Book Review: When I Was You by Amber Garza
Kelly Medina is a mid-life empty nester looking for something to fill her days. An odd call from a paediatrician’s office clues her in that there is another Kelly Medina in town, this one with a young baby. And the older Kelly can’t quite resist finding out who this young woman is who shares her name.
It’s easy to feel sympathy with Kelly #1 (as I’ll call her). From the beginning it’s obvious she’s lonely, her son grown up and gone away to college, her husband only home on weekends. As more and more of her life is slowly revealed, her story becomes genuinely heartbreaking. Her obsession with Kelly #2 and her baby son Sullivan does get just a little bit creepy… until the big twist comes and we realise that it’s someone else who has been manipulating events all along.
There’s not a lot more I can say without spoilers, but this is a genuinely clever story. I didn’t particularly like Kelly #1, our protagonist, though I did feel immense sympathy for her; she was frustratingly passive and needed to have kicked her husband to the curb a long time ago. The villain was actually unhinged, and we got several excellent chapters in the villain’s point of view late in the story which I think was an excellent narrative choice; it held up a mirror and showed what Kelly #1 thought was happening was actually something completely different all along. We went from an unreliable (hiding things through grief) narrator to an unreliable (unhinged) narrator and it was absolutely fascinating. I couldn’t put this down. Five stars for an excellent psychological thriller.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.