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Looker: A Novel

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3.11  ·  Rating details ·  2,544 ratings  ·  655 reviews
A dazzling, razor-sharp debut novel about a woman whose obsession with the beautiful actress on her block drives her to the edge.

I’ve never crossed their little fenced-in garden, of course. I stand on the sidewalk in front of the fern-and-ivy-filled planter that hangs from the fence—placed there as a sort of screen, I’m sure—and have a direct line of view into the kitchen
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Kindle Edition, 192 pages
Published January 8th 2019 by Scribner
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Judy Only depression was over the time I wasted reading this book.

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3.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,544 ratings  ·  655 reviews


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Michelle
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss-arc-s
This book is being marketed all wrong by saying that this is a mystery or thriller. It is neither one of those and if that is what you're expecting then you will be disappointed. This is a character study of a woman that is slowly losing her grip on reality.

Our unnamed narrator has recently separated from her husband after several years and attempts at having children. They endured rounds and rounds of IVF that nearly depleted their savings. While she yearns for the children she will never have
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Felicia
Dec 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is yet another book that will suffer in the ratings for no other reason than it doesn't fit into any genre.

There really needs to be a category for deep, dark psychological studies devoted to primarily one character. If a reader chose this book based on that description and because they enjoy those types of stories, then this book would easily have a 4+ average rating. Instead it has been billed as a psychological domestic thriller leaving fans of thrillers disappointed.

I, however, love the
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Larry H
3.5 stars.

"I'm grateful they've never thought to install blinds. That's how confident they are. No one would dare stand in front of our house and watch us, they think. And they're probably right, except for me.

Laura Sims' Looker is a story about obsession, about how easy it can be to transfix on something when everything else isn't going your way. The unnamed narrator has had a tough time lately—her marriage has ended, partially because of her fertility problems, and her job as a lecturer at a
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karen
Oct 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: girls-gone-wild
i know this book feels scorned, borrowed from work ONLY to fill the one-day reading gap before Black Leopard, Red Wolf came out. i keep telling it i was going to read it anyway, although between you and me, i was most likely going to wait for paperback because 25 dollars for a book with fewer than 200 pages that’s not photos of kittens? that's bonkers.

there’s no need for this book to pout, though, because not only did it serve the exact purpose i needed it to - being my short reading bridge bet
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Gabby
What the fuck did I just read?
This book is marketed as a main character becoming obsessed with the actress who lives on her street, but after reading it - that’s not really what this book is about. I’m actually left wondering what the point of this novel is exactly?? It’s an incredibly boring story that doesn’t ever really go anywhere? By the end I was confused... like how was that the end? That is what the story was building towards? What a let down.

I don’t know what it is with these thrillers
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Carrie
Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley
Looker by Laura Sims is a thriller that is narrated by an unknown woman with stalkerish tendencies. The book is written in the style of YOU by Caroline Kepnes in which the reader is getting the story through the thoughts and interactions of the main character but it didn’t take long to distinguish itself from reminding me of that book.

The main character in Looker is a female going through divorce from her husband and becomes obsessed with a neighbor who is a famous actress. As our character spie
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Brenda - Traveling Sister
At only 180 pages Looker by Laura Sims packs quite the punch and has the elements here to make this a pleasing dark and unsettling story. It has those intriguing unsettling elements of jealousy, obsession and resentment.

Laura Sims takes us into the mind of our unnamed narrator as we watch her obsessions with a neighbor start to push her over the edge. Laura Sims does a good job balancing the dark thoughts with some wit and humour, allowing me to feel some sympathy here for our main character.

La
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Matt
I tend to gravitate towards books that are polarizing. When I was skimming through reviews of Looker, I saw a lot of 1-2 star reviews coupled with phrases like “not what I expected” or “I don’t get what I just read”. Whenever I see books with reviews like that I feel even more compelled to read them. At 180 pages, it was an easy decision to pick up “Looker”.

Obsession is becoming an extremely popular topic to write about. With books like “You” by Caroline Kepnes becoming a mainstream success wit
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Darinda
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A woman is obsessed with a neighbor. The obsessed woman's life is slowly unraveling, and the neighbor is a beautiful actress who appears to have the perfect life.

This novel is narrated by an unnamed woman who is going through a divorce, infertility, and a failing career. While struggling with various areas of her life, she becomes entranced with her neighbor's perfect life. As the narrator's life continues to unravel, she becomes more and more obsessed with her neighbor.

A dark tale of one woman'
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Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ Campbell

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LOOKER has a somewhat misleading summary on Goodreads which I think accounts for some of the negative reviews. The summary makes you think it is going to be like Caroline Kepnes's YOU or Gillian Flynn's GONE GIRL, but this is not the case. In situations like these, I want to take the publishers aside and tell them, "Look, even if blurbs like these sell copies, they aren't going to get you good reviews, because if there's one thing that pret
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Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

I added this to the TBR after seeing some high ratings from friends. When my turn finally came around at the library and I went to Looker’s Goodreads’ page in order to mark my “Currently Reading” status, I was shocked to see this has a really low rating (for GR, I mean). Good thing I don’t pay attention to what strangers have to say. Also a good thing I don’t read reviews before reading books either because after taking a quick gander
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Elyse Walters
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
SIGHT SPOILERS...
but important to know ahead of time....

“Looker” was an interesting page turning short psychological study of a complex unnamed main character.
Not particularly ‘dark-Dark’ as in horror - until closer to the end.
The ending itself might be reason enough toss this book out the window for readers with a strong sensitivity for any animal harm in their reading.
Personally - if an animal dies in a book by accident
- or natural causes - I don’t have a stand against reading about it an
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Jasmine from How Useful It Is
I started reading Looker on 12/5/2018 and finished it on 1/24/2019. (Please ignore the date in this case because it has nothing to do with the book being good or bad. I experience the worst reading slump ever.) This book is a great read, though more on the depressing side. I enjoy reading the IVF process. I like the realistic feelings of a woman wanting to have a baby but couldn’t. It’s interesting to follow a scorned woman feeling like she has nothing to live for and unworthy of love and lookin ...more
Blair
Reading early reviews of Looker, I can already see it's suffering from what I think of as the Eileen problem. Like Ottessa Moshfegh's debut, this novel is being marketed as one thing (a psychological thriller) when it is actually something subtly but significantly different (a character study). Viewed as a thriller, it is not particularly satisfying. Read as a character study, however, it opens up into a brilliant portrait of a difficult and complex protagonist, layered with darkness and obses ...more
Jonetta
The focus of this story is an unnamed woman who is a married college professor teaching poetry and attempting to get pregnant. When her exhaustive attempts to have a child are unsuccessful, we watch her descent into something akin to madness as her life fails to live up to the vision she had for herself. When a renowned actress moves into her neighborhood, she begins to fixate on her as the ideal for her own life.

The main character and the actress were never named in this story and there is sym
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Elizabeth
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of-2019
Pre-review note: Looker is, for reasons I can't fathom, being billed as thriller/pseudo-thriller. It is not that, but it is a harrowing and haunting look at one woman's unraveling, and for those interested and willing to travel to a very dark place, this beautifully written novel is absolutely worth checking out.

Ok, review:

I loved Looker. Loved it, even as its brutal rawness left me reeling. It is unflinching and unafraid in its depiction of how its unnamed narrator, newly separated and living
...more
Dennis
In NYC, this unnamed narrator is living alone with her ex-husband's cat, miserable and desperate for revitalizing her life after her countless pregnancy failures and dissolution of her marriage. Working as a literature professor, the narrator takes us on a stroll through her life, reminiscing about her marriage, and mentally sexualizing a student in one of her classes. As the story in Looker moves forward, she also begins to obsess with her famous actress neighbor of hers in full detail. Is sh ...more
Shannon
Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to Scribner Books for gifting me a copy of Looker by Laura Sims. I’ve seen a ton of mixed reviews for this one and I can see why. Normally, I don’t want to know ANYTHING before I start a book but with this one I’m glad I had some information on it before i started it.

I wouldn’t consider Looker to be a mystery or a psychological thriller. Character study maybe? Our main character is unnamed and her thoughts are wild. Pretty sure I actually laughed out loud a few times at her ridiculous th
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Kelli
Mar 01, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A super speedy race through the mind of an unreliable narrator, who is rapidly unraveling. This story is more like Loner than YOU, though both of those books had something that this book doesn’t.* Creepy, entertaining, but no more than 3.5 stars.

*I figured out while talking with my book bestie that those other two books do have something this one doesn’t...a romantic interest. I’m thinking the fact that I grouped them all together without realizing that is actually an endorsement of how well d
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Kimberly Dawn
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Looker is a fascinating character study of a woman’s gradual descent into madness as her tortured mind slowly unravels. The audiobook is a total guilty pleasure and held my attention throughout. With fascination we witness the downward spiral of madness as a troubled, resentful woman becomes increasingly unhinged. As her obsession with the actress neighbor grows, likewise the voyeur’s jealousy, rage and resentment grow. Loss upon loss is suffered; the various aspects which make up a life are los ...more
Jess | thegreeneyedreader
3/5 stars - While this book was certainly suspenseful I don’t really consider it a thriller as much as an intriguing character study of an educated woman losing her mind. The main character/narrator spirals out of control, eventually losing her job and making one bad decision after another.

The narrator’s husband leaves her after they battled with infertility for years and she focuses her energy on another obsession, the actress that lives next door. It’s not entirely clear to me how the two wome
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Paul
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I do love me a first person, present tense, slow descent into madness. Or more madness. Meticulous and oddly funny, sharply observed, and disturbing as hell.
Liz Barnsley
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Looker is a haunting, considered psychological drama that slowly peels away the layers of one engaging, vivid and intriguingly believable character.
Our Professor narrates the tale as her deep and abiding obsession with The Actress seeps into every corner of her life. Neither character is given a name, one watches, one is watched, all through a glass darkly with the increasingly skewed vision The Professor presents.
There is a creeping sense of menace, a depth to the prose that gets under your ski
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Scott S.
Apr 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"She's come undone, she found a mountain that was far too high
and when she found that she couldn't fly - it was too late"
-- '(She's Come) Undun' by The Guess Who (1969)

I remember several years ago my wife saying - with a smile - that she couldn't wait to go see Black Swan (Darren Aronofsky's film, starring Natalie Portman in her Oscar-winning role) because she wanted to be "psychologically thrilled." That film did deliver on the goods, and so does Looker.

Laura Sims' debut novel centers on a mid
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Megan Johnson
Oof, this one was rough. Can't say I particularly enjoyed it as it all seemed a bit...pointless? It wasn't badly written or hard to follow, but I can't quite pinpoint what I should have gotten out of it. But at just under 200 pages at least I didn't waste a lot of time with it.
Linda Strong

A woman is falling apart. Her husband has left her ... and left his cat with her. That's all she has because she has no children. After years of needles and tests and the loss of lots of money, she finally gave up. She teaches part-time at a college. But she is one extremely unhappy woman who is walking on the edge.

From her view in her house she can see into the neighbor's kitchen at night. Living there is an actress, her screenwriter husband, and their three kids. They are living the life she s
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Tooter
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whoa, that was one crazy read. Thanks for the compelling review Felicia!
Elizabeth
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pre-review note: Looker is, for reasons I can't fathom, being billed as thriller/pseudo-thriller. It is not that, but it is a harrowing and haunting look at one woman's unraveling, and for those interested and willing to travel to a very dark place, this beautifully written novel is absolutely worth checking out.

Ok, review:

I loved Looker. Loved it, even as its brutal rawness left me reeling. It is unflinching and unafraid in its depiction of how its unnamed narrator, newly separated and living
...more
JuJu (Julie)
One sentence summary
Laura Sims has a unique and interesting writing style.

My thoughts
I felt this book deserved more than 3⭐’s, but less than 4. The story held my interest, but I was anticipating more suspense. I’ll admit sometimes it takes some twisted thrills to keep me flipping pages! Although I enjoyed the book, I would have devoured it in one sitting with more suspense/thrills.

Likes
I was hooked by the cover...FABULOUS...and pulled in by the description. This was a debut, so I’d like to see w
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Emily
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
"It's disappointing only because she belongs to us."

While I absolutely love the idea of Looker, I was not a huge fan of the execution. Even though I sometimes get burned out on them, I can always be sucked in with a good stalker novel synopsis. I feel like this book is being incorrectly marketed as a thriller, and it's really more of a character study.

There were not any "thrilling" or suspenseful scenes in this book at all. That's totally fine, but it's just setting Looker up for failure when t
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Play Book Tag: Looker: A Novel - Laura Sims - 4 Stars 4 21 Jan 29, 2019 04:56AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Please correct page count 2 16 Jan 13, 2019 12:26PM  
YA Buddy Readers'...: Looker by Laura Sims - Starting October 24, 2018 6 8 Oct 25, 2018 02:04AM  
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Laura Sims is the author of LOOKER, a debut novel (Scribner, 2019). She has also published four books of poetry, including Staying Alive, and is the editor of Fare Forward: Letters from David Markson. She lives outside of New York City with her family.
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