Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Crazy Love You

Author: Lisa Unger
Genre: Suspense
Type: Hardcover
Source: Local Public Library
Pages: 352
Publisher: Touchstone
First Published: February 2015
First Line: "As I pulled up the long drive, deep potholes and crunching gravel beneath my wheels, towering pines above me, I was neither moved by the natural beauty nor stilled inside by the quietude."

Book Description from GoodReads:  Love hurts. Sometimes it even kills… 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…

My Review:  After reading a blurb on this book I was eager to read it.  It sounded like a juicy, edge-of-your-seat suspenseful read.  Bring it on, Unger!

The story is ultimately about Ian and his rocky relationship with his childhood friend Priss,  the only positive thing to come out of his horrible childhood.  The story is told via flashbacks to Ian's youth where the reader gets to witness the shocking events that shaped his life and strengthened his bond with Priss, who eagerly became his avenging angel as he tried to survive childhood bullies and a very dysfunctional family life.  Priss is a complex, ambiguous and rather nasty character even though she professes to love Ian. 

As I was reading I wasn't sure if I could trust Ian as the narrator.  I believe Unger wrote it this way to increase the suspense for the reader and for the majority of the book I liked that 'not knowing' element.  It added to the suspense and learning more about Priss is what kept me going -- Was Priss a real person or something his mind imagined in order to get through the horrible childhood he had?  

Sadly, by the time I was three-quarters of the way through the book I was getting tired of reading about similar circumstances and conversations that seemed to get replayed over and over regarding the triangle of Ian, Priss and Megan, Ian's girlfriend.  I was getting a little irritated trying to figure out if Priss was real or just in Ian's imagination.  (Note: there's still one situation involving Ian and Priss that makes me scratch my head because it just didn't seem physically plausible in the end). 

It was also at this point in the book that it took on a very different feel and I didn't like it. Typically you'd think that I'd enjoy the path that the book took but not in this instance.  It led up to a very unsatisfying and weak ending.  After following all of Ian's issues it was frustrating that the ending wasn't strong.  It was ambiguous and the truth about Priss felt like a last minute cop-out to me.

I will say though that I felt the characters were well drawn out.  I may not have liked them all but they did have a troubled, chaotic authenticity to them.  From Priss and her self-involvement and anger, to Ian and his self-loathing issues to Megan who wanted to fix and take care of Ian no matter his issues, they were quite vividly described.

I've given this book a 3 star rating because, while I didn't like the ending, the book did keep my interest most of the time and the premise was quite intriguing.  Unfortunately that's as high of a rating as I can give due to the lackluster ending and the repetitive situations and conversations that made the plot seem to not have enough meat on it to sustain a whole book.

My Rating: 3/5 stars

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