Someone Like Me by M.R. Carey

Posted On 12 November 2018

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Woman wearing a red hoodie by a river

Woman wearing a red hoodie by a river

Someone Like Me is such a difficult book to review.  I don’t want to give away spoilers or ruin the read for others and whilst that might sound like a bunch of excuses I mean it most sincerely.  It would be like somebody telling you the ending to The Sixth Sense and completely spoiling the final reveal, you know that feeling, where you finish something and then you have to start casting back asking questions, looking for missed breadcrumbs or clues – that’s what this book makes you do.  I mean, in fairness, this isn’t so much a final reveal as a bunch of reveals – but still, the sentiment remains the same.  Check out the blurb for the book and the cover even – they’re a pair of sneaky suckers aren’t they?  They’re giving nothing away and neither am I.  I think the biggest clue that we have here is in the title – and I realise I’m being evasive and the title could mean a number of things but there is a clue in there – of course it’s easy for me to say that now, all superior like, with the benefit of having read the book, but that’s all I’ve got.  Read the book. Go on.  Do it.

MR Carey is such a great author.  I love that his books are never what you expect or more to the point they’re all so completely different that you actually don’t even know what to expect in the first place.  It would be difficult to ever put this author in any particular category.  I like that in my favourite authors – pigeon-hole immunity.  Mr Carey has that in spades.  Obviously it helps that his writing is excellent too but picking up one of his books is almost unnerving because you just don’t know what it’s going to be about and the sense of anticipation is quite delicious.

What I can say is I loved this.  It made for compulsive reading and I read it in two days which for a book that sits at just over 500 pages is some going.  I mean this wasn’t just compulsive, it was nail bitingly good.  All the cliches – name them – I couldn’t put it down, I read into the early hours, I was on the edge of my seat.  Yes, yes, yes.  All of those things and then some.

So, what can I safely tell you.

Well, the book follows two main characters.  Two characters with two things in common.  Firstly, they’ve both suffered traumatic events.  Secondly, they both share the same therapist.

Liz is a divorced mother of two.  Her ex husband is manipulative and controlling and he used to use Liz as his own personal punch bag.  She’s a likable character, her neighbours and colleagues rally around her and her two children adore her.  She can come across as a little bit weak but to be honest the gradual spiral into domestic violence that her relationship eventually took would be enough to wear anyone down.  Starting with mental abuse and eventually becoming physical it took a lot for Liz to finally walk away and in fact she really took the step to protect her children, not herself.

Fran is a teenage girl.  When she was a little girl she was abducted by a man named Picota and was missing for a couple of days before the police found her.  Her abductor is now held in a state facility after being deemed mentally unstable.  Fran still suffers a great deal from the attack experiencing nightmares and hallucinations.  She has an imaginary friend named Jinx, a protector and cartoon character from an old favourite show about knights and codes of honour.  I think everyone is going to love Jinx.  Trust me on this one.

There are a number of other significant characters.  Liz’s ex husband Marc for example, the children, Fran’s father, the therapist and what really worked for me is how well the dynamics are between them all.  They’re believable characters.  They’re relatable.  They’re imperfect.  They have typical lives, some of the time quite bland but they’re basically getting on with living – it’s almost like you’re reading about the normal lives of normal people but before you get too comfortable (aka just as you’re getting comfortable) Carey pops in a little seed of something different and before you know it it’s grown into something else that’s totally unexpected and chilling and you have to read more, you have to know what’s going to happen next, things have gone to hell in a handcart in fairly short order and you really didn’t see it coming – and there doesn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel.  Send help.  And who is this other character who I shall not mention?

I’m not really sure what else I can tell you.  This is partly mystery, partly thriller, partly magical realism.  It’s subtle and unusual.  The writing is excellent, the pacing is good and the ending is tense.  I wouldn’t say the concept is totally unique, I’ve read or watched similar things but to be honest this one takes the idea in it’s own direction and one that I didn’t foresee.

I think if you’re expecting a straight up, no nonsense, no para-normal elements type of read then this might not be for you – although, I would say, cast aside any pre-determined notions and give it a shot anyway.  It’s a really great story and it defied my attempts at second guessing what was going on.  I  started out thinking maybe this was a look at mental health issues, I had a moment of maybe thinking it’s a ‘what if/Sliding Doors’ type of story but I eventually realised that whilst both of those have a part in the story they’re not the complete picture.

I’m sorry if this isn’t helpful.  All I can hope that you take from this review is that I thoroughly loved reading this and I hope you will too.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

 

 

 

 

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17 Responses to “Someone Like Me by M.R. Carey”

  1. Shalini

    You are not giving anything away, are you? Cheeky… I have this book.. Got to get to it asap

  2. Barb (boxermommyreads)

    Seems like people are enjoying this book yet having trouble not giving anything away. I certainly want to read it and enjoyed your thoughts. Glad you liked it too!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Ohh. I can’t wait for you to read and review it – it’s sooooo god damned hard to review without spoiling things.
      I loved it though.
      Lynn 😀

  3. Tammy

    All of this! And you’re right, the best way to go into this book is without any preconceived ideas about what to expect. Just dive in😁

  4. Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    OK, both you and Tammy loved this, I need to read it.

    • @lynnsbooks

      It’s really gripping. Not a totally unique idea in some ways but in spite of this it just pulled me in really quickly.
      Lynn 😀

  5. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    “compulsive” is indeed the right word for this book – one of the very rare instances when I almost missed my subway stop because I was totally immersed in the story 😀
    And good job in not… spilling the beans: I know how hard it was!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I’m struggling with some of these reviews atm – difficult to say anything without becoming spoilery. And yes this was very compulsive.
      Lynn 😀

  6. sjhigbee

    A really great review, Lynn and congratulations to you and everyone else whose reviews I’ve read on this book – no one has spilt any beans:).

    • @lynnsbooks

      It would be such a shame to spoil the story for others. 😀

      • sjhigbee

        Yes – though lots of folks don’t manage it so successfully:)

  7. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    I am in the middle of this one right now and it is so different from Carey’s other work I’ve read, I’m still trying to wrap my head around what I think! But I’m enjoying it so far 🙂

  8. waytoofantasy

    Really looking forward to this one! Great review, makes me even more hyped. 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yes, yes, read it soon. Then we can talk about it.
      Lynn 😀

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