If you’ve been paying attention to the Netflix world these past few months, you might have heard of a little show called You starring Penn Badgley, Elizabeth Lail, and Shay Mitchell. What you might not have realized (because I didn’t until after the fact) is that it is based off of the novel You by Caroline Kepnes. The novel is available to check out as a digital copy or as a physical copy; follow the link to reserve your spot!
What appears to be a chance meeting for Guinevere Beck in Brooklyn has actually been carefully orchestrated by East Village bookstore owner Joe Goldberg, who had Googled the name on her credit card when she visited his shop. Beck’s social media profiles are all public and tells Joe everything he needs to know without doing much besides scrolling through her posts. Joe begins obsessively taking over Beck’s life by choreographing event after event to make Beck fall into his waiting arms over and over again, and wedging himself so deeply into her life that he becomes her boyfriend. There is no limit to what Joe will do to remove any obstacle standing in his and Beck’s way, even if it means murder.
Reminiscent of Humbert Humbert of Lolita, You will have you darkly rooting for Joe while also being kind of terrified by how easy it is to stalk people (or be stalked!) in today’s world, where lots of your information is readily available with a simple Google search. The Netflix show is equally creepy, if not more so because Joe’s actions are placed directly in front of your eyeballs.
Psychological thriller fans (and anyone who uses social media) will love being creeped out by this duology by Caroline Kepnes. Be sure to look for the second book, Hidden Bodies, which continues Joe’s story.
Happy Reading (and Watching)!
First published in 2008, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society has made its way to the small, streaming screen of Netflix just this year. I noticed it when I was scrolling through, looking for something to watch, and knew I had to read the book first before I watched the movie. I’m annoying like that.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows takes place just after the end of World War II in 1946. Parts of London remain piles of rubble and people still wait for loved ones to return from the prison camps they were sent to overseas. The war in its entire horror has not yet been realized by the characters, but life still goes on. Juliet Ashton is engaged in a cross-country tour of England, promoting the book she wrote under her pen name, Izzy Bickerstaff. The book is a compilation of the columns she wrote about life during World War II, and despite the success of it, Juliet wishes to retire her pen name and write something of substance under her own name.
While trying to come up with a book idea of her own, Juliet receives a letter from Dawsey Adams, a complete stranger, who lives on the island of Guernsey and has come into possession of her old copy of Essays of Elia by Charles Lamb. Dawsey requests more information about the author and any other information and news Juliet can give him since the Nazis cut off all communication with the world outside of the island for five years during the German Occupation. Dawsey also mentions that he’s a part of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which immediately piques Juliet’s interest. Thus begins a correspondence between Juliet, Dawsey, and other members of the society and their adventures during the war.
The premise of the novel itself is unique, but so is the epistolary format in which it is told. In other words, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is told completely in letters between the various characters, making it a super quick and entertaining read. The Netflix film features big-ticket names like Lily James, Michiel Huisman, Glen Powell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Katherine Parkinson, Matthew Goode, Tom Courtenay, and Penelope Wilton. I can’t wait to see it! (And compare/contrast/dissect every way in which the book is different; I’m annoying like that.)
Happy Reading! (And Watching!)