Someone Like Me is a novel by M.R. Carey.
Finished on: 17.11.2020
Content Note: domestic violence, stalking
Liz tries really hard to bring up her two children and keep her abusive ex-husband in check. But one night when he brings them back to her and she confronts him with the fact that he is late, he almost kills – until something takes over her and almost kills Marc right back. Liz is understandably shaken and worried about psychiatric issues, especially since what took over her – or rather who – doesn’t seem to want to leave. Meanwhile Fran, a school mate of Liz’ son Zak, also struggles with her own trauma. She was abducted when she was a child and ever since, she has had Jinx, an imaginary fox, accompany her. She knows that Jinx isn’t real, but she is a comfort. When her issues flare up again and she arranges an appointment with her psychiatrist, seeing Liz there. Only she sees something strange about Liz, something that isn’t right. When Fran and Zak get closer and Fran is actually introduced to Liz, things keep getting stranger still.
Someone Like Me is a rather slow book, but not in the sense that it gets boring. I’d say it sits more on the thriller side of things than on the horror side, which is not that much my cup of tea, but it still worked for me, albeit not as well as The Girl with All the Gifts.
Someone Like Me has a very strong opening scene – Marc’s attack on Liz is extremely vivid and really hits home. The scene definitely left me breathless and I never personally experienced domestic violence. I can only imagine how it must affect somebody who has. Generally the book shows the insidious ways of abuse in a partnership, even after the partnership ended and how it will leave scars on the entire family.
This angle of the story resonated particularly well with me, and I have to admit that I was a little more interested in Liz’ part of the book than I was in Fran’s. Although I very much appreciated the realistic approach to Fran’s psychiatric treatment. It is, unfortunately, rare to see psychiatry and psychotherapy accurately portrayed in fiction, and I felt that Carey is pretty spot-on here. And I did like Fran a lot. Jinx was cute and I liked how Fran’s relationship with Zak develops. Generally, Zak was a strong and realistic character, too, but not as much at the forefrunt as Liz and Fran.
Things advance slowly in the novel and it’s generally not very short. Nevertheless, the book never gets boring. Carey keeps you guessing a little in which direction he will take the story, but I have to admit that I probably needed to guess less than was intended. But since the book still worked for me, that wasn’t a problem.
I don’t really have anything bad to say about the book, and yet that last bit of excitement on my part is missing to really make me love it. It is a very good read. But. I can’t put my finger on what it was, but maybe whatever is missing for me will be there for you. It’s definitely worth a try.
Summarizing: Very good.