I was recommended this book by a friend who suggested that I might like it because of the unusual way in which the story is told – and she wasn’t wrong.
Told from the perspective of a young teenager, the entirety of You is told in the second person, addressed to the object of the man’s affection – a creative writing student called Beck. As a piece of fiction, it was refreshing to read something that was told in a completely unique way as the reader is allowed to delve into the deepest thoughts of the narrator as he becomes more and more obsessed with Beck, often resulting in him committing serious criminal acts.
This tale of a deluded stalker is so wonderfully put together that, even as you grow to hate him more, you get sucked into his story and, by the end of the story, you find yourself almost sympathetic with his plight. Despite the horrific actions he undertakes (and there are truly some awful moments that are not for the faint hearted) you find yourself almost routing for the narrator and almost grow to despise Beck, even though she is technically the victim of the piece.
However, it is not all good for this novel. Once you get past the masterful characterisation and the unique way of telling the story, and finally analyse the story for what it is, you’re left feeling rather underwhelmed. Other readers have commented that the ending is a superb twist to a great story but, for my part, it felt rather predictable and almost seemed telegraphed from the very early stages of the book.
Whenever something truly horrifying happened it felt somehow inevitable and therefore held very little shock value for me. In fact, the one time when I did find myself shocked was when he was distracted from his intentions by something that truly focussed his obsession once again.
Which I think was the point in the end…
There’s no denying that this book is a good read – although the use of the word good seems rather inappropriate. Its blunt and crude method of addressing the act of obsession is both effective and hypnotic. I would certainly recommend that this is a book that is read – but I’d be careful about what you take away from it…
Four out of five. Effective story telling, but lacklustre story… In my opinion at least.