Thursday, June 2, 2016

Crazy Love You

Crazy Love You by Lisa Unger is a psychological thriller notable for its less than reliable narrator, and boy is he a doozy. The joy and headache, doled out in equal measure, of a novel relying on this literary device is that as a reader you have to work for your happy ending. What can you believe? Who do you believe? Each moment or memory has to be taken with a grain of salt, parsed and dissected. Each question raised and truth revealed through secondary characters only serves as a page-turning force keeping you on the edge of your seat wondering what comes next.

From the publisher: “Darkness has a way of creeping up when Ian is with Priss. Even when they were kids, playing in the woods of their small upstate New York town, he could feel it. Still, Priss was his best friend, his salvation from the bullies who called him "loser" and "fatboy"... and from his family's deadly secrets. Now that they've both escaped to New York City, Ian no longer inhabits the tortured shell of his childhood. He is a talented and successful graphic novelist, and Priss...Priss is still trouble. The booze, the drugs, the sex--Ian is growing tired of late nights together trying to keep the past at bay. Especially now that he's met sweet, beautiful Megan, whose love makes him want to change for the better. But Priss doesn't like change. Change makes her angry. And when Priss is angry, terrible things begin to happen...”

I so enjoyed this book. It was so much more than I expected, including twists, surprises, and different elements to the story that I couldn’t foresee just from reading the summary. I’ll caveat my limited comments by stating that it’s kind of difficult to discuss Ian’s varying truths without spoiling the story, which I obviously don’t want to do. Nonetheless, I can honestly say that the story and characters had depth and while some, most notably our two main protagonists, were less likeable than others, they all intrigued and captured your imagination. Though far from a saint, Ian was in large part the reason why I loved the book as much as I did. Even while doubting his every word, at times questioning if he was being purposely deceptive or just unable to face his own truth at that given moment, I felt a large measure of compassion for the child who cruelly suffered at the hands of others, for as he said, ‘sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will break your heart’, and for the ‘man-baby’ as Priss would say, who still seemed a boy lost in the big bad world, desperately searching for love and acceptance.

I’ll close by saying that, though I’m not usually one to toot my own horn, TOOT TOOT suckers (sorry about that, the excitement got the best of me), because despite Ian’s drug and booze-addled evasions, I actually figured out this tale’s riddle. I honestly had my doubts until the end, and in actuality, the ending doesn’t offer a conclusive or concrete answer or resolution, as it’s open to interpretation, but I will toot nonetheless.

Crazy Love You was engrossing and compelling from start to finish and maintained a relentless pace throughout, so you better stay on top of your game and pay attention or else you might miss something.