YOU is a dark, twisted story that I couldn’t put down.
Joe Goldberg becomes fixated on Guinevere Beck the moment he sees her. They engage in small talk, flirt with each other a bit, and then she’s gone. This is the point when a “normal” man would either follow a woman and ask her out or simply move on with his day. However, Joe happens to be a sociopath who takes a much different approach. He decides to stalk Beck in person and online, and he eliminates “obstacles” until they become an item. Even when he finds out that Beck isn’t exactly who he thought she was (she’s a real piece of work, too!), his obsession with her continues.
The story is told from Joe’s point of view as if he’s talking to Beck. For example:
“You miss me. And I miss you. It hurts seeing you at that fire, giving your hands to the heat, the way I gave my hand to fire, only different. I imagine pushing you into the red abyss and jumping in after you, with you, so we can burn together, forever, a tree of life, light, sex.”
This type of narration creates an extra creepy vibe because it sucks readers into Joe’s deranged world. I loved it!
Even though Joe is nuts, Kepnes did a stellar job of making me sympathize with him at times. Why on Earth would I feel bad for a psychopath? First of all, as I mentioned earlier, Beck has some major issues, too. In fact, I found myself kind of liking Joe simply because I couldn’t stand Beck. Second, Joe just wants to be loved. He obviously goes about finding love in a totally unacceptable way, but Kepnes really made me feel his deep desire to find it (with Beck). Third, I was quite entertained by Joe’s pop culture references and many of his thoughts. For example:
“Mystic is a bad place for me. I went there once, with my fourth-grade class, on a field trip. At the time, I had a crush on a gruff, odd misfit named Maureen Grady, “Mo” for short. Most kids are assholes, just like most adults, so yes, a lot of people called her “Ho Mo.””
“Elton John hisses low everywhere because of the state of the art sound system and I can picture Peach pleading with him in a court of fandom. She begs to be his number one fan but Sir Elton slams the gavel and sends a collections officer to seize all his music from that prissy cunt and she has to go work as a greeter at Walmart.”
“What a shame to be so angered by what you don’t have that you treat what you do have like it’s nothing.”
“You grow through love. You don’t postpone love until you stop growing.”
“If you don’t start with crazy, crazy love, the kind of love that Van Morrison sings about, then you don’t have a shot to go the distance. Love’s a marathon, Danny, not a sprint.”
If you like thrillers with seriously messed up characters, you might want to check out this book. I definitely plan to read the sequel.