The Book of You by Claire Kendal (3 out of 5)


Clarissa is a woman on the edge- she’s currently welcoming a jury duty stint, because it gives her an excuse to escape her stalker. Say what? Right?! Clarissa is recovering from her broken relationship when she meets Rafe, an author, at a book event. They strike an awkward connection, at least from Clarissa’s thinking. Rafe and she have several glasses of wine, and she feels dizzy, disoriented, and well, drugged. She remembers nothing, and wakes up in bed with Rafe, who tells her that she encouraged and enjoyed the sex. Clarissa distances herself from Rafe, and tells him it was a one night stand. Rafe, however, is not taking no for an answer. He leaves voicemails all day, watches her house, follows her everywhere, leaves gifts and notes all the time. Eventually, the stalking gets worse, and Rafe gets more violent in his intentions. Clarissa tries, at first, to press charges, but finds no one who believes her (they think it’s a domestic dispute between boyfriend and girlfriend). She begins reading leaflets on what to do in case it gets worse, and begins keeping a text documentation of everything the nutball does (she calls it “The Book Of You”, hence the title). She also begins taking photographs after Rafe gets rough with her and leaves bruises all over her arms. While Clarissa suffers her fear silently, she meets a man named Robert on the jury panel, with whom she develops an instant attraction. The two begin a relationship, and she lets Robert in on what’s going on. The trial that the two of them are on the jury for has scary parallels to what’s going on with Clarissa and Rafe. Things roll downward toward a conclusion that will leave you stunned. I couldn’t get over it, I read it twice to make sure I was reading it correctly. And it’s a conclusion that had to happen, because most of the book you want to throttle Clarissa because she seems like a wet mop. It’s fear, but it comes off as passive indifference. That drove me nuts, but the last half of the book, well, it takes your breath away. So I give it 3 stars, because it saved the book for me. And yes, don’t read this before bed, because every little noise will make you jump higher than LeBron in the NBA playoffs.

As far as psychological suspense, it’s not bad. You just want the lead character- who’s being stalked by a true nutter- to stop being so milquetoast and start kicking some people in the sack and Mace the mother to Nightshade Valley. Once you get past that, it develops into a true story of borderline obsession and pathological pathos. And you’ll love that. First half drags, second half picks up and you can’t stop reading until the end. Then- well, wow. Give it a shot.


~ by generationgbooks on July 1, 2015.

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