Did I like this book? Wrong question. In fact it’s the worst question you could ask about a book like Obsession. Amanda Robson debut novel is not a book anyone can ever say the ‘liked’ and I challenge you to say otherwise.
First off, I don’t mean at all that this is not a good book, not in fact one of the best of its kind. The thing is if you’re into books where the good guy wins in the end then you’re looking in the wrong place. Because in this one nobody wins. The characters are hateful 90% of the time and it shows a skill as a writer to be able to put together a novel where you can’t even like a child character.
Now as anyone who regularly reads my blog knows, I don’t finish books which I think are rubbish. So the fact I got to the end of this one shows that it is definitely worth a read. Just don’t accept a happy ending. Expect that the characters you initially like soon become characters you abhor and expect that the constant references to Jenni’s muddy, cow pat, massive eyes and the frequent religious obsession is going to get on your nerves. But that’s the beauty of it (I think) it’s supposed to. It stressed me out. But I think that was the point.
I’ve seen this novel described on Goodreads as being like watching an accident unfold and being unable to stop it. That’s exactly correct, you can see all the pieces falling together but none of the characters can and the frustration is what forces you forward and pushes you to continue reading. The repetition of names and words and the frequent addresses to the same points irritate you to the point that you feel the narrating characters own feelings towards the character they’re describing. You know that one person who gets on your nerves no matter what they do? This book is that person.
I give it 3* as there were bits that could have been better, I feel certain parts of the plot could have been explored more in depth and that certainly some parts of it seemed as if the author had begun with one idea and then not fully persued it leaving the reader feeling a little lost. The relationship between Jenni and Rob being a prime example. Did it have anything to do with the initial question in the end? I’m not so sure. I like the idea that this book went with but I’m unsure it had the overall desired effect.