The Other Me by Saskia Sarginson
Genres: Contemporary Adult Fiction, Mystery, Historical Fiction
Published by Piatkus in March 2015
Read Paperback, 366 pages
(2 / 5)
Summary (via Goodreads)
Eliza Bennett has the life she’s always dreamed of.
She’s who she wants to be, and she’s with the man she loves.
But Eliza is living a lie. Her real name is Klaudia Meyer.
And Klaudia is on the run. She’s escaping her old life, and a terrible secret buried at the heart of her family.
This is the story of Eliza and Klaudia – one girl, two lives and a lie they cannot hide from.
Psychological and suspenseful: the gripping story of one girl living a double life.
I have an issue with DNF’ing books. Typically, if I make it where I only have 50-75 pages left of a book I want to DNF I will suck it up and finish it in hopes that something will take a turn that will salvage the book. Sadly, this book was a book where the last 50-75 pages saved me from DNF’ing the book and ultimately I wish at this point I had just given up on the book. I could have read something I enjoyed, but instead, I slugged through more pages filled with disappointment. But let me not dwell on the what if. On to the book, but first- be prepared, this is a long review.
I have several problems with The Other Me. The first issue I have is how it is labelled as a psychological thriller and mystery. Personally, I do not see it as either because there are not any qualities that made it either. You need a mystery for it to be a mystery. The main character of Eliza/Klaudia trying to untangle and come to terms with her background is not really a mystery in my opinion. That to me is more about self-discovery, which is different from a mystery in my mind. But for the sake of playing devil’s advocate, I can stretch a bit and possibly agree that it is kind of a mystery. But in terms of a psychological thriller, I cannot try to explain or agree as to how it could be one because it just was not there.
The second issue I had is with the prologue. I do not feel what I am about to say is spoiling the book in any way because it is the prologue, but I will keep it brief. The prologue is terribly misleading and not in a way that sets the book up for a good mystery or thriller. It sets the book up for something it is not. It foreshadows, but it foreshadows in a way that makes it feel like it is going to be a thriller, but the book reveals very quickly it is not to going to be a thriller. Personally, the book would have been much better without the prologue- I would not have been waiting for an entire book for mystery/thriller to happen when it was not- this might have saved a lot of the disappointing feelings I am having over this book.
Next issue. I was constantly asking myself the question of- what is the point? And I do not just mean the point of the book as a whole, I mean the point of the actions of each character. What is the point? The reason I would label this book as dull is because 99.9% of the time I never found a point. It was just something a character did without any plot or character development. When I read a book, there are two things I am looking for: character and plot development. This book lacked both.
To focus more on the plot again, I do not feel like there is much of a plot. Anything significant introduced at the beginning of the novel never developed. For example, dance, specifically ballet, is very important to Eliza/Klaudia. A great deal of the book mentions her want to dance; however, I never saw a connecting thread between her need to dance other than it being a convenient way for other non-developing “plot points” to occur. I feel like that was setup for something good, but nothing came to fruition.
On to the characters: Again, no development, even the main character of Eliza/Klaudia. I feel like when she finally sorts through her background that she would gain some growth, but it felt extremely rushed at the end. And then, to move on to the ending which came suddenly, it was just this thrown together “happily ever after” moment. I just did not get it. Not to make the book about what I would have done, but the book could have really benefited from spending time at the end where Eliza/Klaudia deals with her background and mature that point, as opposed to throwing on this ending that came out of nowhere.
The final issue I will discuss with the book is it as a historical work of fiction. The book jumps back and forth between the present and around the time of World War II. We see Klaudia’s father and uncle dealing with the rise of Hitler and how they both play a role in the war. I have just seen this story line before. There did not feel anything new to it and I was easily able to see where this section of the book was going. This again, was a missed opportunity.
So, to end this very long review, I want to say that I really did want to love this book. It was recommended to me and I do believe it had the bones, so to speak, to be a great mystery and thriller; however it fell short on all the things I discuss above and more. There are a lot of missed opportunities and it was overall disjointed and lacking. I give this book a two out of five stars.