When a beautiful aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card. There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting. As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder. A terrifying exploration of how vulnerable we all are to stalking and manipulation, debut author Caroline Kepnes delivers a razor-sharp novel for our hyper-connected digital age.
‘You’ is an insane, obsessive, and manipulative romance from the perspective of a charming psychopath.
It’s a fucked up tale told from the POV of a stalker who obsesses over and spies on a young woman. He gradually plants himself into her life and seeks a relationship with her, whilst simultaneously hacking her emails and following every little thing she does. Telling his unreliable tale, Joe truly believes that he and Beck are meant to be. His narration is completely insane, horrifying, and – at times – beautiful.
He is a fantastically unreliable narrator, made more so by the charm and humor he uses to engage the reader. Joe’s intelligence, wit, and candor make it easy to sympathize with him, even though we are aware of how twisted he really is.
The novel evades the boundaries of the genre; not quite a contemporary, maybe, but also unlike most psychological thrillers, creating something new and complex – quite unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Being inside Joe’s head is a poisonous but admittedly fascinating place to be. Through him, the author examines the games people play with one another and the gentle manipulation that even the most innocent of us are capable of at times:
You also offers an interesting look at stalking in the digital age. Joe is able to commit his crimes through the use of email, Facebook, and Twitter; finding out huge amounts of information about Beck without even leaving his house. It made me incredibly aware of how visible we all are these days. Beck too has Narcissistic Personality traits and this is the first time I’ve read a novel where both the protagonist are fucked up.
‘You’ is streaming on Netflix too.