Distiller: Hikari Loftus
Drink: Do NOT drink anything
The Book of You
by Claire Kendal
Harper (May 6, 2014)
I'd have to say that this is the least satisfactory book I've read in a long while. Or maybe, to clarify, the least satisfactory ending.
I feel like this book is divided into three different parts. There are Clarissa's journal entries of every "incident" involving her stalker (which she calls, "The Book of You") Clarissa's day to day, and the trial which Clarissa is part of the jury.
The Book of You immediately dives into Clarissa Bourne's plight—she's being stalked by Rafe Solmes. After sleeping with him one night several months ago, Rafe's presence in her life is incessant. He's constantly calling, texting, appearing where she is...To make matters worse, they work at the same university. (Let's be clear that Clarissa does everything in her power to avoid him and not encourage him.)
To Clarissa's ultimate luck, she's been summoned for jury duty on a seven week case. That's seven weeks safely locked away from Rafe in a courtroom. But Rafe is insistent, and his acts of stalking are escalating and becoming far more frightening and threatening. Rafe's obsession with Clarrisa gets downright chilling and sickening.
I picked up this book because I needed to get out of my comfort zone. I wanted to read something different, but not too scary. I'm a super wimp. Reading The Lovely Bones terrified me for a month and it took me several more months to convince myself that my neighbors were not murderers. Even though The Book of You is downright disturbing, it didn't freak me out that badly for some reason. (Why is it so much easier to believe in murderers than mentally deranged stalkers? I feel like they're practically the same thing.)
The first hundred pages or so completely kept my interest. I couldn't have cared less about the trial going on in the book. It was mostly a vehicle to get Clarissa out of the house and have a safe place to be each day anyway. There was just something grotesquely captivating about what was happening. In those first hundred or so pages I was willing to go on the journey to find out what happened in the end. But after awhile, reading got to be a chore. It's not an easy subject to be reading in the first place, and as things escalate and Clarissa becomes more and more terrified with no where to turn, the whole situation becomes arduous. I had to force myself to keep reading just so I could finish the thing.
I think Kendal did a great job outlining the stalking, and I felt like Clarissa's reaction to them was believable, even though I got tired of her not telling anyone about it. Clarissa's character was pretty flat, but I think that could have been on purpose. The whole point was that Rafe was stealing her, making her whole life about terror and looking over her shoulder.
It was the climax of the whole situation that ruined the book for me. We finally get down to the action, where Clarissa starts doing something. It's hard to get into my frustrations without spoilers, but I'll do my best. Clarissa finds herself in the most terrifying situation possible. The scene where she finds herself in her worst nightmare is a really good bit of writing. If that were ever to happen to me, I'd wish myself dead. Anyway, the situation is pretty impossible and I was reading at a pretty fast clip because I wanted to know how the heck she was ever going to get out of that situation...
And... Kendal went for the cop out. Ugh. <insert readers rage>
This is the part where I say why I hate the cop out and it's KIND of spoilerish, but not THAT spoilerish. I still hid it in case: (highlight the blacked out parts to read if you're interested)
Clarissa has a savior! Someone who basically took themselves out of the picture, became a closed door, had no idea Clarissa was being stalked, and then suddenly turns up in a barge in situation? It was completely confusing and totally unbelievable. The rest of the scene was probably supposed to be this epic struggle and really I was just bored. It felt predictable after that, and then stupid and disappointing. I almost read it again to make sure that was what really happened, but I couldn't bring myself to do it.
I felt like there were so many ways this could have gone, and it felt like Kendal chose every kind of ending to make sure you had the least satisfactory reading experience possible. I thought some of the unsatisfactory ending bits were completely unnecessary too. *Sigh.
Do NOT drink anything while reading this. You don't know what might have been slipped into your drink.