Tuesday, February 16, 2016

What I'm Reading


by Caroline Kepnes

Bookstore clerk Joe Goldberg is in love, but the object of his passion, Guinevere Beck (Beck to her friends) has no idea how obsessed with her he really is …

Throughout the story, Joe refers to Beck as You, as if he’s speaking directly to her, though actual conversation between them happens infrequently at best.

Joe is smart, well-read and likable, but he's also a delusional psychopath with a superiority complex. The entire story takes place inside his head, and we get to see the inner workings of his obsession. Sometimes, his obsession doesn’t seem so crazy. Sometimes Joe seems like a sweet, deserving guy who only hungers desperately for that special someone in his life.

Beck is a sloppy, penniless, self-centered, grad student living alone in New York City. She has a sexual addiction and daddy issues. Joe knows all this because he follows her around, spies on her in her apartment from across the street, and steals things from her. He hacks into her email, follows her on social media, and keeps a box of her items in his apartment. Joe accepts and understands her, probably better than she understands herself.

Beck is charismatic, but also a terrible flirt, a tease, and quite an accomplished liar. She plays head games with everyone, including Joe. They have a relationship, and it seems to be the best times of their lives. For all intents and purposes Joe appears to have Beck's best interests at heart. According to him, he is the perfect guy for her.

But for Beck, being happily in love isn't possible—it's too stationary.

The conundrum of this story is, who will you empathize with? Joe or Beck?

Despite the shocking things Joe does to gain Beck's favor, I hoped the two of them would have their happily-dysfunctional-ever-after. (I pictured them a milder version of psycho soulmates Mickey and Mallory Knox of "Natural Born Killers") Knowing Joe's insanity and violent nature, wanting a happy ending seems to defy logic, and not to mention my own sanity, but Joe is so cleverly written, I never knew if there was a line he wouldn’t cross. Each time Beck flakes out on him, I felt for Joe. Unfortunately, he will do the unimaginable to keep her.

In one scene, Joe is annoyed at finding out Beck took one of his books without asking his permission. Oh the irony!

For me, this was an engaging, riveting read. If you don’t mind some dark, perverse dysfunction in your fiction, I highly recommend.

I can't wait to read the sequel, Hidden Bodies!

Find it on Amazon YOU