I wanted to love this book.
From the very beginning, I was intrigued by You. Mr. Nicholas’ language is somewhat stylized, and I was fine with that. It worked. The story moved well, kept my interest, and I cared about the characters. Those are the three biggies for me. I suspect, as he intimates, the novel is somewhat autobiographical. Depression is such a huge reality for so many these days, I wonder what magic Chris/Ryan used to heal himself. I would’ve liked a bit more of Ryan’s history.
Still the tale holds together. There is such profound sadness in both characters that one’s heart aches for them both. There are moments when I was convinced it would be an unhappily ever after, but then, he wouldn’t have written this story.
And it might have been a 5-star review but for his lack of knowledge/understanding/homework about the reality of living in America, specifically New York City.
Ryan hands someone a “ten-dollar note.” Sorry, we don’t have bank notes here; one would say “ten-dollar bill” or colloquially, “ten-spot.” “Three weeks worth of pocket money”….? Nope, you just described an “allowance” that kids get. Pocket money, or pocket change, is something else.
Anyone who has lived in or around Manhattan knows there are no underground parking garages with a modest two-bedroom rental. Subways, sewers, and solid rock usually prevent underground parking. If you have indoor space for your car, it costs more than the apartment. Parking is incredibly expensive so those who have cars often park them outside Manhattan with friends or relatives. Besides, leaving your car on the street is no guarantee it will have tires, a stereo, or a catalytic converter in the morning, much less be there. Okay, I’m being bleak, but if you’re in the city you know exactly what I mean. One can drive around for hours looking for a place to park. That’s why people don’t drive in Manhattan unless they absolutely have to. And I cannot help but wonder how, despite the predictions of 3.5 hours one-way from the city to Newport, one actually managed to do it in that time…in either direction.
This may sound nit-picky, but as a novelist who researches her locales to death, this really impacted how I ultimately felt about the book. You gotta do the homework.
So I am giving the book 4-stars. It’s a lovely story. Read it, suspend your disbelief, and allow the characters to wrap themselves around you. You won’t be sorry.
Trigger warnings: Depression, physical abuse, mentions of alcoholism