Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Blueeyedboy by Joanne Harris

GENRE: psychological thriller

"Once there was a widow with three sons, and their names were Black, Brown and Blue. Black was the eldest; moody and aggressive. Brown was the middle child, timid and dull. But Blue was his mother's favourite. And he was a murderer." Blueeyedboy is the brilliant new novel from Joanne Harris: a dark and intricately plotted tale of a poisonously dysfunctional family, a blind child prodigy, and a serial murderer who is not who he seems. Told through posts on a webjournal called badguysrock, this is a thriller that makes creative use of all the multiple personalities, disguise and mind games that are offered by playing out a life on the internet.

Blogging can be dangerous. It can be used as a way of teasing people, stalking them and on occasion even murdering them. The man whose blogging alias is blueyedboy knows all about it.

Blueeyedboy runs a website called bayguysrock, a haven for those who think they have a bad streak in them or are a little twisted, but in truth, they are just people who want to appear that way because in real life, they are loners and losers. Blueeyed boy is one of them – a loner, still living at home at the age of forty, controlled by his mother. But something separates him from the rest of the loners and losers on the blog – he has killed before and he is planning another murder. He posts his thoughts and plans, as well as explanations of his past, in the form of stories and the majority of bloggers cheer him on, believing he is only a very good writer. Some bloggers hate him, chastising his twisted mind. And there is one blogger, Albertine, with whom he shares his past. She is the main focus of his attention and he is determined to drive her to the edge and do something hideous for him.

This is a complex story, with narration shifting between blueyedboy and Albertine. They present both sides of the coin and when the reader combines both their narratives, they learn the truth. But the truth is far from simple. The novel features quite a few startling revelations and the reader must really pay attention to every word that is written, to every piece of information that is revealed. Here, I must say that my one complaint relates precisely to the amount of revelations in this novels. Towards the end, I actually got a little bit confusedby them and had to return back a few pages to understand what had just happened. The plot twists really are startling and work so well in the story and make it a very delightful psychological thriller, but still, I felt that perhaps there were too many plot twists.

The characters are really intriguing, especially blueyedboy and Albertine. They have real names, but I cannot mention it, as that would be a major spoiler. I would also rather not say too much about blueyedboy and Albertine, again to avoid spoilers, but they truly are playing a game of cat and mouse that kept me on the edge of my seat.

I liked the inclusion of a very interesting topic and that is synesthesia. Very simply put, people with this ability can smell colours or see noises, meaning that the real information of one sense is accompanied by a perception in another sense. It can be a quite tricky thing and being a synesthet is not easy. I was not very familiar with synesthesia before and I think the author did a great job at explaining it and including it into the story. Synesthesia plays quite an important role in the novel. Two characters have it.

Colours play an important role in this novel, too, and I definitely like the idea of colours defining people. Blueeyedboy sees people in colours and he sees blue a lot - blue, among other things, is, in his eyes, the colour of murder.

Blueeyedboy is a very gripping psycholigical thriller, sometimes darkly comical, osmetimes creepy. It is a compley story about old resentments and the danger of online identities. If you like psychological thrillers, you will definitely enjoy Blueeyedboy.

I read the novel for the British Books Challenge 2011 hosted by The Bookette.



Unknown said...

Hey! Nice review. I read this one sometime last year and remember thinking the exact same thing as you. By the time I got to end I was really confused because I hadn't been keeping track of which posts were public and which ones were private!

Jan von Harz said...

Wow this book is very interesting and creepy sounding. I have to admit, it is exactly the kind of adult read I love. Your excellent review has me wanting it and I might buy it and give it to my sister as she loves thrillers like this too. Thanks!

Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read said...

@booksploring: Thanks! Yes, it gets confusing, doesn't it? I mean, it's a great story, just a tad confusing towards the end.

@Jan: I'm glad my review makes you want to read the book and buy a copy for your sister! It really is a great thriller.

Jo K said...

This sounds interesting. Defenitely something I'll try to read in the future.

The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

Sounds creepy but also really exciting-I want to read more thrillers this year so I'll definitely want to check this out.

Blodeuedd said...

That was certainly somewhat of a disturbing blurb, my eyes popped up a bit, and then I got really interested too :)
nice review

Unknown said...

I am completely fascinated by synesthesia. It must be such an interesting way to intrepret the world. I'd definitely like to read a book with a character like that in it but not this one. Crikey I think it would be far too dark for me. Great review though!

MaddieMay said...

Hi, I just read this book and came out super confused at the end. Was wondering if you had any insights into what exactly happened at the end??

MalteseReader said...

I have just finished reading this book too and have been searching the net for any discussion thread which can confirm or not my thoughts on the ending .... can we discuss here or would it be too much of a spoiler for would-be readers?