I’ve never been one to bring reading material into the bathroom. Ever. I’m terrified to bring my iPhone near the toilet because I’m clumsy enough to drown it. Without oversharing, let’s just say I’m not someone who poops in a leisurely, slow-paced manner, so bringing a book to the task doesn’t cross my mind.
But the book I just finished reading went with me everywhere—including the shitter, the field hockey pick-up, the TV show my kids were watching so I could pretend to be spending time with them. I’ve never brought a book in front of a running television before, either, but for this book, I made exceptions in all the rooms of the house.
On reading the novel You by Caroline Kepnes, the cliché “couldn't put it down" really was apt. The book is narrated in the second person from the stalker’s perspective and it’s is gripping, erotic, suspenseful... yes, it's the next Gone Girl, and I was happy to finally find one. No spoilers, but I’ll tell you I felt empathy for the villain even though he’s not someone who does nice things. If you liked Gillian Flynn's three books (and I loved all three), this is the book for you.
Warning! Not everyone will like this book. For example, my choice for the book club meeting I hosted last week was The Dinner by Herman Koch, a book I really enjoyed. Out of 12 book club members, only one or two other members liked it, and I was kind of embarrassed except the discussion was actually great and on the island we have an amazing chef Henry who made all the foods from the book, and besides the nickname of my book club is “Reading Between The Wines” so who cares if you liked the book or not.
What I’ve noticed from the fact that I love Stephen King (I’m reading Doctor Sleep now because I needed something after You that I knew wouldn’t let me down) and Flynn and Koch and this new book by Kepnes is that I’m a person who likes to read dark, dysfunctional-character psychological thrillers. I think my reading preference is due to the fact that I was forbidden from reading Stephen King by my parents at around age 12, and had to hide his books under my mattress along with the paperback Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews.
Acknowledging a book preference is a pretty obvious observation at my advancing age, but for years I’ve tried reading all other genres in an effort to be more well-read, more literary. Every time I’ve done this I’ve ended up disappointed, and with unfinished books. One year I read and reviewed all 10 of The New York Times Best Books of the year, and I hated my life for about three months. It like I was back in college being forced to read for book reports instead of for pleasure; you should always read for pleasure.
(Full disclosure: Klout is a social media measure where you get a score based on your level of “influence” and what this means for me is that sometimes McDonald’s sends me free Arch cards and in all honestly, I kind of love my life when that happens. One day, I got an offer from Klout to review this You book. I agreed, because the book looked like one I’d like and I did. But I got the book for free. This didn’t influence my decision to write about it—if I hadn’t liked it, I would’ve tossed it aside.)
-Follow Mary McCarthy on Twitter @marymac.