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I Wish I Was Like You

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  105 ratings  ·  36 reviews
This Is Horror 2017 Novel of the Year

2017 Bram Stoker Award Nominee for Superior Achievement in a Novel

"First rule. Never open your story with a corpse. It's a cliché. If you do it to be ironic, I'll throw your manuscript in your face."

Greta didn't set out to solve a murder. But if the first thing you see when you come home after a long day at a lousy job is your own dead
Paperback, 252 pages
Published July 7th 2017 by JournalStone (first published 2017)
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3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  105 ratings  ·  36 reviews

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Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If you have not read any of S. P. Miskowski’s writing then “I Wish I Was Like You” is certainly a good book to begin your reading journey. Or if delving into a quality author’s back catalog is your cup of tea, S. P. Miskowski's debut novel, “Knock Knock”, and her first novella, “Delphine Dodd”, have been shortlisted for a Shirley Jackson Award and are other valid selections.

In the book “I Wish I Was Like You” we are given mystery, suspense, noir, and a ghost story containing dark humor a number
Carla Remy
Nov 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am not sure I've ever given new fiction five stars before, but this truly has mysterious depth and mystery to it, as well as being very entertaining. The fact that it takes place in the early 1990s resonates with me, as I was in high school at the time the book is set, so I remember it well (in the way, apparently, only kids can recall each month of each year - the older you get, time becomes a blur- for me at least, it might seem different if you have children). I would like to read this book ...more
May 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: ghosts, read-in-2018
3 stars--I liked the book.

What I liked:
* This is a love letter to 90s Seattle. I figured out I'm a year younger than the protagonist in this story, and moved to Seattle (from the suburbs) the same year the protagonist did. So it was really nostalgic for me to reminisce about having coffee at the B & O, mourn again the death of Mia Zapata, and recall the days of the free newspaper wars. The Seattle details are perfect.
* The narrator is really chilling. There's a dark, disturbing element to t
Tamara Romero
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The story can be read as a ghost memoir. A spirit goes painstakingly through a series of depressing milestones up to the moment of her death. Set in 90’s Seattle, the protagonist’s death -at the very beginning of the book- is even eclipsed by Kurt Cobain’s as she remembers her struggle in order to become a journalist and battles the trauma caused by a creative writing teacher from her past. The strength here is the stunning character development. The author took all the time to achieve this and ...more
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
This short novel - you could stay up all night and finish it - contains so much. A portrait of Seattle in the heyday of grunge, a trawl through the lives of the ordinary and broken, a meditation on ambition, failure, and gender, of community and friendship and their limits. A portrait of failing to come of age in those gloomy, millennial times in the early 90s. The closest I can compare it to is Caitlyn Kiernan's earlier novels, set among the young, hungry and hip, but without the flawed romanti ...more
Apr 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It would be hard to describe this novel as it takes lots of genres and ideas, throws them together and manages to make it work. The book was also much different to what I expected and that made it all the more captivating.

I’d read and enjoyed Miskowski’s Skillute Cycle books and expected something similar but this turned out to be very different. It isn’t horror; it’s a mix of humour, drama, mystery and an unusual ghost story, these all form a unique story that is written with precise skill and
Mike Thorn
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Like many really good novels, S.P. Miskowski’s I Wish I Was Like You can’t easily be summarized in one sentence. If someone were to ask me “what is it about?”, I imagine I could competently outline the plot: After Greta’s washed-up crime-writing instructor Lee Todd viciously criticizes her fiction submission, she moves to Seattle and pursues a short-lived journalism career, before she’s murdered in a manner that’s assumed to be a Cobain-copycat suicide. Obviously, there’s more to it than that, b ...more
Bill Hsu
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned, ebook
I know Greta is meant to be a long-winded, insufferable jerk. But I can only take about 100-odd pages of this, sorry.
Theresa Braun
Mar 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a very different and intriguing read. However, the writing execution is not for everyone. For example, the switches in point of view are disorienting/jarring, but that’s probably the point—and to give a broader picture of the setting. Somehow those pieces really help make this novel complete. Also, there are a few shout outs to the title throughout, but it doesn’t really come together until that last line. In fact, there are several elements of this book that might not hit you until you ...more
Ian Welke
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I Wish I Was Like You is a noir ghost story set in Seattle. It starts with an opening chapter that makes the list of my favorite book beginnings. (Up there with Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Neuromancer, The Secret History, and a special magic few.) It’s also the best novel I’ve read this year. In addition to the fierce energy the book carries itself with, there’s this brilliant grim humor. Miskowski’s usage of a device of beginning chapters with the narrator’s writing teacher’s warnings about ...more
Nov 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great story, these characters are a mess, honest hot messes. It's realistically creepy and familiar for us city folk. Even the ghosts are grounded. Read this book and meet Greta, she's a mood swing. Sometimes I really liked her and then I saw the Gen X view come through (I'm Gen X most likely you are too) and remembered how lost we are or we're convinced we are. There are others to meet in this book, read it, meet them, it's worth it.
Kevin Breaux
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Big fan of this author. Love the writing style. Great story telling. Excellent work.
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
HP Lovecraft once said, "I am Providence" And indeed, no writer has come along to usurp his ownership over the self imposed title.
If this is true, then S.P. Miskowski is Seattle.
Depending on who you read, I WISH I WAS LIKE YOU is either a horror story or a detective story. These labels will feel wrong. The book is neither and I'm convinced they were put upon by eager publishers who needed a way to describe the book to readers.
What it is, is a specific mood that could only have existed in Seattle
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thank you S. P. Miskowski for writing this book exactly when I needed it. With planning and packing and traveling 3000 miles and living without furniture for a month and finally unpacking … I have had a long and distressing case of reader’s block. Then with perfect timing, I Wish I Was Like You landed on my Kindle.

To be honest this is not a book I would normally choose. I tend toward Victorian era stories that never mention the chamber pots under the bed, so I was hesitant to read I Wish I Was
Suzanne Morrison
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I’ve been a fan of S.P. Miskowski’s work since her first collection of stories, Red Poppies, after which I devoured each installment of her Skillute Cycle. For years, she’s been faithfully turning out one gorgeously haunting story after another, but with I Wish I Was Like You, she’s accomplished something bigger, more ambitious, her most complex work yet. The characters in this story are so well-drawn, at turns weird and lovable, manipulative and repulsive; she approaches each one with a cool, q ...more
May 31, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a miserable book. That is not to say I didn't enjoy it (I did) but that it simply radiates misery. I can't imagine the process of writing it. The horror of the story lies not in any particularly scary moment or scene, but in the absolute, unrelenting depression of the story. If reading about an unstable ghost trying to solve her own murder while recounting her life story and pushing other living people to suicide sounds like your bag, I'd recommend this one. It's a good read -- and thank ...more
Yves Tourigny
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A poison-pen love letter to 1990s Seattle, Miskowski's black humour, precise observations, and well-drawn characters make this novel an absolute pleasure to read.
Ann  Theis
Jul 28, 2017 added it
Shelves: 2017-stars
David Bridges
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I Wish I Was Like you is a ghost story combined with a dark coming of age story set in Seattle around the time of Kurt Cobain’s suicide. I am a fan of the author and have read a fair amount of her previous work, mostly short, but also her incredible novel Knock Knock. I Wish I Was Like You clocks in at 250 pages and I was consumed the whole time. Miskowski is just as strong in long form as she is in shorter form.

I Wish I Was Like You felt different to me than some of Miskowski’s other work. The
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a terrific, beautiful, mean book. It's been a long time since I was so hooked by a narrator, and I suspect Greta will haunt my thoughts for a long time. Can't wait to dig into this author's other books.
Jun 24, 2017 marked it as to-read
PW Starred: Through the eyes of a dead woman, Shirley Jackson Award–finalist Miskowski (Muscadines) reveals a fraught and unhappy world; black humor underneath the grit keeps the reader enthralled. When 20-something Greta Garver landed in Seattle, she befriended a theater maven and bluffed her way into a job as a theater reviewer for an alternative newspaper. She is living in a small apartment in 1994 when she finds her own dead body and realizes she’s become a ghost. Greta’s restless spirit hau ...more
The Gehenna Post
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ever read a story or novel that just completely flips your entire perspective on storytelling? A piece that is so unorthodox and uncanny that it leaps from the page with a fluidity and style you hadn't thought possible? If you haven't, we suggest picking up a copy of S.P. Miskowski's I Wish I Was Like You. Not only is this deeply personal tale of the human condition entertaining and breathing with vivid characters and colorful, living descriptions, but it is also one of the most heartbreaking, s ...more
Philip Haagensen
Mar 10, 2019 rated it liked it
This one is difficult. Clearly, S.P. Miskowski is a talented writer. I could give this book two separate ratings, one for the story and one for execution and they would be different. But for me, there is not enough story here to go along with the very sturdy writing.

Greta is a ghost who is trying to find out whether or not she was murdered or if she offed herself in Curt Cobain copycat style. Set in Seattle in the 90’s, Greta is a wannabe writer trying to prove people wrong when it comes to her
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Even 23 years later, I remember 1994 and Kurt Cobain's death. I experienced that moment as a kind of inside out personal crisis. I felt ashamed by his death. As though his exit in someway indicted my own teenage miseries. "I wish I was like you," goes the verse in 'All Apologies,' "Easily amused." I felt as though a check I hadn't remembered writing had just been cashed.

SP Miskowski's book, named after the first half of that line, is in the words of another reviewer, a novel that shouldn't work
Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have a strange love affair with Seattle. I grew up north of Seattle throughout the 80s and early 90s. I was too young to attend the punk and grunge scenes that emerged in the late 80s and too old to understand what Seattle was becoming in the early 2000s. I am a person in which I missed a generational shift, feeling lost in the middle.

This book speaks to a lot of what I saw in the background, a dirtier Seattle than what we see now in light of Amazon's takeover of the city. This isn't a pretty
Sneha Gavli
Aug 18, 2017 rated it liked it
The name and cover of the book lured me to read this one. I have not read any of the books by S.P. Miskowski so had no idea or her style of writing. The starting of the is gloomy and very unappealing.

I was a lost child trying to understand what author was trying tell me and about whom. At one point I was about to abandon it But goodread's ratings made me go on. As you go in the story it is easy to understand the main character 'Greta'.

It was rather the comparison of our life with that of Greta
Nov 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror-read
More of a melancholic ghost story than a horror novel, but that’s ok because the writing was superb. Plot/pacing wise it was a little slow in parts, which is why it’s not a higher rating, but I enjoyed most of it. I think if it had been any longer it would have drug in too much. I loved the Seattle setting in the 90’s - lots of pop culture references from Kurt Cobain to Mia Zapata, all dressed up in Doc Martens. My favorite parts of the story were the little interludes (this was more the horror ...more
David Thirteen
I struggled a little with I Wish I Was you, mainly because I spent a good portion of the book trying to like the main character. As the story opens, Greta seems easy to identify with: an every-woman, struggling writer, with some bad breaks. But as it goes on her apathy and scorn for others gets hard to take. That is, until I realized that S.P. Miskowski didn’t intend for her to be particularly likable. Once that clicked into place my enjoyment of the book rose. Part meta-murder mystery (a crime ...more
Ann Schwader
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
This is either a very literary ghost story or an intermittently haunted literary novel, though for me it worked best when the supernatural element was present. Either way, it's a remarkably strange and well-crafted read for those looking to expand their horizons past the normal range of horror.

I did find that the pace slackened a bit in the middle of the book, and that the supernatural nature of the plot wasn't explained until later in the novel than this reader would have liked. (Of course, Thi
Jeff Raymond
This is a highly, highly regarded horror novel about a woman effectively trying to solve her own murder. Acclaimed author, great reviews, the whole bit.

For me, I have no idea why.

This book just failed to connect with me. I don’t know what it was trying to accomplish or what was supposed to be weird or creepy about it, but the book didn’t work at all. Other readers clearly disagree, but if you’re looking for scary or creepy you may want to look elsewhere.
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S.P. Miskowski is a recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships. Her stories have been published in Supernatural Tales, Black Static, Identity Theory, Strange Aeons and Eyedolon Magazine, and in numerous anthologies including Haunted Nights, The Madness of Dr. Caligari, October Dreams 2, Autumn Cthulhu, The Hyde Hotel, Darker Companions: Celebrating 50 Years of Ramsey Campbell, Ta ...more
“Artists are nothing but expert time killers, filling up the hours by entertaining themselves. But the ones who think they're changing the universe are truly delusional. Writers who believe communication makes a difference are the most delusional of all. Every day people find better, faster ways to communicate and guess what? The same percentage of humanity remains ignorant and hateful. We still torture and murder for profit. We still rape and steal, and we step gingerly over people who are starving to death so we won't get any of their shit on our shoes on our way to the espresso stand.” 2 likes
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