Book Review: Providence by Caroline Kepnes
ashley | I was a little awestruck by the way Caroline Kepnes got in the head of an obsessive stalker in You. I found the book downright creepy to read, and yet I went back for seconds when she released Hidden Bodies. Kepnes’ new book, Providence, steps away from this character and story, but I was curious to see what kind of mind she put herself into next.
I was actually really surprised to find this is more of a sci-fi novel than anything else. If that is how you can describe it. It’s a bit of a mix of genres and I wasn’t expecting that. I also think that this is the kind of book that you’re either going to like, or not. For me, I think I was stuck somewhere in the middle.
It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy the story, I think it was more that I couldn’t appreciate the H.P. Lovecraft inspired horror and the many nods towards Lovecraft throughout. It takes the tone of a classic horror story, where you have a monster who just wants to be loved, but he keeps hurting the people around him without meaning to. I can appreciate the sentiment of that story, but I found it kind of dragging for me and I also found I didn’t have a lot invested in any of the characters.
Things picked up toward the end of the book and I was very curious about what direction this was going to go in, how it was going to end. There was a lot of messaging in the dialogue and the actions of the characters that speak to the complexities of relationships and self identities and trying to find your place, which I enjoyed reading about, but putting all these different elements together in this one story didn’t necessarily completely fit for me.
Kepnes definitely always surprises me with her books. Sometimes in a great way, like with You, and sometimes in a more confusing and underwhelming way, like this. If you’re expecting a similar tale as You, you will be disappointed. But someone going into it with an open mind and a strong appreciation for the classic horror genre and Lovecraft will probably enjoy this quite a bit.
june 19, 2018