....(Just adding this update now from blog)
Lots of spoilers ahead, so let me say that if you haven't read this book, probably don't read the review until afterwards, because I really recommend reading this book.
Friends, allow me to tell you all about probably the best and most fucked up book I've read to date. Recently read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and I thought it was amazing and at the time the most fucked up, mind messing book I've ever read. Never have I been so wrong.
Alright from the top- Catherine is our main girl here. The book flips between a span of about 4 years, about Catherine's life before Lee and after Lee (kind of). You meet and fall in love with two completely separate characters basically that are the same girl, because the amount of trauma and change she's gone through in her life has made me become almost a completely different person. Cathy, the younger 20-something girl likes to live up the single life, get drunk with her friends, dance, date, fuck, whatever. All the things some 20-something girls tend to do. Catherine is a quiet, shy, introverted, extremely paranoid 28 year old with extreme OCD. She spends hours checking her apartment each night. Literally hours. She's so charming and smart, and she knows what she does is completely irrational, but she hasn't sought after any help thus far. It makes you wonder at this point what exactly happened in between Cathy and Catherine. Your heart literally breaks for this girls OCD behaviors and Haynes' writing is so beautiful and powerful, you yourself start to feel paranoid.
She enters a relationship with an incredibly handsome, mysterious, seemingly sweet man named Lee. Lee turns out to be batshit crazy. Like, not just perverted, psychotic, abusive crazy (but yet still all of those things) but like mentally, traumatically crazy. CRAZY! The shit he does in this book make you literally go like "WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK!" out loud when reading it. Ok, I've watched CSI. I know what kinda shit goes down a little tiny bit. But this? This is so wacked. Sorry, distracted. Back up. Lee won't tell Cathy what he does as a profession, besides being a bouncer part-time. I think it's weird from the beginning she trusts him about this, but she's always kinda skeptical, but he's so handsome and charming that everyone seems to love him. He has everyone fooled.
The first nutso thing happens when Cathy comes home and looks in her utensil drawer in her kitchen and the knives and forks have switched spots. Then she goes to the bathroom and the hamper is on the wrong side. You think, no biggie, right? But Lee says he's out of town. Why would someone come in just to switch those things? Like playing weird fucking mind games? For answer, see gif above.
He starts to follow her around and leave creepy naked pictures of her in her apartment. In increasingly hates when she goes out with her friends and tries to control her. Then he starts to beat and rape her. When she reaches out to her friends for help, she discovers Lee has already talked to them all about how Cathy is self-destructive and hurting herself and they believe him. Actually believe him. Worst. Friends. Ever. I don't think I could do that to a friend without meeting and talking with her first. I'd definitely think that he was the problem. Anyway, to speed this up, basically she's a smart girl and she knows she has to get the fuck away. She has no family, her friends think she's hurting herself, and her bf is a cop so he can track her down basically anywhere she goes. Scary. Eventually shes tied up, starved, beaten, cut, raped, etc. by Lee as she's locked in the spare room. Eventually she manages to be saved and he's put away for 3 years. Just 3 short years.
Meet Stuart. He's the nice man that lives above Catherine's flat, and is also a shrink, basically. He notices her signs of OCD and suggests that she get help. He's very supportive and kind in dealing with Catherine's 'checking', but knows a bit better how to handle her, I suppose. With his help and her own strength, she starts to get help. One day she finds out Lee is let out of jail and suffers a panic attack. Stuart helps her to try and move past it.
There's one part where Cathy walks into her apartment and knows somethings wrong. She checks everything and it seems to be okay. Gets dressed, goes to Stuart's. Later she finds this button in her pocket from the red dress that Lee would force her to wear. This part made me like this gif, basically. Not joking. Then he's so fucked guys. Like so fucked. She comes home another day and she notices that everything is fine and locked and nothing is out of place except one dish, spoon and glass in the drying rack next to the sink. And they aren't hers. I WAS LOSING MY SHIT AT THIS POINT. Then.... THEEEN. She's interviewing people. And he comes in. For an interview. With a fake name. And fake past. And just goes for a little visit.
Eventually, Catherine decides to learn to fight for herself and try not to live in fear of him. Bravo. Literally, bravo. I don't know if I could be that strong of a person after all she's been through. Honestly. I think I'd be so broken. He eventually breaks her into apartment, conks poor Stuart on the head, so Catherine stabs Lee with a potato peeler and then takes a spray deodorant and lighter and goes all flamethrower on his ass! BRA-FUCKING-VO. So awesome.
So in the end, her and her traitorous old bestie, Sylvia press charges against Lee again and it implies he's convicted.. no idea for how long. The final scene Catherine basically gets a letter from Lee that's uber creepy being all "Im sorry I love you, and I will get out and I will find you. Wait for me." Like, have fucking fun never sleeping again. Holy shit. Then leads Catherine to basically a grave with her old red dress over it.. and this grave contains Naomi. The first girl that Lee killed.
So yeah. Awesome, creepy, traumatizing book. Read it immediately. Immediately.