You by Caroline Kepnes

You - Caroline Kepnes

This book had one of the most complex narrators I’ve ever come across and I couldn’t help but feel for him, in a screwed up kind of way.


You is narrated in the present tense (my favourite) by Joe, a New York City stalker. It’s told primarily in a second person narrative as everything is directed towards Beck, in the form of the word ‘you.’ This was my first experience of a second person narrative and I found that it afforded the reader an intimacy with Joe, even if this was wanted or not!


Joe works in a book shop and has become infatuated with one of his customers, Beck. As he becomes entwined in her life, things become much more complicated for Joe as we learn the full extent of his controlling nature and the lengths he’ll go to in order to secure his relationship with Beck.


One of the chief focuses of this book is social-media and how it can be manipulated for someone’s own gains. If anything, it’ll make you think and reassess these new found modes of communication.


The most rewarding aspect of this book was the characterisation. Joe was one of the most complex protagonists I’ve ever encountered and he was done exceptionally well. As he worked in a book shop he had a wealth of information about books and I found myself looking into most of the books he mentioned. People might become exasperated with Joe because he’s so judgemental, but I accepted this was a character trait and found it quite amusing. Beck was, well, a bit aloof and self-absorbed. She wasn’t especially bad, but she wasn’t good either.


Another great aspect was that I didn’t have much of an idea where this novel would go, even in the latter stages, so most everything was a surprise.


One negative was that, because Joe was virtually conversing with himself through Beck, there were things he didn’t feel the need to explain, which left me somewhat confused. I thought this was a clever move by the author, but did feel a little frustrated once or twice.


This was a fairly easy, if not harrowing read and it didn’t become stale being told completely from Joe’s point of view.


I would highly recommend this book if you want a unique viewpoint of a stalker and like twisted narrators.