This book came highly recommended by Jonathan aka Bookseller Crow in the aftermath of my read of Saul and Patsy by Charles Baxter in turn read after Abide With Me by Elizabeth Strout because Barnes & Noble had paired them up.
You Remind Me of Me by Dan Chaon is one of those books that sinks its emotional hooks into you very firmly and doesn't let go. I couldn't read it in one go but might have done given the time.
It's the old "extraordinary lives of ordinary people" tag that I enjoy so much about these books.Ordinary equals human in my book.
In an average working day I probably meet and work with upwards of two dozen or more seemingly ordinary people living and experiencing extraordinary lives.I never ever cease to be amazed at how much people cope with on a daily basis especially when I sit and listen to some of what has gone before.Often, if you read it in a book, you would think it far fetched, more than the average person could ever assimilate and of course it's the assimilation that is often the trouble.
Three main characters in You Remind Me of Me, Nora,Troy and Jonah.It is Jonah who carries the scars visibly for all to see and Nora and Troy who bear them invisibly.
Jonah sets off in the search for his identity and to hopefully find some kith and kin in the process and what unfolds is a heartbreaking yet ultimately very satisfying story.
After I'd written this line I checked out some reviews and found just the right one "the happiest sad ending I've ever read".
You ache for Jonah every inch of the way and no less for Troy as the two of them attempt to come to terms with their past and their connections.Chaon keeps the momentum flowing perfectly with his fairly complex, non-linear narrative which made me work at the book, this learning of outcomes before events is always tantalising and always keeps me reading inquisitively.
I often wonder how books like this are written.In a non-linear way or as one long story which is then chopped up and reshuffled?
Somehow Dan Chaon does this so adroitly that, as long as I noted the dates at the start of each chapter, I avoided any confusion and emerged the other end with that "really good read" feeling.
Highly recommended, thanks Jonathan.