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“You are a woman, and I am a man, and we belong in the dark together and you smell good, pure, I like this”…creepier than the show? You’d be right.
Does the Netflix TV show You portray the book, You, by Caroline Kepnes, in an effective way? I suppose what I’m asking is, whether the novel version of You is a good read?
The answer is, well…complicated. Reading the book is different to watching the show. The book is much more explicit. We get to be inside Joe’s head 24/7 rather than just having snippets of his thoughts which made you realise just how much creepier his character really is. More disturbingly, being inside his head makes it seem as if you, the reader, are spying on Beck too rather than just accompanying him.
This book is definitely a good read, but where it gets complicated is how exposed reading this novel can make you feel, which is quite ironic seeing as it’s about a stalker. It’s not one to read in a public place; I tried to read it in the library and on the train and both times the sexually explicit thoughts of Joe made me feel quite awkward and if someone had catch a glance at what I was reading, I don’t even what to know how much they would have judged.
This novel is a whole lot more sexual than the series ever let on. Maybe because of Joe’s cockiness or his vanity in how much he thinks Beck really wants him. This sense of narcissism isn’t held back however much my eyes wish it was.
Not only does he judge all the customers that come into his shop, on whether their choice of book is adequate, but he continues to exercise his sadistic side when he has Benji locked up in his cage, giving him a series of book quizzes, which unsurprisingly he fails. All this to make himself feel better that he’s superior despite not going to university like the rest of them.
His blatant overconfidence makes him so much less likable – well, I mean can you even say that a serial killer is likeable? – yet, in the show there is a charm to him and his personality. The book reveals the truth.
An aspect that could be contributing to this is that Paco is not a character within the novel. This doesn’t allow us to see his ‘good side’, only the stalker in him. Also that is not mention of the abuse that Joe suffers by Mr. Mooney which the Netflix series uses to quite a considerable extent to make the audience pity Joe – yes I said pity.
So, if you want more explicit insight into ‘You’…read the book. But if you want to stay in that fallacy of charm and pity, maybe stick with the show. Your choice.