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.
I think it is fair to say that this book did a number on me. I heard some mixed reviews before I got into it, but it seemed like something unique and different and I decided to just go for it. It’s true to say that this book might not be for everyone, either you love it or you hate it. Luckily, I loved it. I never read anything like this book and when I turned the last page, I sat down, quietly, thinking. This book pulled me in from the start, and although it took me a while to get to the end, it kept me captivated. It was a scary and thrilling read and I cannot stop thinking about it still.
Opinion (beware for spoilers):
The story begins with Joe and Beck, the two main characters, meeting at the bookstore where Joe works. Joe immediately falls in love with Beck. They start off flirting and that continues on for a long part of the story, which I didn’t really expect. I thought they would get together a lot quicker. After the flirting and created anticipation, they finally get together, although it took them again a long time to call their relationship official.
Anyone living in their world would describe their story something like that. Simple and realistic. But it gets a lot more uglier than that.
From the moment they first meet each other, Joe is captivated by Beck’s existence. He goes way out of line to get to know her. He starts to find out things about her via the internet, he goes to her apartment and watches her through the window, he steals her phone so he can have access to her email (which he reads daily). It does not take long before he literally knows everything about her. He knows where she is at every moment of the day, what she thinks and what she says to her friends. And it just goes on until she has nothing to hide from him anymore.
Joe’s character scared me a lot. Mostly because I didn’t always thought that he was doing the wrong thing. The story is told from his perspective, and he rationalizes every single crazy thing he has done. In his eyes he does everything right. He believed he was the right guy for Beck and they were the only possible match for each other. And the crazy thing is, I actually wanted him and Beck to get together. A lot of the times the book made me think he was a good and nice guy. But then, all of a sudden, he changes in a complete other person, a psychopath. It is then that I realize how good this book is written. It’s clear from the start that he is dangerous, but I couldn’t help myself to like him.
Beck surprised me too, in her own way. She is an aspiring writer, but she doesn’t think highly of her work. In the beginning I thought she would be a naive, innocent girl, but again I was proven otherwise. I actually didn’t like Beck’s character so much. I thought she acted very selfish sometimes and often took illogical decisions. But I also didn’t hate her completely, because she was different and not that typical victimized girl that I expected her to be.
The story had this dark undertone and the writing style made it ten times better. It is written in second person and it fitted the story so perfectly that at times I forgot Joe was a real sociopath. He killed four people, but carries no guilt nor does he ever get caught. In his eyes he has done the right thing for either the victims or Beck or himself. From the outside world, Joe truly seems like a nice guy, but in reality, it’s clear he is completely insane. It made me think about our world too, because for all I know, people who I know could be like Joe.
I find it difficult to form a concrete opinion on this book, because it made me feel a lot of things. At a certain moment I thought it was a little boring, because in the beginning I thought he was going to be this crazy murderer who would kill everything and everyone that was in his way, but in this book he wasn’t always like that and I found myself wanting to read just another chapter every time I wanted to close it.
At the end of the story, the inevitable happens. Joe kills Beck. It fitted really good in the story and I think you can kind of tell by only reading the synopsis that something like this was going to happen. But it was not the end that I thought it would be. I expected him to kill Beck and himself so they could be together in the afterlife. (I’m in Joe’s way of thinking right now, although I don’t know if he believes in afterlife).
Although the story was very gripping and intimidating until the last page, it was the last sentence that scared and thrilled me the most:
You are gone, forever and she is here, now.
That sentence took my breath away. The power it has and how it means so much, it’s incredible. It literally made my heart skip a few beats. It completed the story in a way that I can’t really explain.
I’ve never read anything like this book. These were easy five stars to give.
I would also want to request everyone to listen to this song. It gives me the same dark and eerie feeling as this book has given me. The song is called This Strange Effect by Hooverphonic.
Thank you so much for reading!