I am going to re-name this blog to BookReviewsByAGirlWhoHatesPsychologicalSuspenseAndReadsLiterallyNothingBut.org (because .com was taken). I don’t actually hate suspense, but I definitely scare easily and it’s rarely my go-to genre, except that it totally is. Listen to Me is like a master class in how to build tension in stress. Take two people who are both barely hanging on – Maggie, suffering terrible PTSD from a recent violent encounter; Mark, on the razor’s edge trying to keep her sane. Put them in a small space – a car trip with a neurotic dog traveling from the Midwest to the East. Then, go ahead and throw in a history-making storm headed directly for them and a handful of sinister AF characters to encounter.
Everything in Listen to Me is unreliable. The truth, the unspoken truth, the truth trying to be covered up, and even the electronics we all take for granted. This book is not for the faint of heart. And yet…
And yet, nothing really happens. This is not a spoiler alert. This is a story about the journey, and it is a look at what it feels like to live in fear. It is about what happens to a marriage when communication ends or almost ends. It feels like the reader is just watching lives unravel and it is really tough to relax into. So, I didn’t relax. I just finished it with grim determination and at the end I felt like a ten pound weight was lifted off my head.
I will probably go back and read it again, now that I know the ending, and I think I will really enjoy how Hannah Pittard basically screwed with my brain for 5 hours. These characters are frustrating, but I was rooting for them. This book was nothing like I thought it would be, which is fine, but prepare yourself to be uncomfortable. If you feel like a fun, easy read, this is not your book. On the other hand, if you feel like a book full of terror and suspense, well this isn’t your novel either. It is somewhere in the middle, and I would read it in daylight.
Grade – B-