Tuesday 22 May 2018

'The Perfect Girlfriend' review: Addictive tale of twisted obsession that will stop at nothing to win

Crime: The Perfect Girlfriend, Karen Hamilton, Headline €10.99

The Perfect Girlfriend
The Perfect Girlfriend

Breda Brown

'If you love someone, set them free. If they come back, they're yours. If they don't, make them.' These lines from The Perfect Girlfriend, the debut novel by English writer Karen Hamilton, perfectly encapsulate the warped and twisted tale of obsession at the very heart of this gripping book.

To the outside world, Juliette is an ordinary young woman living a pretty ordinary life. Privately, however, she is totally infatuated with her ex-boyfriend Nate. Despite the fact they were only in a relationship for six months and he broke up with her, she is convinced they were destined to be together.

So instead of wallowing in heartache, she hatches a plan to win him back. She follows him, prowls on his social media channels and becomes utterly obsessed with his every move.

To keep an even closer eye on him, she goes as far as training to become a flight attendant for the airline where he works as a pilot. She infiltrates every aspect of Nate's life to achieve her goal - become his girlfriend again, marry him and live happily ever after.

Nate, meanwhile, has absolutely no idea what Juliette is up to and carries on living his life in sweet oblivion. Until, that is, the day he comes face to face with her at work.

At that stage, Juliette already has her reunion plan in full flow. Various hurdles obviously arise as the story unfolds, but nothing deters Juliette. Ever resourceful, she adapts as she goes and never loses sight of the prize - Nate.

The story is told entirely from Juliette's point of view, offering a really fascinating insight into the mind of a calculating and devious sociopath.

While she presents herself as perfectly normal in public life, her private thoughts are truly terrifying. Convinced she and Nate are meant to be, she truly believes in what she is doing and is able to justify every single action she makes.

While a lot of handy coincidences take place to help drive the narrative, the story is still tremendously absorbing. You really want to know more about this conniving woman who will stop at nothing to get what she wants. More importantly, you will keep reading to find out if Juliette succeeds in re-uniting with Nate.

The Perfect Girlfriend is a fresh take on the psychological thriller and will leave you wondering if you ever really know what goes on inside the head of another person.

You will close the last page hoping that you never encounter someone like Juliette in your life. Ever.

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