to manipulate her. There is a genuine bond between these girls, albeit a sick one. Based on a true story, you come away from this really glad it isn't your life.
Jan 24, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usa, booknook
Very interesting read, but frightening too. After the death of her mum Caroline escapes to San Francisco to end up in a destroying friendship.

Read more on my book blog: []
Jan 01, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an ok read. It was sad that Caroline was in grief and someone leached onto that then abused her. Yet, it is a book everyone should read so they are aware of the signs of a "user" and not a true friend, before it is too late.
Jun 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
Two psychologically damaged women engage in a perverse, sick, and twisted relationship filled with manipulation and violence (emotional and physical, often self-inflicted) - truly amazed that somebody didn't end up dead. Extremely disturbing story . . . reminded me of Single White Female.
Jul 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
This is a very jarring story that the author tells of her own experience with her best friend that she had become so dependent upon who turned out to be the most toxic influence in her life. I am still fearful for her safety.
Feb 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is hands down my favorite book. I felt like I could have been reading the story of my own just seemed to mirror so much that was going on with me at that time in my life. And it really helped me to recognize and accept something that I always knew was inside of me.
Ruth Ticknor
Apr 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Disturbing yet a vital story that needed to be told---after almost 30 years in healthcare delivery, lives such as these continue to boggle my brain. Well-written and well-told (Audiobooks version).
Jun 16, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club, memoir
What I learned from this book:
Having taken no psych classes in college, this was the first time I heard the term.
Hannah Wingfield
Mediocre memoir about destructive friendships, BPD & bereavement.
Full review here, at my book blog.
Leslie Jem
Apr 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir-essay
This memoir reads like a novel. I was so worried that the author might not escape her situation that I kept turning to the biographical information to hunt for clues.
Mar 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
Wow, I'm not really sure what to say about this book. While it was interesting it was also disturbing.
Apr 15, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Again biased opinion, I love all these books.
Dec 26, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Happy to meet the author recently and so I bought and read her book! Excellent "coming of age" story with insight and makes you want to keep reading to get to the end and see what happens.
Nov 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
Well-written. Couldn't put it down until I finished. An excellent treatment of an unpleasant and troubling subject.
Lucy Burnett
Aug 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a little slow to start but it takes you on the twists and turns of someone who loves and lives with someone who has Borderline Personality Disorder.
Richard Stuart
Jun 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pyschology
An emotional juggernaut of a book.
Kate  Rosenberg
Jan 02, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: crazy people
Shelves: fiction
This is a total guilty pleasure. Not a literary masterpiece by any measure, but very fun. Especially fabulous for anyone who has/is a borderline personality disordered friend. Oh, the drama!
B. Lynn
Sep 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating. Some memoirs amaze me.
Linda DiMeo Lowman
Well-written and fast moving. I wanted a bit more of her path to recovery and the aftermath.
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