Tuesday, November 21, 2017

book thoughts: Are You Sleeping? by Katheen Barber

The basics: When Reconsidered, a podcast examining the murder of Charles Buhrman, becomes a huge hit, it sends many lives into chaos, including his daughter, Josie, who has done all she can to distance herself from the family after his murder.

My thoughts: Although I didn't love it as much as some people, I was caught up in the podcast Serial several years ago. That podcast inspired the fictional podcast in this novel. Josie narrates this novel, but her narration is intermixed with podcast transcripts, Reddit forums, and Tweets. As a narrator, Josie is frustrating at times. She's not necessarily unreliable, but she doesn't share all she knows (and to do so would ruin much of the suspense.) As a reader, I know I see situations differently when I'm reading a book and looking for clues than I would if it were my life, but it can still be a frustrating experience.

I knew very little about this novel going into it, and I think that's best. As we learn more about Josie and her past, it puts a very human face on pop cultural true crime obsession. In that sense, this novel is partially social commentary and partially an engaging mystery.

Favorite passage:  "The truth is never complicated. It’s just the truth. Circumstances may be complicated, but the truth is always black and white."

The verdict: I enjoyed the mixed media elements of this novel the most. The mystery itself was underwhelming at times, but the premise as clever enough to elevate this novel. It's a fun, fast-paced reading experience, but the payoff wasn't as big as I hoped.

Rating: 4 out of 5
Length: 337 pages
Publication date: August 1, 2017
Source: publisher

Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy Are You Sleeping? from Amazon (Kindle edition.)

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