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Review: The Hypnotist's Love Story

The Hypnotist's Love Story The Hypnotist's Love Story by Liane Moriarty
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As with all other books by Liane Moriarty, I loved The Hypnotist's Love Story. She has such a skill to allow you to reflect on who you are while you get to know the characters she created. Unlike her other books, I did not really relate to any of the characters here. Ellen is lovely and very much like a friend of mine, but not at all like me. And Saskia, who Moriarty tried so hard to make sympathetic, should be taken out and shot to death. Seriously, if Ellen and Patrick were real people and asked for my help in killing Saskia, I would do it. Remember how I said Moriarty invites you to look at yourself?

Unlike Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, Saskia is written as a real, complete, complicated person... one who shows very clearly how a normal person can turn into a creepy stalker. She was not violent, as we expect most stalkers to be. So why did I hate her so virulently? Because of who I am and what I fear, of course. As a gun owner and veteran, I almost fear the threat of violence less than I fear what Saskia did... for years. Because if she came into your house to hurt you, you could shoot her. Legally. In the back, if you wanted (I live in a state with some very extreme home protection laws). But without that threat of violence, you are completely owned by this woman. Everywhere you go, there she is. She sends texts, emails, and voicemails constantly. Follows you on dates. Then follows your dates around in their own life. She goes in your house while you're not there. Shows up to your kid's soccer games. But she's not touching you. She's not threatening you. And you can't prove she was ever in your house. Stalking laws have improved over the years, but still there's only so much you can do. That level of helplessness to legally extricate a stalker from your life is maddening.

So even though this book was not a thriller, it set my teeth on edge more often than you would expect from chick lit. It was wonderfully written, but I finished the book feeling not at all like I did with Moriarty's other books. Here, there was no jubilant happiness for the characters and their outlook for the future. Just a general contentedness that Ellen and Patrick would build a lovely life together, and the hope that Saskia would one day soon be hit by a bus.

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