Author: Robin Yeatman
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication date: February 14, 2023
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
One Sentence Summary: When Victoria sees a man she deems to be her soulmate, she’ll do anything to make him hers, even make sure her husband meets an unfortunate end.
Bookworm is all about Victoria trying half-baked ideas to get rid of her husband so she can be with the man she thinks is her soulmate all because they were reading the same book. Or are they half-baked? This managed to be both dark and lighthearted with some truly odd and bizarre events, but I couldn’t pull my eyes away from this one. I found the writing to be compelling and Victoria to be either crazy or a mastermind. The ending has me looking at the entire story in a different way, which is good because I truly didn’t like Victoria, and none of the other characters were any better, though I did appreciate the bit of depth given to Eric. Bookworm is such a strange story, but it did make me think and wonder once I finished it, and I did like that it reminded me of a thriller in an unexpected way.
Bookworm captured my attention from the first chapter, keeping me engaged from page to page for the entirety of the novel, which is quite a rare thing for me to find these days. Of course, I did have some issues with the book, but I found the writing style to be engaging and Victoria to be absolutely nuts. My favorite part was getting to the end and feeling like this was something of a thriller from the opposite point of view. I mean, if this were from Eric’s point of view, it may very well be a thriller about a man on edge because his wife is unstable. I didn’t care for the cheating aspects, but watching Victoria slowly spiral was like watching a slow train wreck, and I could not look away.
Victoria didn’t actually have a lot of depth to her. The daughter of two people who didn’t actually care much to raise a child and instead went out to make tons of money, she’s basically been pushed to marry a man handpicked by her parents. Eric is from old money and makes plenty of his own as a lawyer up for making partner, so he’s constantly busy, but there’s no love lost between him and Victoria so she doesn’t mind. After a stint running off and living something of a hippy lifestyle, she’s now stuck living in a white gilded cage with no exit. It takes about 25% of the way in for the reader to start to understand why Victoria is so stuck. There’s a lot of pressure on her from literally all fronts, even from her best friend who basically worships Eric, to make the marriage a go, never mind all the constraints she lives under that she doesn’t like. It’s a good thing she has her books, but everyone seems to think she reads a little too much. She’s kind of an odd character to follow in that she doesn’t seem to have much of a backbone or independent streak. Or, at least, not enough of one to just leave her marriage and everyone’s expectations behind. I think she quite likes the pampered lifestyle and that’s why she plots and plans what she does.
And what plots and plans she has! Much of this book really made me feel like Victoria was losing it. After seeing a man reading the same book as her, she thinks they’re fated to be together, going so far as to letting herself literally drift away from her body at night to go and visit him. I prefer to think she’s just dreaming, otherwise I’ll have to believe she’s delusional, which might not be too far off base. I couldn’t look away as she appeared to only have sort of an idea of how to off her husband. I did like the tension all of it provided, and I liked that she just didn’t seem to know what she was doing or how to do it. And then the end hits and I find myself thinking back through it all and feeling sorry for Luke, her dream man. The ending was absolutely nuts, but it really gave a good look into Victoria, casting doubt onto everything I was led to believe about her, which was good because she came off as mostly bland to me.
Then again, all of the characters felt kind of like caricatures. Her parents are stereotypical new money while her in-laws are stereotypical old money. Eric did have some depth to him, but he wants his cake and to eat it, too, and he was just came off as a bit too off, though there were certain signs I like to think Victoria saw since I saw it a mile away. Her best friend was entirely too perky and she felt like she didn’t actually have much of a brain. Luke had a lumberjack feel to him and just lacked the sophistication I had the feeling Victoria really did want. I just didn’t see the two together, and I’m starting to think Victoria might agree.
Fortunately, I did find myself having a great time wanting to see what Victoria’s next half-baked idea would be. It was fascinating to see what she was and wasn’t capable of. Maybe. I mean, the ending just makes me question everything I read, and how many other partners she might have tried to get rid of. Like the guy she ran off to be with before the start of the story. Whatever happened to him? Anyways, this was definitely on the dark side and had me thinking of this as a thriller from a non-traditional point of view (that I know of. I haven’t read as many thrillers I would like). But it was also oddly lighthearted, as though the story was poking a bit of fun at itself. It was such a fascinating combination, though Victoria’s daydreaming and weird out of body experiences just had me kind of side eyeing this story.
Reading Bookworm was a fascinating experience. I didn’t care for Victoria, but I also couldn’t look away from everything she was doing or not doing. I tend to think she has the idea that things are better on the other side and will ultimately never be satisfied, but I kind of hope there’s an investigator out there who is starting to be on to her. Lighthearted and dark, I actually had a good time reading this despite all the things I didn’t like. It was such a fun blend and Victoria’s thought processes were just so bizarre. The ending was probably my favorite part of this because it still has me thinking of what actually happened in the book, and what Victoria might do in the future
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3 thoughts on “Book Review: Bookworm by Robin Yeatman”
I didn’t quite see the ending happening the way it did, either! I felt kind of bad for those involved even if I thought they were less than stellar characters. Au contraire, though, I didn’t really think Eric had any depth haha. Maybe that’s because the POV is from Victoria, but he seemed like a really boring pill to me lol.
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I’m not sure why I liked Eric’s character so much, but, since this is told by Victoria, I always felt like her feelings about him colored the reader’s perception of him but his behaviors added another layer. Or maybe I’m just trying to find one character that wasn’t totally awful and I felt it should be the dead person. Though I think there should be a second book so we know how Victoria offs Luke, haha.
Honestly I thought all the characters were unlikable, which I think was the point lol. But yes, since the POV is Victoria’s, the reader’s perception of him is definitely biased.