Being acclaimed the “Thriller of the Year”, You no doubt benefitted from riding on the wave of the Gone Girl phenomena, the film of which was released shortly after Kepnes’ novel was published in 2014. The two are certainly comparable, following the similar themes of love, attraction, obsession, suspense and muh-duh. Gone Girl for me (and I expect others) was a real eye-opener into the Thriller genre – something I’d naively held little interest for before. Thrillers for me have always seemed more of a masculine game (sorry, I have offended myself too by that sexist assumption), or perhaps I had seen one too many dodgy detective dramas to be interested*. Nevertheless, I am reformed enough now to have coughed up full price for this book, while subjecting myself to a service station coffee on a work trip somewhere between Cambridge and Oxford. Sounds posh until you realise I was visiting a Waste Treatment Plant.
*(I should say that this un-interest in thrillers has some exceptions. I do have a slight fetish with the thriller sub-genre ‘Unnaturally Large Deadly Animal Goes On Killing Rampage And Many Humans Die Or Run In Terror’. This largely relates to my film interests, but has extended into paper copies of such classics as Jurassic Park).
Anyway. While parts of the book bordered on… extreme, You is no doubt a novel that wraps you further into it with every page-turning chapter. It’s what I think of as an upgraded beach book – not to be mixed with the kind of crap that comes free in August’s issue of Cosmo, but with some of the easy read, pulls-you-rather-than-drags-you qualities.
Gone Girl for me was expertly planned, sewn together and subsequently unravelled with an abundance of pleasing twists and turns, which is not matched for me by You. However, the latter certainly is intelligently written, with what feels like a genuine insight into the deep end of obsession.