When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card.
There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.
As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder.
I liked this book and I hated this book. It was creepy as hell in a great way – the kind of creepy I actually wanted The Circle to be – and why I tend to shy away from social media. I couldn’t, however, get past the fact that Beck was a complete and total moron. She loses her phone and never thinks to change her password? Or hit the button Gmail has right on the home page to sign out all other computers that are logged in?
And that’s why I hated this book. Why was Beck the object of Joe’s obsession? What was it about her, other than she walked into his store and bought a couple of books? She treated him like garbage, she lied, she ignored him, and he panted over her like a dog with a slab of bacon. Was it physical – we were never told. It certainly wasn’t intellectual – her emails and tweets showed her to be nothing but a shallow, selfish little girl. This deeper connection, this understanding of why Beck was the mouse in Joe’s house, would have made this book all the creepier.
It also wouldn’t have hurt for a good editing – the book was just too long and went on longer than it needed to. But if you want to be creeped out and prompted to change every password and lock down every one of your online accounts, this book will do the trick.