Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Watching You Without Me” as Want to Read:
Watching You Without Me
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Watching You Without Me

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  197 ratings  ·  39 reviews
After her mother’s sudden death, Karen finds herself back in her childhood home in Nova Scotia for the first time in a decade, acting as full-time caregiver to Kelli, her older sister. Overwhelmed with grief and the daily needs of Kelli, who was born with a developmental disability, Karen begins to feel consumed by the isolation of her new role. On top of that, she’s ...more
Paperback, 376 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by House of Anansi Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Watching You Without Me, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Katherine Pederson I didn't get it either. But the overall feeling I have from the book is so good I don't want to dwell on it.…moreI didn't get it either. But the overall feeling I have from the book is so good I don't want to dwell on it. (less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
Rating details
 ·  197 ratings  ·  39 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Watching You Without Me
Oct 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
For lack of a daughter, then – a proper daughter, a daughter who called more than once every couple of months, a daughter who visited more than once a year, a daughter willing to shoulder her way past the slammed-shut door of “Fine” every time she asked her mother, “How are things?”– Irene had managed to recruit herself a son.

Watching You Without Me is a psychologically astute family drama, and I'd almost go so far as to call it a domestic noir/thriller except that it never goes over the top
Penny (Literary Hoarders)
It was good. It was. But I need to frame this more so that it is seen in the context for how/why it was read at this time. My in-person book club chose/voted for another suspense/thriller novel. I cannot get behind reading anymore from this genre. I'm full up and okay, if I'm cranky about it - I'm fed up. Our book club needs to get out of this rut. The book was enjoyable yes, but it was also too similar to the already too many books we've been reading from this genre. We need to turn that ...more
Ramona Jennex
Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
The protagonist, Karen Petrie, tells the story of what happened on her return to Nova Scotia from Toronto when her mother passes and she is entrusted with the responsibility of her older sister (who needs constant care due to her developmental disability.) Her thoughts on her telling of her story:
“I know that it's perverse, the pleasure I get from this whole process. That’s why I’ve told this story as many times as I have to so many different people. It’s one of those pleasurable it not quite
Nicole Myers
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Superb writing. F**king Trebbie.
May 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Still catching my breath and sorting my thoughts as I recover from this suspenseful psychological study of familial love and guilt ... My admiration for Lynn Coady's craft has reached new heights.
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
A rare five star review from me. I loved the plot of this novel, and the way it was written. Karen, who narrates in the first person, moves back to Nova Scotia after her mother has passed away from cancer. She is left to care for her sister Kelli, who is developmentally disabled. One of Kelli's caregivers, Trevor, has a strange relationship with the family. The book is both domestic and sinister, at the same time. There is a hint of domestic noire, but it's also a book about caregiving, about ...more
Alan Teder
Slow-burn Caregiver Stalking Tale
Review of the House of Anansi Press paperback edition (2019)

In the past several years I've had a fairly intense grounding in the home care and the long-term care home environment with various elderly relatives. That experience introduces you to a whirlwind of personalities each of whom have their personal traits, quirks and foibles. The motherly warm-hearted bedside manner is the ideal and at the other extreme may be the insistent demanding cloying
Donna Wellard
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Her mother dies and Karen has come home to Nova Scotia to settle her mother’s affairs and take care of her developmentally delayed sister, Kelli. Enter Trevor, a caregiver who has helped Karen’s family in the past and Jessica, a childhood school friend who reappears in her life. I have experienced the dealings of a master manipulator in my own life, so all of my being hoped that Karen would realise what was going on before she got in too deep. Some people just don’t recognize or accept ...more
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Tension from the get-go!
Deborah Bee
Oct 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019-challenge
Good read if you are a caregiver, but the mystery’s creepy side of the book is just too strained. There is a lot of joy in caring, funny situations when communication is strained and The book has heartwarming moments.
Lori Bosworth
Sep 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow! I loved this book and couldn't put it down. It caught my attention from the first few pages, which isn't always the case. Lynn Coady puts on a master class about how to gradually increase the tension toward the "crisis" so that we become addicted to and invested in the characters' wellbeing. The three main characters, Karen, Trevor and Kelli, were very well drawn - I can understand Karen's ambivalence as a result of the grief/guilt she is experiencing due to her mother's death - while the ...more
Corinne Wasilewski
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
After reading this novel, I can happily say that Lynn Coady is back! This is worth noting because I opened Watching You Without Me with some trepidation. Coady is one of my favourite authors, however, Hellgoing was a disappointment. Was it possible Coady had run out of meaningful stories to tell?

I suppose my affinity for Coady’s work relates to the familiarity of the maritime setting, the authenticity of the dialogue, her ability to really root out what drives her characters, and the ever
Oct 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a little different than I remember Lynn Coady's books to be, but I really enjoyed it.

The characterization was wonderful, and I love books that are set in Halifax/Dartmouth.
Laurie Burns
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian
couldn't put it down.
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
I always look forward to reading a new Lynn Coady book - sometimes she delights me, sometimes she makes me mad, sometimes she confuses me. Watching You Without Me was a quick read that engaged me totally since I've been in a very similar situation with an over-zealous personal support worker (view spoiler) Coady is a down-to-earth writer who doesn't resort to flowery ...more
Jan 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Following her mother’s death, 40-something Karen returns to Nova Scotia to care for her developmentally disabled sister Kelli and take charge of the family home. In Toronto, where she’s lived and worked for years, Karen has recently gone through a painful and messy divorce: these wounds are still fresh. Karen is a lone soul: her father is long dead and there are no other siblings. She seems to have few friends and no other relatives. About twenty years earlier, when she asserted her independence ...more
Dec 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
An unsympathetic narrator doesn't doom this novel. I thought it would early on. "Why do I care about this person?" Karen, a divorced and childless career woman returns home from Toronto to pick up the pieces after her mother dies. She has a house, her mentally-challenged older sister Kelli, and a curiously involved "caregiver" paying frequent visits. Coady builds up slowly in this slice-of-life story that gets darker as it goes along. Some of the foreshadowing is like a kitchen pot to the head ...more
Katherine Pederson
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book much more than I thought I would when I first started reading it. I hadn't read the back cover, so had no idea what the book was about. I love that it is set in Canada. Although the subject matter is dark, the author has a pitch perfect tone. I couldn't put it down! The only thing I wonder about is Karen's severe reaction to shellfish mentioned on page 161, but near the end of the book Karen had (previously) purchased a bag of shrimp and found them to be delicious and ...more
Michelle Noble
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was my first by Lynn Coady and it's a good one! I find a lot of thrillers kind of disappointing....too predictable. This one offered so much depth and insight into the characters, particularly the protagonist, Karen. Her personal struggles and family relationships felt incredibly real. And Trevor was written so well that I felt my skin crawl every time he opened his mouth. This novel offers a fresh approach to the genre and I absolutely recommend it!
Enid Wray
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I am a sucker for a good domestic psychological thriller. Layer in the underlying tension between mothers and daughters and, well, you’ve really caught my attention. The characters - even the ones you don’t like! - come alive on the page… authentic, relatable. The tension in the narrative is palpable and even though you know who the ‘villain’ is - even in advance of the protagonist figuring it out for herself - every time you think you’ve figured out exactly what is going on there’s a twist.
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
There is so much I enjoyed about this story. I haven’t read any other fiction where the rewards and burdens of caregiving are described so realistically, both for staff and family members. This is a psychological suspense plot.I appreciated the subtlety in avoiding explicit violence which is overdone in this genre and going instead for less obvious emotional manipulation and subterfuge. Coady is in full control of the story and I was rooting all the way for her flawed but likeable heroine.
Lisa Parker
Nov 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really found this book a compelling read. I enjoyed Lynn Coady's writing style as well. Found the storyline took me places I didn't expect and hit home on several levels. Kept picturing the main characters as much younger than myself for some reason and yet belatedly realized we were the same generation. Creepy but a very good read.
Jan 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2019, fiction
This one took a long time for me to get into but the reviews were so glowing that I stuck with it (that, and my inability to NOT finish a book, even if I enjoy it 0%) and by the end I was on board. It might have even been the ending that make me bring it up from a 2 star to a 3.5. It's certainly well-written and I liked the Canadian appeal, but the plot really dragged along for me.
A big life change forces a sister to step in as a caregiver to her older sister. She must cope with her feelings about her mother, her sister and the other caregivers who begin to inhabit and control her life.
Dorothy Mahoney
Oct 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A haunting story of how isolating care-giving can become as Karen returns home to make decisions about her dependent sister after their mother's sudden death from cancer. A page-turner with dropped hints that build up to a dish-smashing conclusion as she asks the neighbor to get his shotgun.
Dec 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
A page-turner. Cleverly written, involving grief, guilt, and learning who to trust. The reader, while impatient with the blindness of the protagonist, is drawn into the reasons for her gullibility. Grief makes her want or need to trust someone, and he happens to be right there for her...
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
That was a pretty insightful book, and I give it five stars because I would definitely read it again. I am a caregiver myself and so much of the situations were right on, applied very much to what I am going through.
Rhea Tregebov
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love everything this woman writes. Starts off with some interesting suspense, but that's not the point, the point is the psychological depth of her characterization and the profound insight into human motivation and fallibility. Great book.
Christie Menzo
Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Super engaging read - couldn't put it down.

The characters are raw and real; the relationships believable. I especially love how Coady can write a thriller, edge of your seat narrative, but maintain a plot and dialogue that is familiar and real.
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an excellent book. Parts of it made me so angry at both Karen and Trevor (for very different reasons) but I could not put it down. I love the way the book was written and I could hear the Nova Scotia accents in my head while I was reading it. Would definitely recommend!
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Innocents
  • Reproduction
  • Empire of Wild
  • Dual Citizens
  • Five Wives
  • Immigrant City
  • Daughter of Family G: A Memoir of Cancer Genes, Love and Fate
  • Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club
  • Greenwood
  • This Little Light
  • Every Little Piece of Me
  • Watermark
  • Akin
  • Lampedusa
  • Dream Sequence
  • Frying Plantain
  • Crow Winter
  • Autopsie d'une femme plate
See similar books…
Lynn Coady is an award-winning author, editor, and journalist. Her previous novels include Saints of Big Harbour, which was a national bestseller and a Globe and Mail Top 100 book, and Mean Boy, a Globe and Mail Top 100 book. Her popular advice column, Group Therapy, runs weekly in the Globe and Mail. Coady is originally from Cape Breton Island, NS, and is now living in Edmonton, Alberta.
“There is something about knowing you are not safe in sleep that gives a person bad dreams. The expectation of being woken every night — that feeling of insecurity and dread I remember carrying around with me as my marriage was drawing to a close, like a rotting smell I couldn’t find the source of, shit I didn’t know I stepped in. The subconscious starts sending messages: Be vigilant. Don’t relax. Here’s a boogeyman or two to keep your nerves on edge.” 0 likes
More quotes…