REVIEW: Watching You Without Me by Lynn Coady

Why do we feel the need to be polite to people who cross the line and act inappropriately? Maybe it is part of the Maritimes etiquette which requires us to be friendly and polite. I'd like to believe I would never be a na├»ve as Karen, but what makes this story so scary is that maybe it actually could happen to me.

“I had forgotten how smallish cities like this one worked, the way people found out about one another—and east coast people had a knack for this in particular.”

Karen’s mother has just died, and her older sister, Kelli, needs a caregiver. So Karen takes a month off work in Toronto to come home to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, to transition her sister into a care home. Her mother left a binder called “Kelli’s World!” which details the programs and helpers that are part of Kelli’s schedule.

One of these helpers is Trevor, who takes Kelli for walks twice a week. Right from the get go, Trevor is annoying. After a few chapters, I want to punch him in the face, and slap Karen because she refuses to set boundaries.

And Trevor is SO inappropriate. Looking back, Karen chalks up her gullibility to grieving for her mother and being overwhelmed with Kelli’s care. But everyone around Karen knows that Trevor is bad news, and his behavior just gets creepier. Karen continues to enable him until she finds herself in a scary situation.

“What was wrong with you, friends always ask when I get to this part of the story.”

Watching You Without Me is a compulsively readable story. It's set in east coast Canada, and I feel right at home among the tea and pop and Coach’s Corner—there is even a nod to Mr. Dressup.

Lynn Coady is a skilled writer. I love it when I discover a great Canadian author. I will be reading more of her novels.

Triggers: gaslighting, sexual abuse

I would like to express my thank to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an advance reader's copy of this book. This is my honest review.

Watching You Without Me
Lynn Coady
ARC from House of Anansi Press
376 pages


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