I really wanted to love this book because Chris Bohjalian is a favorite author of mine. I am drawn to psychological thrillers, so I thought this book would sweep me away. But it didn’t. I found it rather contrived and unbelievable. And, without giving away the ending, I was left rather confused about the point of view of the book once the twist was revealed. There seemed to be so many plot holes and coincidences, and ultimately I wasn’t sure what was truth and what was not.
Bohjalian begins the novel with lots of back story. I found myself having to re-read sections to try to keep all the characters and events straight in my mind. I think Bohjalian probably could have shaved a third the back story off and had a more manageable story.
Laurel, the main character, and her friend Talia are two likeable characters. Their friendship makes sense; the reader finds herself wanting to know more about these two young women. Bohjalian’s handling of the men in the book, however, left me cold. Whit, the guy who I believe the reader is meant to like, comes across as sexually immature and patronizing. Laurel’s boyfriend – David – simply annoyed me…perhaps he was supposed to annoy me.
– From The Double Bind, page 163-164 –
It was this attitude – condescending and chauvinistic – that got under my skin.
Bohjalian has written a book about mental illness, and fantasy versus reality. He interjects a socially sensitive subject like homelessness and victimization and leaves the reader feeling manipulated rather than entertained.
I can’t recommend this one.