Book Review – The Book of You, by Claire Kendal

Hello Readers,

This week, I finished reading my fifth book of 2015 – the psychological-supense thriller, The Book of You, by Claire Kendal; and I must say what an exciting read it was. I flicked through the pages, eager to know what would happen.

The following paragraphs detail elements of the book that I liked from a writing perspective. Please be warned, there are spoilers! This review was originally posted on Goodreads.com.

The opening scene began in the first person, as a diary entry, written by the protagonist, and this diary-entry-pattern is continued throughout the book. I instantly loved how the novel began this way, because I knew there would always be a specific date and time as I read on; I didn’t have to think too much about time moving through the narrative in methods such as season changes etc. I also believe this gave Claire more room to focus on the conflicts of the characters, rather than outside conflicts of weather, which often appear in novels.

The opening scene / diary entry introduces us to the two main characters; via the protagonist writing of her problematic encounter with the antagonist, through an action that has happened in the past. I instantly knew that their encounter was not the first, and that this scene pinpointed a moment in time when their conficts were mid-climax, and both characters were already suffering for their own very different reasons. By throwing the reader into the mid-action, we feel like we have joined the heroine on her journey as though we have collided with her on the street. Claire manages to capture all of the important elements of a novel introduction; from the hook, style and voice, main characters, conflict, themes, mood, and goals. All these things, among other elements, are a magical combination with which to grip and keep a reader.

The best part of the novel for me, besides the stalker theme (which always seems to fascinate me) was the strength in the protagonist’s voice. I was drawn into her claustrophobic and troubled mind, and I felt her fear of her stalker in my bones. Claire created a very rounded and very real protagonist, and placed her in a court case that contained shocking happenings which were parallel to ones she was experiencing, or about to experience – and this powerful combination added to the frightening suspense and build-up of the novel.

Although the novel had a fairly conventional ending for this genre, I had not predicted it’s final outcome on any of the build-up pages. I honestly did not know if she would win or lose. Claire is such a clever writer, who offers us surprise and shock in her work – she is a woman brave enough to approach some awkward subjects and themes, and I salute her. Finally, I also believe she could turn any normal scene into something mesmerizing, and that is why I shall look forward to her forthcoming books.

Tomorrow, I will be choosing my sixth book of the year, and will be placing my review here when done and dusted.

Wishing you all a happy Easter!

Best Wishes,

Donna x

@alittlebirdtweets2015

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23 thoughts on “Book Review – The Book of You, by Claire Kendal

  1. JC says:

    Thanks for the review. I do believe I’ll have to read it now!

  2. jwforeva says:

    I always find that books that a structured in a diary entry form offer an added thematic layer that makes it all the more exciting. Is the narrator an ‘unreliable’ one? This sounds really interesting, got to check it out. Thanks for the review!

    • Thanks for your comment πŸ™‚ I agree that the diary format offers an extra thematic layer to a story. I think a diary is the perfect food for human curiosity – the fact that they might let us in and allow us to learn of about another on a deeper level is so intriguing. I would say that the protagonist is a reliable character because of the sensible judgments she makes in her difficult situations – there aren’t any moments in the story that lead you to think that she might be lying; because all of her decisions and thoughts are so level-headed and relate to how a real-life person would react. But then again, what is real…is what I am saying real, and how can we measure it hehe. Thanks again for your comment. Do let me know your thoughts on the book if you read it; they would be interesting to hear. Best Wishes.

  3. authoraamir says:

    Awesome review friend! 😊

  4. I’ve just read this too and really enjoyed it.

  5. Elouise says:

    I agree. Awesome review! I appreciate your emphasis on what worked for you as a reader and why, rather than focusing on the story behind the diary entries–also intriguing because of the open diary.
    Elouise

    • Thanks Elouise, for your thoughtful comment. I have always been intetested in the mechanics of books (and films), and I think there is so much skill and magic involved in the craft, that I find myself learning something new, and being totally amazed, with every new book that I read.

  6. I loved reading this review! It’s very well written and detailed, you did an excellent job! Good luck with your next review and keep up the hard work! πŸ™‚

    • Thank you so much! I am really getting into writing reviews, because the books I seem to be encountering this year have been very inspiring from a writing perspective. Thank you for your lovely comment, and I’m happy you found the review to be good. Best wishes to you πŸ™‚

  7. This sounds like a promising read thanks to your review of it, which is nothing short of excellent. πŸ™‚

  8. milliethom says:

    This sounds like an exciting book, and full of suspense – which is what I enjoy. The diary-style sounds good, too. Another book to add to my list. I’m just about to start The Miniaturist, so it will be a while before I get round to it. but I’ll get there, eventually. πŸ™‚

    • I love suspense too, Millie. You can’t beat being on the edge of your seat as you turn those pages πŸ™‚ This one was a great suspense. I hope you enjoy The Minuaturist. I am reading a Dean Koontz book at the moment, and now weighing up my next choice. So much to read, so little time πŸ™‚

      • milliethom says:

        I know how you feel about so little time. πŸ™‚ I want to read so many books, but I can’t while I’m writing. I just read last thing at night, which makes every book a long read. πŸ™‚

      • It’s good that you have designated time to read πŸ™‚ I read mostly on my hour commute, but some mornings when I’m tired, I catch up with WP πŸ™‚

      • milliethom says:

        I suppose an hour’s commute can be useful. I used to travel for almost an hour to one school I taught at, but I had to drive. Not quite so relaxed – and definitely no reading. Now I can only read before I nod off in bed. The rest of my day is taken up with writing and WP!
        πŸ™‚

      • Commuting can be useful time for reading, and it certainly makes the journey go by fast. Funnily enough, I’m on my commute as I write this. I love reading in bed, when the world is silence…it’s a great time to read πŸ™‚

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