Saturday, October 19, 2019

Book Review: The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves

Annika is awkward and doesn't have many friends. She meets Jonathan at the chess club in college and they hit it off immediately. Others are surprised as he's not a fellow awkward person, but they connect and he appreciates her way of thinking while she appreciates his willingness to work with her quirkiness. They get into a serious relationship pretty fast. And as they're both seniors, graduating soon, they start planning their post-college lives together: moving to New York City and starting careers.

Then something bad happens. And neither of them handle the fallout of it very well. And that's the end of their relationship.

Ten years later, they run into each other in a grocery store in Chicago, where they most now live. They are still attracted to each other, and both of them seem to have improved a bit in the ensuing years. Can they rekindle their old relationship? Or will circumstances tear them apart again?

I really did like this story being mostly told from the POV of a character on the autism spectrum. It gave a unique perspective. And it addresses some serious subjects like how in depression a person can run off their friends who are trying to help. I wasn't crazy about the ending which felt a bit contrived, but I went with it. And I really liked the dual narrators--although I preferred the woman (is that because Annika is a bigger character than Jonathan in the book? I don't know. I don't often like fiction on audio but this one worked for me. Not a lot of characters to keep track of and even though the narration jumps back and forth in time (not linearly like I've retold the plot here), that was easy enough to follow.

This book is published by Macmillan, my employer. But I listened to the audiobook from my local library via Overdrive/Libby.

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