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Abandoned by Booklikes

Government drone by day and book lover and geek girl by night!

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The Story of You

You: A Novel - Caroline Kepnes

"You" follows Joe Goldberg as he tells his love interest and eventual girlfriend (Guinevere Beck known as Beck) all about why he fell in love with her and how he has been doing his best to keep her safe from what Joe sees as negative outside influences. I found this to be a seriously creepy, and at times weirdly funny (in a dark way) book. I think that if  Caroline Kepnes had tried to tell this story via another medium (third person) it would not have worked so well. The ending was shocking in a good way. I also enjoyed seeing how parts of the book and recent television matched and where they differed. 

 

Joe meets Beck at the bookstore that he manages. He is instantly taken with her and realizes they have what he considers a "meet cute". And based on nothing, Joe has decided that Beck wants to know him, be with him, and he's going to do everything he can to make sure that they end up together. 

 

What can I say about Joe? He's delusional as all get out. Seriously. What is sad while reading this is him justifying what he's doing based on romantic movies that he has seen. And then I hard cringed because Joe via Kepnes is right about the messed up things that happen in romantic movies that we as women/men end up saying how romantic that is and not what a stalker the person in. In Joe's mind, how terrible is he for watching Beck through the big windows of her apartment while she masturbates when people loved it when Matthew McConaughey romanced Kate Hudson in order to get a job (How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days).

 

I didn't like Joe, but I don't think Kepnes wrote him as someone you don't want to like. His justification for everything he's doing (stalking, murder, etc.) is that he loves Beck the best and therefore knows what is best for her as he tells her this throughout the book. Joe seems highly intelligent, but not socially intelligent, because Beck gave signals throughout this book how not into Joe she was and he is seen by Beck as the really nice guy that you go out with for a while, but not in a long-term serious thing.

 

Beck is a mess. Kepnes says a lot about how social media has ruled a lot of people's lives via Beck. Beck is on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. She tweets it seems every five minutes and as Joe is quick to point out, she puts stuff out there to make it seem like she is living the best life ever, but not really. And we know that Beck seems to want to be seen by everyone and can't help sharing her stuff publicly. We found out as readers via Joe that Beck has lied about things in her life, is not really dating a guy that is treating her as nothing but casual, and Beck's writing is just bordering on okay. And one wonders how Beck's life would have ended up if she never met Joe. 

 

Joe has nothing but contempt for most of the people he meets. Which begs the question why he is even trying to fall in love and wants Beck to love him. When he realizes that Beck is still hung up on a guy named Benji, Joe decides that Benji will be the first person that he shows doesn't love Beck the right way (or the Joe way). 

 

The secondary characters like Benji, Peaches, Dr. Nick, are nothing but people that are in Joe's way to be with Beck. I someone disliked Peaches more via the book than I did via the television show. Maybe because book Peaches was even more of crap which begged the question about how oblivious Beck is to other people acting terrible. The only two people in this book that have any sense are Beck's two other best friends who call her out on her crap. 

 

I thought the writing was clever. Kepnes writing the book the way she did with Joe doing the narration to Beck was great. It made it more intimate and you felt like you were trapped alongside Beck while Joe sits and tells her of the the things he did for his love of her. The flow was really good and I didn't see any weird stopping points. There were a few times that I held my breath thinking things were going to turn for the worse for Joe, but Joe seemed to have the devil's own luck from the beginning to end of this book. 

 

The setting of New York in this one seems to be a lonely and slightly claustrophobic place to me. Via Joe you are with him at the bookstore and with him when he follows Beck around. Even when he's with Beck, Joe is lonely. Because he needs to be petted and told how great he is every second by Beck. No one else is supposed to be more important to her while he is there, and even when he's not, why isn't he the uppermost in her mind. 

 

The ending was great and left you with a feeling of dread of what is going to happen next.