Snotchocheez's Reviews > You

You by Caroline Kepnes
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's review
Oct 31, 2014

it was amazing

(and to think I almost passed this one by without giving it a second glance...thanks to the jacket descriptor Romantic Thriller {whatever the hell that is}. It conjured images of an insufferable Fifty Shades of Grey knock-off. Thanks but no thanks. And yet, an indefinable something piqued my interest enough to look this up in see several DNFs and 1-star reviews complaining about this not being romantic, and thought, Oh, what the hell...lets see what's getting these GR Romance Gals up-in-arms...and...whoa...)

Yeah, Caroline Kepnes' debut (!) novel You isn't remotely romantic. (Unless you find the near-maniacal obsessions of a burgeoning psychopath "romantic"). You is but a few degrees of separation away from American Psycho, yet (unlike BE Ellis' banal tribute to consumerism-gone-off-the-deep-end) there's an irresistible beating heart of depravity here that's equal turns totally relatable and totally sick: the very essence of what I'd deem a "thriller". (A book that keeps you looking over your shoulder for unseen nemeses; a book that, after reading, has put you through the wringer, leaving you utterly shaken and in desperate need of a tomato juice soak.)

We're invited into the mind of Joe Goldberg, rare-and-used East Village NYC bookstore manager, the very minute Guinevere Beck, aspiring writer and MFA candidate, strolls into the store, perusing the F--K Fiction section (a glaring double entendre if there was one) and setting Joe's warped gears in motion. For 420+ pages we plumb the depths of Joe's monomaniacal obsession, in a first-person diary-like delivery addressed to Guinevere (or 'Beck'; the titular You).

I really can't imagine how Ms. Kepnes pulled this off. She utterly inhabits Joe's mindset, so convincingly that I had to keep referring to the cover to remind myself that a (presumably, sane) woman could lead us down Joe's depraved path. I was worried that she'd be unable to sustain credibility through this (rather lengthy) one-note tour, but my fears were unfounded. She had me riveted from beginning to end. (The novel's denouement does stray perilously close to campiness, but not enough to erase the all-encompassing creepiness of its preceding pages).

With dozens of references to pop culture (music, film, TV, books {both those celebrated by the literary cognoscenti, and reviled by same} and today's tech world (Facebook and Twitter are, natch, fodder to fuel Joe's obsession) this book might not age well. But for today, anyway, Ms. Kepnes has succeeded where so many authors (including the novel's oft-cited thriller juggernaut, Stephen King) have failed: she scared the crap out of me.

Highly Recommended for all but the easily squeamish (or those looking for a "Romantic Thriller"). Just keep a tomato juice bath at the ready...

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Reading Progress

October 31, 2014 – Started Reading
October 31, 2014 – Shelved
November 1, 2014 –
page 126
29.86% "Tentatively loving this, but wondering how long she can keep this freak's flag flying without the story falling apart...we'll see."
November 1, 2014 –
page 172
40.76% "This guy is one sick bastard. Yet, i can't bring myself to hate someone that compares himself to Frank TJ Mackey (Tom Cruise's "Respect the Cock" Oscar-nominated role) from "Magnolia" or Michael Caine's character in "Hannah and Her Sisters": two of my fave all-time movies."
November 2, 2014 –
page 340
80.57% "Sorry, y'all, for that ridiculous update. (Yes, indeed, Ms. Hale's doorstep gift to her reviewer was Anna Quindlen's book.) I'm getting stupid in my advancing age. This book though is really giving me Hale heebie-jeebies."
November 4, 2014 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-14 of 14) (14 new)

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Kelly (and the Book Boar) I seriously NEEEEEEED to read this one.

And also??? "Unless you find the near-maniacal obsessions of a burgeoning psychopath "romantic". That's NOT the definition of a romance novel? I've been doing it wrong ; )

message 2: by Snotchocheez (last edited Nov 04, 2014 09:47AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Snotchocheez ¡jajajajaja! How soon I forget your NP Harris "fling". My bad. (And, yeah You is completely "up your alley" (no matter how grammatically incorrect--or utterly weird--that sounded)). I'm totally shocked how much this wigged me out.

Kelly (and the Book Boar) I forgot to say great review. This book was not on my radar until I read it. How quickly I become all about mememememememememe : (

message 4: by Mona (new) - added it

Mona Great review, Snotchocheez. I just upgraded this from "maybe-will-read" to "to-read" based on what you said.

Snotchocheez Aw, thanks, Kelly! (though you needn't worry about your 'me-centrism'; social media in general is all about the "me", and Goodreads is no less guilty of fostering it. Your brand, though, is probably why your reviews are so damn funny (and great!)) And thanks, Mona! I (cautiously) think you might like this, provided you're okay with the relentless creepy behavior of the protagonist.

Elyse Wow! You sold me Mr. Cheezie!!! :) (Robbie). FANTASTIC REVIEW!

It may need to wait awhile --I've several Netgalley books to read first. (book club books --etc.)
but soon...I'll move it up several notches! Thanks!!

You rock --and your review rocks!

Snotchocheez Well thank you so much for the kind words, Elyse! Even with Larry's solid (and positive) assessment, I wasn't completely sold on the idea of this book. It came as a total shock that I was pretty much completely blown away by it. Given your affinity for novels with odious protagonists (if your 5-star review of Koch's Summer House With Swimming Pool is any indicator...ick), you will probably enjoy what Ms. Kepnes has done here. While (imho) Koch's Mark Schlosser has no redeeming qualities whatsoever, Kepnes' Joe is probably even creepier, but is portrayed as just human enough to make his depravity almost sympathetic. I thought it was pretty great...and hope you'll agree.

Elyse Terrific! I look forward to reading it. It's also exciting to read about my respected-reader- friends great enthusiasm for a book. So... Thanks again!

Oh, and I never saw Larry's review. I'll check his out too.

Elyse Oops, yes... NOW I remember!!!! I 'did' read Larry's review just last week!

message 10: by Sara (new)

Sara I think I'll put this on my to-read list.

message 11: by Deanna (new) - added it

Deanna I must read this one soon! Excellent review :)

Snotchocheez Yeah, Deanna, provided you have a high tolerance for creepy protagonists, this is really fun!

message 13: by Deanna (new) - added it

Deanna Snotchocheez wrote: "Yeah, Deanna, provided you have a high tolerance for creepy protagonists, this is really fun!"

lol...gotta love a good creepy protagonist :) So many people have enjoyed it. Don't know why I'm so late to the party...

Snotchocheez Yeah, it was a late-starting party, no thanks to PR people calling this a romantic thriller. This was about as romantic as American Psycho, and anyone looking for romance in a book like this probably needs her/his head examined. I sure never would've read this myself were I had to subject myself to a "romantic thriller". Interestingly, the book I just finished, Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes, has a wee bit of a psycho feel to it like this did, but I liked this a bit more (even though it wasn't as plausible, and the ending's a wee bit corny...though I have that same plausibility plaint with all three of Gillian Flynn's offerings, yet still liked them all.) By all means, join the party, Deanna: you won't soon forget it.

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