The Book of You is the story of a woman dealing with a terrifying stalker, the lengths he’ll go to in order to control her, and how she tries to break free. Clarissa is a quiet woman who lives alone and keeps to herself. One evening, she’s coerced into going to an event held by her co-worker, Rafe. From the events that transpired that night, Rafe has built an obsession with Clarissa, and will not leave her alone. He’s constantly following her, watching her, calling her. Clarissa, unsure of how to handle this unwanted attention, is slowly unraveling. She tries to speak up to friends about her fear of this situation, but no one believes her. Her only peace comes when she’s selected for jury duty in a neighboring town. The weeks she’s in the courthouse serve as a respite from Rafe and his incessant stalking. She connects with Robert, another juror, and their blossoming friendship brings some light into her dark life. Clarissa tries to find the courage to shut down Rafe’s advances once and for all. Unfortunately, this only serves to excite him more and his horrifying behavior begins to escalate.
I decided on this book for my monthly Audible subscription pick because it seemed like it would be a fast-paced story with an aspect of suspense. (Sidenote: if you’re not already an Audible subscriber, I highly recommend you check it out. The plans are priced very reasonably and it’s a great option, especially if you commute or travel a lot. I listen to my monthly book to and from work and I love it!)
First things first, the narrator, Orlagh Cassidy, is amazing. She was able to differentiate the different voices in the book really well. Every time she spoke any of Rafe’s dialogue, it sent chills down my spine. She was able to capture all of his sliminess and treachery and really bring that character to life.
The story itself was interesting, and, at first, I really connected with Clarissa’s character. This may have been a result of listening to Ms. Cassidy narrate; thus hearing the story versus reading. From the beginning, I got wrapped up in Clarissa’s story, and how hopeless and isolated she felt. But, by the half-way point of the book. I felt that the story started to lag and become repetitive. Clarissa’s passivity became extremely annoying and I found myself wanting her to just do something, anything. From the summary of the book, I thought there would be more parallels between Clarissa’s situation and the trial she was involved with. Instead, I found the trial difficult to follow and it took away from the main plot. Also, there were some very graphic portions of the story; e.g. rape, torture, etc., that I wasn’t prepared to hear. Finally, I didn’t like the ending at all. It felt like an afterthought and, based on the ending, I didn’t see the point of Robert’s character or his storyline at all. I almost feel like I started one book, and finished a completely different story.
Overall, I liked it but definitely not one of my favorites. I felt it was a good debut effort, and I’m interested to see what Claire Kendal comes up with next.