I am completely obsessed with You…

youThe book and TV show… why what did you think I meant? 😉 Kepnes infamous story about social media stalking in the modern age certainly grabbed my attention and now I’d like to share it with *you*. So, what can you expect from this book about a New York love affair gone very, very wrong?

Immediately, you will be struck by the unreliable narrator. Combining a biting wit with an exceptional use of second person pov, you will find the execution of this novel is top notch. This unique style allows for stand out characterisation and a story that captivates and horrifies in equal measure. Now, you might have seen a fair amount of criticism for the crassness and vulgar language… to which I say: what do you expect? Yes, a stalker and dangerous individual is less than polite and uses violent means to get his way. To me, anything else would be a dishonest representation of reality. Naturally, you will agree that it is unnerving to be this up close and personal to evil- but that is what really works about this book (admittedly the show has a different take… more on that later).

Another criticism you might have is that the characters are all pretentious a-holes. Which is true- but given that they’re viewed through the lens of a psycho stalker, you might be inclined to let them off the hook. Again, you will find this an ingenious way of letting you inside his twisted mind. Every portrayal he shows you will be warped beyond recognition and every barb he directs at others can be thrown back at him.

Either way, you will discover there’s something enigmatic about the distinctive writing. This voicey book gives you more characterisation than a thousand thrillers combined. You will come to see it as more of a character study than a typical story.

Most importantly, you will be compelled to the finish line as if someone is chasing you down a dark alleyway. Truth be told, you may find the plot fairly predictable- but that’s because when you’re trapped in a terrifying place with no way out, there really is only one way it can go down. All the bodies littered throughout make the ending inevitable. So if you are like me and you like *BIG* twist thrillers, you might not end up giving it 5*. But that’s okay, because you know it’s a great book regardless. And you may decide that, while you’re not sure you need a series of books in this vein, you’re still invested enough to check out the Netflix adaptation…

Okay, I’m gonna stop with the second person because you get the idea 😉 Also the voice is used slightly differently in the TV show. In fact, there were a number of distinctions between the book and the show: the timeline, the characters and even the relationship have all shifted. Most importantly, the more lovey dovey romance makes the show more of a deconstruction of rom coms than the danger of Social Media. While still present, the idea of stalking someone online is made light of at times when (for reasons I can’t fathom) Stalker Joe tells her he’s been following her?! Aside from the illogical tint this gives the story, I wasn’t entirely sure what to make of this take. I think that the ideas it was presenting, while not entirely in line with the book, were still valid critiques on society. Plus, on the more positive side, this did flesh out some aspects better.

Characters who weren’t given a proper voice in the book (understandably) did finally get their chance to speak for themselves. I liked that while Peaches made more sense as a character, the tv version didn’t remove her shades of grey. I also loved Blythe and Ethan- as different as the latter was to the book counterpart. Most significantly, we actually got her perspective. And it’s good- it’s very good. She gets to be a far more well-rounded character and her life is given importance its so lacking in the book- which makes the impact of the narrative greater still. I liked that they even had her talk to herself in the second person- it was a nice touch.

Having said that, the show’s desire to fill in some aspects meant that the things Joe does make less sense sometimes. There was more of an attempt to make him likeable and misdirect the viewer into thinking he’s not an entirely terrible person. For instance, he genuinely cares about Paco, which felt strangely out of character for me as someone who’d read the book (and was the first major indicator that the book and show were going to be different entities). Again, I wasn’t quite convinced whether I liked that he was more sympathetic. On the one hand, it made him less predatory… but on the other there was more of an unnerving sense that this could really happen to anyone. It didn’t hurt, either, that unlike the book closing off its ending, the show had a chilling end that left me wanting more.

Ultimately, I found the show just a bingeable as the book was a page turner. Sure, they were different, but this didn’t impact the quality. I gave both the book and show:

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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So have you read or watched this? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!

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32 thoughts on “I am completely obsessed with You…

  1. Zoe's Library says:

    It admittedly took me a few paragraphs to realize that you were writing in second person intentionally – so clever!!

    I’ve read this book so long ago that I’m not really sure what I’d think of it now. I remember really liking it when I read it, but not enough to pick up the sequel. Still haven’t seen the show either. Maybe I’ll come back to it someday to get a new perspective since I’m a more mature reader now.

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bookstooge says:

    See, this is why fathers, brothers and cousins exist. Nothing shuts down a male stalker like another male threatening to kill him. I know this from personal experience (I was on the good end of that conversation, btw. I am not a stalker). Of course, then you have to be prepared for the fight/flight syndrome, but if you’re making threats like that against someone stalking your sister, well, you’re prepared.

    Don’t worry Monkey, I’ve always known you were obsessed with me. It’s the curse of my life. Everywhere I go, adoring throngs throw themselves at my feet 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Oh my goodness so true! That’s why I like to drop my brothers into conversation fairly quickly 😂 it’s also good to have a scary speech prepared if something’s really off- then there’s no need to actually resort to using ones brothers 😉

      Hahaha! Well I shall have to win you over with many-a banana! 🍌🍌🍌😂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Jennifer Mugrage says:

    Cleverly written review, and it sounds like the book is cleverly written too. Sort of reminds me of the one or two Agatha Christies where the narrator turns out to be the killer. Also a bit like The Screwtape Letters, where the whole value system is reversed.

    I’ve been avoiding the Netflix special, because I want to watch a young female writer succeeding, not getting stalked … but maybe after this review I will check it out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Thank you! Oh that’s so cool- I haven’t read that Agatha Cristie- but her twists are always amazing!! And that sounds good too!

      Ah that’s fair- it was a clever commentary on some aspects of modern life (though considering how they fleshed out her character so much more, it was harder to watch, cos I liked her a lot more)

      Like

  4. Pam Who Cried Books says:

    I’ve watched the series while having the book in my TBR for years already! I loved the show! I’m usually the type to read BEFORE watching the show/movie, but the hype got to me and I decided to watch it first. Is it a good idea to jump to the second book immediately? Or I need to read it first? 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Oh I totally get what you mean- I’ve done this a couple of times as well. Hmm that’s a good question- even if it’s different, it follows the overarching storyline, apart from the final twist in the show (which is definitely not the same in the book) so I think you probably could jump into the second one (and also the book series and show are apparently diverging for the second season/second book, so it makes sense to read the second one anyway).

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Jessica says:

    I have watched the show and really liked it, it was the show that prompted me to pick up the book but I haven’t got round to reading it yet. It’s further up my list after reading your review, I was concerned the book may not live up to the show but seeing you rate both the same really makes me want to give it a go.

    Liked by 1 person

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