Before I began to read You by Caroline Kepnes, I had already had some exposure to what I could expect from the book. My online book club told me that I should creep myself out with the book, and that it was freaky and eye opening. I’m not usually a fan of scary books – horror and suspense usually are not on my bedstand unless you count Stephen King, which even then is a rarity – but because this fantastic group of people on the internet suggested the book when they had suggested so many fantastic ones previously, I decided to give it a go.
I have never read such terrifyingly deadpan descriptions of murder being committed before. What made this book creepy was not that murder and stalking took place, but the normalcy with which it was narrated. Everything was done with an air of “well, this is happening now and of course it is!” that sometimes I got halfway through a paragraph before I realized I was witnessing yet another crime. This life is normal for the main character, and the only real heightened emotion I witnessed in the book was the fear that he would be abandoned or cut off. The anxiety from not enough information was always buzzing, but fear of discovery of his actions was never really a concern.
What makes the book creepy in a larger sense is how easy it was for Joe to stalk Beck once he had her phone. He watched her emails, her Twitter, her texts, her pictures…everything was available there. Perhaps more unsettling was the fact that he could sit out on the street and watch her through her apartment window as people in her neighborhood walked by, unquestioning of his presence. I love how this book seems to call into question our declining sense of community and loss of self through social media and technology, and the dangers involved with this evolution of society. It made me examine how closely I hold my own information online, but then I remembered that no one would ever want to track me like that. Constant vigilance! as Mad Eye Moody would say (I’m also working my way back through the Harry Potter books. LOL.)
My only criticism of the book was that it ended the way I knew it would. The journey the plot and characters were on was far more interesting than the destination, and I almost wish I had stopped reading and left the conclusion up to my own imagination. It made me think of when I watched the first season of Dexter. I loved the premise and enjoyed watching him use his skills for good, and the ending was great, and then when I tried to start the second season, I realized that I couldn’t watch that same idea over and over. Oh, I’ve had friends tell me that certain seasons are AMAZING and I should keep watching, but for some reason my mind hooks onto patterns too quickly, and sees repetition as boring and intellectually lazy. My point? I knew the ending from the beginning, which made it extremely anticlimactic for me, BUT the book as a whole was enjoyable enough that it allowed me to forgive this one, small bore.
Go get it and read it. It’s definitely creepy.