by Caroline Kepnes
Ah, I get it now. I get your fascination with Joe Goldberg. For months I’ve avoided reading this because I was scared I would hate the character so much. Admittedly, Joe is morbidly hard to hate. He’s a cunning character who convinces, even the hardened reader the he’s nothing to be scared of. He’s reliable in that respect. Because I was lulled into a state of complacency – even convinced, for a time, that his victims were at fault. How sick is that?
Practically everyone in this book is messed up. They all seem to be on the precipice of madness themselves. I mean, Beck herself admits that she’s sick for the things she did to the men that walks into her life, all the while using her convenient excuse that her sickness stems from her daddy issues. Peach, Nicky, and OMG, even Karen Minty – especially Karen Minty – each one of these characters brought a certain brand of sociapathic tendencies to the table.
What did Joe ever see in Beck? I mean physically, she’s attractive, sure. But after she played Joe a number of times, why couldn’t he move on? Joe’s obsession with Beck confounded me. But after a while, I don’t think reasons matter for someone like Joe. As soon as he set his sights on Beck, it was game over. And Joe is a very meticulous character. He may be lacking in college education, but he was exposed to boundless knowledge through his work at the bookstore. The bookstore was his life, the books his companion. It’s a little disturbing to think that books, coupled with loneliness can lead you to demented thinking (see: Misery by Stephen King). And this couldn’t be truer in Joe’s place. He grew up in the care of a bookstore owner who’s probably a little deranged himself. I wish the readers knew more about him so that we may know what made Joe the person that he was.
Joe more often justifies all the things he’s done to his victims as an act of compassion (like a good sociopath could). His calm mannerisms is disturbing, to say the least. But that’s a true marksman of a psychopath, isn’t it? I love that this novel was set in New York – a city so overpopulated that if one goes missing, no one would be the wiser. I also think that the age of social media played the perfect role as a necessary evil that helped Joe in hiding his crimes. It’s scary how easy it was for him. Made me want to change my passwords to everything.
You know what’s even sicker? I’d hoped he’d get away with it. I’d hoped that he finds a nice girl, move to North Dakota and forget all the things he’s done to his victims. That’s how good he is.