All those people - were any of them who they seemed?
Set in Chicago, 1975, Double-take is the story of artsy Rachel Cochrane, who returns from college with no job and confronts the recent death of Bando, one of her best friends. When she runs into Joey, a mutual friend, their conversations take them back into their shared past and to the revelation that Bando may have been murdered.
To find out who murdered him, Rachel is forced to revisit her stormy 1960s adolescence, a journey that brings her into contact with her old friends, her old self, and danger.
Surprising and haunting, this is an insightful reminiscence of a time of naivety, danger and renewal.
Abby Bardi is the author of THE BOOK OF FRED, THE SECRET LETTERS, and DOUBLE TAKE. She grew up in Chicago, went to college in California, then spent a decade teaching English in Japan and England. She currently teaches at a college in Maryland and lives in historic Ellicott City with her husband and dog.
I enjoyed a previous book by Abby - who wouldn't love "The Book of Fred" but I am afraid the style of this one did not mesh with my reading style. I tend to juggle multiple books, both fiction and non and this book tended to bounce around in time from her earlier hippy druggy days to a more recent period so made it difficult for me to pick up the story line. Came across as a rather jumbled telling but can't totally blame the author for my issues. I also tend to judge women who bail out of perfectly good relationships for no discernible cause as a bit unbalanced so tend to find them unsympathetic as protagonists (think Cheyl Strayed hiking the Cascades, for example).
I've read many mysteries in my life and this didn't read like any other mystery.
Rachel aka Cookie has come back to her parent's home in 1975 and finds out that perhaps one of her friends did not commit suicide and perchance he was murdered. This causes a flood of memories from the late 60's to early 70's of her life at that time and the hippie lifestyle she seemed to lead.
It took getting used to with the back and forth between various years and memories. It might have made for a more fluid read to start at the present and then start at the beginning of the previous years and work through the years consecutively.
I also could not really relate to any of the characters due to the drug and alcohol use. Yes, this was the years of the hippies, but there did not seem to be any redeeming characters.
I thought this book was just ok. It wasn't great and it wasn't so bad I couldn't finish the book.
Double Take by Abby Bardi is a dark mystery featuring Rachel (aka Cookie) as a troubled, recent college graduate who returns home from California to decide what direction her life is going. While there, she reconnects with friends and coworkers from high school, specifically Joey (aka Rat) and learns more about the suicide of their mutual friend Robert Bandolini (aka Bando) that might actually ...
Double Take moves between two time periods: 1975 when Rachel has returned home to her old neighborhood in Chicago, moving in with her parents and waitressing while she waits to figure out what to do next. She has abandoned a loving relationship for reasons that are not clear to her and all she knows is that she needs to understand something. That something is rooted in her turbulent past: 1969, when everyone knew her as Cookie. She waitressed then too but it was a different time. As the author writes, “Like you’d be on the train and you’d see someone with long hair and by the time you got downtown you were old pals with them. It was like some kind of osmosis.”
In 1969, Cookie is optimistic, naïve and idealistic, even though the times are full of menace. The draft threatens every young man, the Chicago cops “were always cornering some poor little hippie and slamming him up against their car. I been frisked so many times I still got fingerprints all over me.” And someone is a narc, informing on the lucrative drug trade that operates out of the restaurant where Cookie works.
As the novel progresses, Rachel is drawn further and further into her past, trying to unravel how and why her dear friend died. Was it suicide or not? And had her actions somehow caused his death? Abby Bardi creates such a compelling pace that I read the entire book in one evening, immersing myself in Rachel’s drive to know the truth, no matter how painful. And I was rewarded with evocative passages like: “I have always loved this moment when you leave the tunnel and enter the station, with its unintelligible loudspeaker noises, the faint sounds of trains below, and the little sparkly things embedded in its floor.” And a description of posters on a bedroom wall: “The psychedelic Beatles looked down on us like kindly gods.”
It was often said about Woodstock that if you remembered it, you weren’t really there. If you recall the late 60’s and early 70’s, Double Take will remind you of how challenging, fearful and inspiring those times were. But the reader doesn’t need to have lived through that era to appreciate Bardi’s gritty tale of friendship, forgiveness, and adventure.
Full disclosure: My path crossed slightly with Abby’s while I was growing up in Chicago. She was one of my older sister’s crowd: those teenagers who seemed to me to be self-assured, competent, glamorous, sexy. I yearned to someday be like them, listen to their music, to be able to hang out with people as cool as they were. Double Take is set in our old neighborhood, so I had the extra pleasure of recognizing the taverns and street corners, the icy lakefront and the fancy towers that looked down upon it.
I liked the time period of this story. Rachel aka Cookie was a very damaged woman. Sadly, I could not feel a lot of compassionate emotions towards Rachel. It is because when she was telling stories of past events like a horrible one, she was so cool about the one particular event that she did not react. In addition, in the past Rachel hung out with the wrong crowd. To me, she came off as a brat. The rest of her friends I could not share a connection with what so ever. Therefore, I was not interested in what truly happened to Bando. Finally, there was Joey. He could have been just another guy in my book. I was kind of upset with him that he did not stop Rachel from drinking. She had a drinking problem in the past and she was past drunk as she was sitting with Joey reliving the past. Yet, he did not really try to stop her. Try as I might, I wanted to like this book. It just was not for me.
Netgalley provided me with free digital access to this title in exchange for an honest review.
Well, this is kind of a weird one. I had a difficult time getting into the story due to the structure: the story is told mainly in short scenes that jump between past and present. The past is narrated by Rachel/Cookie in third-person and includes action, while the present is narrated by Rachel/Cookie in first person and are mainly dialogue that doesn't sound like real people conversing. The characters fell pretty flat for me: Rachel/Cookie is one of those too-stupid-to-live female characters and I couldn't relate to her at all. I didn't really get why she glamorized the dumpy diner full of scummy people that was apparently some sort of 'scene' in the 60s. The plot was just strange and improbable, and not really that interesting.
Bell-bottoms, booze and mystery are all a big part of this story. Bardi does a wonderful job painting the picture of Casa Sanchez and the way things used to be. Rachel aka Cookie remembers all the subtleties of her experiences and does a great job bringing you with her down memory lane.
I never quite connected with Rachel as a character, perhaps because things like bulimia were thrown around without context or point. Regardless, looking for truths from your past is always an interesting storytelling element. I enjoyed getting to know Cookie and the life she lived prior to present day and though her motivations for change at the end of the book are still a bit fuzzy for me, I'm going to say that I think she found what she was looking for.
If you enjoy reading about a small group of misfits from the late '60's/early '70's then you should definitely give this book a chance. It was an interesting ride.
Rachel Cochrane and Joey's interactions felt very real and natural especially as they began to consider that their friend's death may have actually been a murder. The element of murder is what really made this book a great read as the author took two characters that would not normally be involved in a murder mystery and got them involved after their friend died and they began to think it was a murder not a normal death. Overall, it was a book that I ended up finishing in one day without taking any breaks!
Aimless and unsure of her future, Rachel has just returned to her childhood home in Chicago after finishing college. She takes a job in a coffee shop in her old neighbourhood, which she seems to enjoy, even though her parents think she is wasting her life. It is 1975, but being back in her old surroundings brings back Rachel’s memories of her turbulent adolescence and the loss of a close friend in 1969.
The novel jumps back and forth between these two time periods, as Rachel reconnects with her old friend Joey and they reminisce about the past. Back in 1969, some of their friends became involved with drugs, leading to the death of Rachel’s boyfriend Bando. It was an apparent suicide, but Joey has other information – he tells Rachel that he thinks it may have been a murder. Joey and Rachel spend their nights in the back room of a seedy bar, drinking cheap beer even though Rachel seems to be a recovering alcoholic. Her memories of Bando lead her to drink more than ever.
After graduation, Rachel had planned to move to California with her boyfriend Paul, but she finds herself unable to move on until she comes to grips with her past. Rachel becomes obsessed with Bando’s death, and puts her own life at risk, meeting with dangerous people from her past in order to uncover the truth. However, when she does find out what really happened, she realizes that it isn’t so easy to place the blame on the person who is at fault for Bando’s death.
As she moves between 1975 and 1969, Rachel realizes there are two versions of herself – in the past, she was known to her friends as Cookie, and she seems to be slipping back into that former personality, aided by her increased drinking. Cookie was naïve and idealistic, believing the best about the bohemian crowd she spent time with, and disregarding the ominous clues about their involvement in drugs and violence. In the present, Rachel eventually realizes that she can hold on to the positive memories from her past, while still moving forward as the person she is today.
The dreamy, evocative passages bring the 1960s and 1970s to life. Jumping between short scenes increases the pace of the novel, making the reader feel compelled to find out what happened to Bando, and what will happen to Rachel. The time jumps are confusing at first, but once you get into the rhythm, the novel is almost impossible to put down. Although the final scenes seem a bit far-fetched, this novel is more about atmosphere than realism, and I think it succeeds in bringing this gritty historical setting to life.
I received this book from Harper Collins – Impulse Australia and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I found this really hard to follow. There are a lot of characters with odd names and it jumps back and forward between the late 60's and mid 70's. Rachel (or Cookie, in her younger days) is a lost young woman. She has run off on her finance and is working in a cafe with no real prospects despite being well educated. Little things are revealed which were painful in her past - a rape, the death of a good friend which has always plagued her with guilt and it seems she is currently bulimic and may have had/has a problem with alcohol. Though it is interesting in summary, nothing is really gone into too deeply and it's hard to really relate to Rachel. I didn't really care about any of the assorted addicts and pushers she used to associate with, which is another problem with this. Honestly I think I would have DNF'ed it if it wasn't literally all I had on me to read. It's not awful as such, but i couldn't honestly say I enjoyed it either.
This story moves between two time periods: 1975 When Rachael has rebound to home to her old neighborhood in Chicago and 1969 when everyone knows her by a different name, Cookie. It took me a minute to figure this one out because it jumped back and forth in almost scene-like story lines but, once I got the hang of it, it was fine. The only thing I found a real challenge for myself was keeping up with the different characters given the structure of the story with jumping back and forth. But, as you're jumping back and forth figuring out who Rachael/Cookie is and was, you're getting glimpses to help figure that out; such as the death of a good friend and rape.
Interesting but a bit confusing given the structure of the novel. It is well written but I didn't especially like any of the characters, perhaps because it's short and I felt I didn't have time to warm up to them. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. You will like this if you are interested in Chicago in the 1970s.