Author: Caroline Kepnes
Genre: Adult Fiction – Thriller
Synopsis: 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.
This was a hard one to read, not because this was bad – on the contrary – but because it’s SO DISTURBING. Right off the bat we’re introduced to Joe, Independent Bookstore Manager who watches you walk into his store in a beige sweater with no bra underneath. “You” is Guinevere Beck or “Beck” as she’s referred to. The obsession is instantaneous from Joe’s part and so this story continues as Kepnes gives us an ugly, raw look at the mind of an obsessive stalker/killer. There were many times when I just wanted to put this book down, get away from it and for half a day I had to do that because it’s sadistic in the way you want to know what happens next but each perfectly crafted paragraph is nauseating.
This book follows Joe and his maniacal obsession with Beck and those in her life which he feels stand in the way of them getting together. I can’t say anything else because I’m afraid of saying any spoilers. If you can stomach this, read it. It’s perfectly executed and in Joe, Kepnes crafts such an unbalanced, amusing, flawed, pathetic character that you feel all dirty at the end for not thinking he’s such a bad guy but then you see what he does and he’s simply despicable but – she does it SO well that you find yourself amused by his thoughts. It’s unnerving.
Woven within this novel of stalker/serial killer is an honest and brutal critique of our modern world’s self absorption brought on by fucked up childhoods and social media. Joe would have little in on Beck’s life if she wasn’t obsessed with constantly updating the online world about her whereabouts and her what-doings. I appreciate Kepnes for taking such a bold angle on this, by what I’m sure what immersing herself in the mind of such a sick individual and executing it so flawlessly.