Review: FORGET YOU KNOW ME
Also by this author: Not That I Could Tell
Published by St. Martin's Press on February 5, 2019
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
FORGET YOU KNOW ME review
I went into Jessica Strawser’s Forget You Know Me expecting to read a thriller. What I got, however, was something entirely different and not necessarily in a bad way. Instead of being a thriller, Forget You Know Me is a powerful and emotional exploration of the hurt we all experience when we drift apart from someone we care about, be it a spouse, sibling, or a close friend.
There is a small “thriller” element that takes place in the early chapters of Forget You Know Me, but it’s only central to the plot in the sense that it serves as a catalyst to show just how far apart former best friends Molly and Liza have drifted over the years, as well as how fractured Molly’s relationship with her husband, Daniel, has become after years of neglect and taking advantage of each other.
During a video chat with Molly, for example, Liza sees something terrifying on screen that makes her jump in the car and drive hours to Molly’s house to make sure Molly is okay. When she arrives, however, instead of being grateful that her friend has come all this way to make sure she’s okay, Molly is cold and aloof and pretty much kicks Liza out of her house with no explanation. The awkwardness continues when not only does Molly offer Liza no explanation, but she also hides what has happened from her husband, who probably should have been the first person she told. Why the awkwardness and the secrets with the two people she should be closest to?
Strawser’s novel highlights the idea that you only get as much out of a relationship as you’re willing to put into it and just how fragile and fractured relationships can become if neglected.
My favorite part of Forget You Know Me was how well drawn all of the central characters are. The book is filled with messy, complicated characters who are going through things we can all relate to, whether we want to or not. Strawser does a wonderful job of making the ups and downs of the friendship between Molly and Liza feel so authentic. We’ve all been in relationships where we’ve just simply drifted apart over the years, either because we’ve moved away and don’t make enough of an effort to stay in contact, or else because our interests just don’t coincide with one another anymore.
Strawser does an equally impressive job of fleshing out the marriage woes between Molly and Daniel, who have clearly fallen into a rut over the years. Again, if you’ve been in any kind of long-term relationship, their relationship issues are oh-so-relatable.
In addition to complicated characters in relatable situations, Strawser also does a nice job of building a bit of suspense by keeping that thriller element lurking in the background throughout the novel as she is exploring the relationship struggles of her characters. The tension created by all of these troubled relationships, in addition to wanting a resolution to the thriller element, kept me glued to the pages.
Strawser’s smooth writing style also kept me turning the pages. Everything just flowed so nicely and I really liked the way this whole story unfolded with its many twists and turns.
My only real disappointment with the novel was that the thriller element, although it had such a huge build up in the early part of the novel, just seemed to fizzle out and take a backseat to everything else that was going on. I really expected and hoped that it would be more central to the story than it ended up being.
I would recommend Forget You Know Me to anyone who is interested in a slightly suspenseful read that explores relationships and what happens to them if they aren’t properly nurtured. If you’re looking for a true thriller, I’d say to try a different book.
“Forget You Know Me is that book you can’t put down, and can’t stop thinking about when you are finished.” —Sally Hepworth, bestselling author of The Family Next Door.
When a video call between friends captures a shocking incident no one was supposed to see, the secrets it exposes threaten to change their lives forever.
Molly and Liza have always been enviably close. Even after Molly married Daniel, the couple considered Liza an honorary family member. But after Liza moved away, things grew more strained than anyone wanted to admit—in the friendship and the marriage.
When Daniel goes away on business, Molly and Liza plan to reconnect with a nice long video chat after the kids are in bed. But then Molly leaves the room to check on a crying child.
What Liza sees next will change everything.
Only one thing is certain: Molly needs her. Liza drives all night to be at Molly’s side—but when she arrives, the reception is icy, leaving Liza baffled and hurt. She knows there’s no denying what she saw.
Or is there?
In disbelief that their friendship could really be over, Liza is unaware she’s about to have a near miss of her own.
And Molly, refusing to deal with what’s happened, won’t turn to Daniel, either.
But none of them can go on pretending. Not after this.
Jessica Strawser’s Forget You Know Me is a “twisty, emotionally complex, powder keg of a tale” (bestselling author Emily Carpenter) about the wounds of people who’ve grown apart. Best, friends, separated by miles. Spouses, hardened by neglect. A mother, isolated by pain.
One moment will change things for them all.
Excellent review, Suzanne! Thanks for the heads up about the thriller element. I’ll probably end up with this one at some point.
Jonetta (Ejaygirl) | Blue Mood Café recently posted…Murder on Fifth Avenue by Victoria Thompson
Thanks! If you do, I hope you enjoy it!
After reading the synopsis, I would expect it to be a thriller, so it’s a tad disappointing that it wasn’t more of a focus. I mean she sees someone in the house behind her friend while they’re video chatting, and then her friend acts super weird about it? There’s so much room for creepy in that scenario! I’m glad you liked it overall, and it does sound interesting. Thanks for sharing!
Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear? 💬
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Right? I was totally expecting that scene and what happens to be much more of a focus than it was. It was still a really good read, but I don’t see why it’s classified as a thriller.
I like that Strawser writes complex characters, but her books are constantly marketed as thrillers, when they’re really not!
Exactly. I really wish they would showcase them more along the lines of Women’s Fiction.
Well, that’s sort of a buzzkill, when you are expecting one kind of story and get something different. At least you seemed to find some things pleasing.
Sam@wlabb recently posted…#AmReading YA
Right? I’m not sure why her books keep getting marketed as thriller when they tend to be way more focused on characters and relationships.
A great review, Suzanne – thank you for your clear, considered thoughts on this book:)
You’re welcome. 🙂
Yeah, it’s definitely not a thriller, but it is a wonderful read! I loved the relationship dynamics. Happy you enjoyed it, too, Suzanne.
I really wish they would market her books a bit differently. I fell like the thriller label sells her short.
I am a little bit bummed that the thriller part isn’t as big as I hoped, because that was a huge part of what attracted me to it. But your description of the characters does sound really wonderful and complex, and these are the types of characters that make for the best books and read.
verushka Byrow recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Those characters that need their own stories told
Yes, I really wish they would market her books a little differently. Calling this one a thriller just really misses what it’s really about.
Great review. I hate when I think a book is one thing and because of marketing, it’s something totally different. It really throws me off and can totally ruin it for me.
Same. I’m glad I stuck with it even though it wasn’t what I was expecting because it did turn out to be a really good read.
Sorry it wasn’t more of a thriller! I hate going into books expecting something and not getting it at all, or not much of it.
ShootingStarsMag recently posted…AMC Oscar Showcase 2019: Mini Movie Reviews
Same, thankfully it was still a good read.
Glad this was still good, despite not being what you expected. It always impresses me when authors can write such complex characters and authentic-feeling relationships between them, like what you described.
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Same here. I know it’s in their skill sets as writers to do that, but it still always impresses how well some authors write those kinds of characters and relationships.