Read You Remind Me of Me by Dan Chaon Online

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You Remind Me of Me begins with a series of separate incidents: In 1977, a little boy is savagely attacked by his mother’s pet Doberman; in 1997 another little boy disappears from his grandmother’s backyard on a sunny summer morning; in 1966, a pregnant teenager admits herself to a maternity home, with the intention of giving her child up for adoption; in 1991, a young manYou Remind Me of Me begins with a series of separate incidents: In 1977, a little boy is savagely attacked by his mother’s pet Doberman; in 1997 another little boy disappears from his grandmother’s backyard on a sunny summer morning; in 1966, a pregnant teenager admits herself to a maternity home, with the intention of giving her child up for adoption; in 1991, a young man drifts toward a career as a drug dealer, even as he hopes for something better. With penetrating insight and a deep devotion to his characters, Dan Chaon explores the secret connections that irrevocably link them. In the process he examines questions of identity, fate, and circumstance: Why do we become the people that we become? How do we end up stuck in lives that we never wanted? And can we change the course of what seems inevitable?~from back cover...

Title : You Remind Me of Me
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780345441409
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 371 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

You Remind Me of Me Reviews

  • Carol
    2018-12-01 03:34

    I loved Dan Chaon’s novel, Await Your Reply. I enjoyed how the interconnected stories all came together to make sense in the end. This novel has a similar format. But the basic premise of this book (at least in my view) is that, as far as the path our life is headed down, the die has been cast from birth and no outcome can be changed. That’s a disturbing proposal for me to contemplate, even if it’s likely to be true. This is a well written, compelling story…more unsettling than sad for me…maybe because I was rooting for the main characters and they often let me down. Jonah, one of the two half-brothers, is an impulsive, melancholy mess. He is obviously bright but such a screw up that I had almost no sympathy for him in the end. Since I do like to read dysfunctional family dramas or sad tales, this one probably just hit a raw nerve. That said, I still really liked the book almost as much as Chaon’s other and I’m not likely to forget this story for some time to come.

  • Kristi
    2018-11-25 22:34

    This book left a huge impression on me for several reasons. First, the language was crafted beautifully. Chaon could write a novel about someone sitting and picking their nose, and he would make the language so extraordinary that you would be glued to your seat and in tears by the end. Second, this books makes you think. The characters are very real; they are unsure about their goals, and despite their good intentions they mess up a lot. Their mistakes and the consequences they deal with make you really take a hard look at your own life. Third, there is something unsettling about the characters' relationships with each other and with themselves. It makes you really think about what makes people tick.

  • Teresa
    2018-11-15 00:50

    I felt about this book the same way I felt about Dubus III's House of Sand and Fog: very well-written, psychologically astute, but maybe just not for me. I didn't feel fully engaged until the very end of page 250 (right before the last section) with this passage:What if she never knows the end of the story? She shudders, and her mind continues to lurch forward into the future, that simple expectation of time passing--another moment, and another moment. It seems impossible that it will abruptly cease. It seems impossible that you will never know what happens next, that the thread you've been following your whole life will just ... cut off, like a book with the last pages torn out. That doesn't seem fair, she thinks.I wondered throughout about the reason for the jumping around in time. I love that kind of thing if there's a good reason for it (e.g., Kate Atkinson's Life After Life) but here it seems only there to conjure up tension, thus creating an artificial feel, at least to me.The strongest element of the book is the empathy Chaon creates for every one of his characters.

  • Brent
    2018-11-25 04:49

    When I grow up one day as a writer, I want my writing to be like Dan Chaon's. This is his debut novel after many years of writing short stories. The craft of short story writing comes through in every sentence of this novel - rich, evocative imagery punches through some of the most economic sentences and paragraphs; characters are compelling, dynamic and fully explored; drama hits forcefully and emotionally.I took plenty of time to read this book, treating it as if it were the literary equivalent of sushi. It needed to be savored. The character and exposition wanted to be considered. I highly recommend this book. Be forewarned that it does have it's depressing moments as Chaon takes you through some low points of his characters. Even so, it is surprisingly (without revealing anything) an upbeat book when it's all wrapped up. And maybe that's where it's only failing is for me - the very end seemed to end too cleanly. But, I admit a strong bias for messy/confusing/unsettled endings - ones that suggest there really isn't an "end."

  • N W James
    2018-12-06 23:50

    SPOILERS AHOY HOY!My thoughts on Dan Chaon's story of two half brothers that find each other in dire circumstances midway through their twenties has a lot to say about the What If's of life. And his conclusion seems to say that regardless of our childhoods we become what we're intended to become - a bad mother, a kidnapper, a good bartender, a commercial artist. Putting it a different way, a good upbringing does not a good life make. Chaon also writes a lot about patterns, especially those found in families, and how each new member of a family represents hope to the generation that bore them. To Jonah, the older brother that got away from their parents was hope that he could be someone better than he is. To Troy, Loomis was the hope for something more stable, a precocious tabula rasa. For Nora, her first baby boy was the loss of her innocence and giving her boy away meant giving up hope. We all search to break or be the antonym of the worrisome patterns of our parents but we may not realize that the core issue still hasn't been addressed. Wow, this book brought out the Dr. Phil in me. I enjoyed it. I found myself applying the themes to my own family, my own patterns. I will warn that the book starts out very depressing. I almost put it down because depressing wasn't what I needed, but I stuck with it and was glad I did.

  • Patti
    2018-12-02 20:43

    Ok, so now that I've said anyone who likes John Irving should read this, some John Irving fanatic may accost me. He is not John Irving, but Dan Chaon's style and mood are very similar. I picked this book up to get inside the mind of more gritty, lower-middle class characters for a monologue I was working on and was surprised at how engaging it was. A lot of the reviews say they found it depressing, but I'm twisted, so it just leaves me glad I'm not like the people in the book. And I guess I have a strange penchant for depressing things for such an un-depressed person. Anyway, the character study is amazing and he writes with such detail that if you aren't completely lost in their lives I will be surprised. You will know exactly what he is talking about as if you had lived it even if nothing similar has ever happened to you. That is the kind of writer Dan Chaon is. Read it.

  • Alena
    2018-12-08 20:26

    No one writes about the lonely and broken hearted better than Chaon. This novel is no exception. Brutal and sad, but filled with the human spirit.

  • Gabriel
    2018-12-15 01:27

    I read this book when it had just come out in hardcover. I'm pretty sure it was during the summer, maybe right after high school, I had nothing to do and was feeling miserable, and I would go for walks to get out of my parents house, usually landing in the barnes & noble nearby, where I'd sit in the cool and read new fiction at random. I picked this book out because i liked the cover art or the title and wound up reading the whole thing in the store over the course of a couple of weeks (my mother had instilled in me a great, great fear of spending money). The detached melancholy of the whole book was fantastically appealing to me at the time, the desperate attempts to make a connection that only land you further and further away from one. At the time I was also indulging the idea that I was a socially and romantically dysfunctional human being, so it was soothing to be immersed in that same loneliness. I doubt if i'd like it as much now, given how much I've moved on from the time when I was a glutton for melancholy in books or music, no matter how poorly or well it was done. I read a few of the stories inAmong The Missing the other day and couldn't quite get inside them. Still, at the time I really, really loved this book once, so I think I'll leave it at that.

  • Shannon (Giraffe Days)
    2018-12-03 04:32

    I have to say, right off the bat, that I have never skimmed bits as much as I did in this book. I usually like to read every single word, but I got so impatient with this that I kinda skipped a sentence here, skimmed a paragraph there, all in the hope of reaching the end faster. And not because I felt like I was running out of time because I had a bookclub meeting for it. It was simply due to a small amount of boredom and a nagging impatience with the characters.Jonah lives with his mother, Nora, his grandfather and the pet Doberman, Elizabeth, in a small rural town called Little Bow. He's a lonely, clingy kid, whose mother was forced to give away her first "fatherless" baby and is now slipping further and further into depression, drugs and resentment. The book starts here, on the day when Jonah is attacked by Elizabeth, who he was playing a make-believe game with which involved locking them in the bathroom and hiding in the tub. When the long-suffering dog freaks out, she mauls him almost to death. The scene where Jonah is rescued by his grandfather includes a brief description about what happened to Elizabeth: "He hears the sound of his grandfather's raw, smoker-voiced moaning. His grandfather caught Elizabeth by the collar, pulling her away, and then his grandfather began to kick her in the ribs and the head." (p.14) This is one of the most traumatic and upsetting things I think I've ever read. People talk about how hard it was to read Susie Salmon's rape and murder at the beginning of The Lovely Bones, but for me, what happened to Elizabeth was so much more upsetting. This scene sets the tone for the rest of the novel, which is not in chronological order, as it follows the twined stories of Nora, Jonah, Troy - the baby Nora gave up for adoption - and, to a lesser extent, Troy's mother-in-law, Judy, and his son, Loomis. Jonah, with his disfiguring scars, is a shy, nervous, sad kid who sets out to find his half-brother. He yearns for a normal family, for a sibling and, in a heavy-handed way, the author posits the idea that Jonah is hoping Troy's life will be everything his wasn't and isn't, to prove that Jonah's miserable existence is not his own fault. But Troy, a petty drug-dealer raising his little boy - nicknamed "Little Man" of all things - alone, has been arrested and is now under house arrest. His mother-in-law, Judy, is looking after Loomis and trying to get custody as well. Troy works as a bartender in the small town of St. Bonaventure in Nebraska, and when Jonah turns up and worms his way into Troy's life, I half expected a Talented Mr Ripley deal to go down. It didn't, but it didn't go in any other direction, either. The characters are, to be frank, losers, and are so bogged down in their own character flaws that I wanted to wring their necks. I certainly had trouble spending any time with them, and the jumping back and forth in time confused me a hell of a lot more than The Time Traveler's Wife did! Which is kinda ironic. This being the author's debut novel, having written only short stories before, it definitely has a short-story feel to it. It's chopped up and broken down a great deal. It also has a tell, not show, narrative which I found annoying. There are some nice descriptions, and the present-tense works quite well, but with its anti-climax and meandering, the suspense built up by the non-linear narrative is ruined. I know I'm being harsh on this book. It's an ambitious debut, but not quite executed. I found the writing style hard to get into, and the order of events confusing. Nora was the most interesting character, in terms of her time at the Mrs Glass House - my own mother went to a similar place, though her story has a happy ending - but Nora too was irritating beyond belief. Someone should have slapped the silly girl! Told you I was annoyed.I could go on, but there's little point. I will always remember this story for poor Elizabeth, but since her story is brief and finished with in chapter 1, the rest was just an exercise in perseverance.

  • Elaine
    2018-12-11 01:34

    This is a masterpiece! Chaon ranks with the very top of 21st century authors. His phrasing is felieitous and elegant. His plotting brilliant. The way he allows his stories to unfold, riveting.This book is about choices and if's. If someone had made a different choice, then what? They made a choice and what other choices do they then make and what happens to their lives and someone else's? Oh, this has been argued and reargued in philosophy and even psychology. Is it nature or nurture? Is it by design or sheer luck? How free is our will. Was it, as Nora says at the end, which is also the beginning: How can you be alive when every choice you make breaks the world into a thousand filaments, each careless step branching into long tributaries of alternate lives, shuddering outward like sheet lightning?Yet what happens, what the characters do, are not necessary consequences of choices. This is far more complex than that. Luck? God's plan? Fate? Choices? They are not either/or's.Thhe voice is that of an omnisiscient author, and the sequences that unfold are not in chronological order, although each chapter is dated. The unfolding is like the ruminations in one's mind about what has happened in the past twenty years, memories jumping from one episode to another. Had this been written starting in 1971 and ending in 2002 in order of occurrences, it would have been interesting and the wording itself would have taken you along, but by fragmenting the time the motivations and consequences of what happens are made clearer, although we never really figure what is going to happen next, as in real live.Chaon's characters are fully developed real humans, down to their gestures. Not only does he portray people we can feel breathing, but he is a master at creating their umwelt, the world in which they act and act upon. His familiarity with the roads and geography of the Great Plains states serves him well as characters not only interact with their towns, but as they take to the road. Every shrub, weed, box of a house passes before our eyes. Jonah, Troy, and Loomis, the Dakotas, and Nebraska stay with you.

  • Ron Charles
    2018-11-21 20:50

    Long before brothers started fighting in the back of the station wagon, they got off on the wrong foot in Western civilization. By the time Freud described the murderous fantasies between fathers and sons, brothers had already been deadly antagonists for millenniums. When Remus mocked his brother's wall, Romulus killed him. When Abel upstaged his brother's sacrifice, Cain slew him.In the early 1940s, both East of Eden and The Skin of Our Teeth revived the Bible's first brothers, reenacted the murder, and won Pulitzer Prizes. Recent incarnations have been less contentious, but hardly harmonious. Wally Lamb's I Know This Much Is True, Tim Gautreaux's The Clearing, and Guy Vanderhaeghe's The Last Crossing all show men struggling to restrain their violent brothers bent on self-destruction -- a kind of therapeutic remaining of the ancient myth.Dan Chaon's debut novel, You Remind Me of Me, makes a fascinating addition to this list. With deep insight and a fluid style that never calls attention to its considerable beauty, he's been earning accolades for his short stories up till now; his second collection, Among the Missing, was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2001, and You Remind Me of Me pulses with the emotional intensity his fans have come to expect.The story follows the disconnected lives of two brothers, one given away for adoption at birth, the other mauled by their mother's Doberman at the age of six. Both these events -- traumatic in their own ways -- ricochet through a number of lives, creating a web of trajectories that tempt us to discern the direction and velocity of character. But even if you miss the stray allusion to "rosebud" from "Citizen Kane" late in the novel, it's clear that Chaon is writing about the irreducible mystery of human nature.He contributes to that mystery considerably in the opening chapters. Each begins with a specific date -- March 24, 1977; June 6, 1966; June 15, 1996 -- but the characters' names are sometimes held back and their relationships to one another are scrambled in a way that frustrates our efforts to place them.He may be presuming too much about the diligence of busy people trying to carve out 30 minutes of reading before bed. (I eventually drew several tangled genealogies on a piece of scrap paper. Chaos and consternation erupted when my daughter accidentally threw it out while setting the table.) But the fortunate readers who persist will come to see that this problem is emblematic of the challenge all these characters face as they struggle to organize their own lives, sifting through hopes and memories, visions of what they'd planned and realizations of what they've become.Jonah was a quiet, withdrawn boy even before his mother's dog killed him one Easter season. Revived by paramedics a few minutes later, he spends the rest of his life assuming that this attack was "what set his future into motion," but that explanation becomes increasingly inadequate. Perhaps, Chaon suggests, the key lies in his severely depressed mother and the sense of gloom she shed over his childhood. Or perhaps his personality was determined by the persistent fantasy of the lost brother, the idealized sibling who could have served as an enduring friend.In any case, Chaon is more interested in our desire to understand the harrowing gap between what we want to be and what we are. For Jonah's mother, that desire leads only to corrosive regret and self-pity. But for Jonah, permanently masked behind a thicket of scars, the dream of remaking himself remains a tantalizing possibility.When his mother dies, Jonah discards every possession, every remnant of his past, and sets out for a new city armed only with a copy of The Fifteen Steps on the Ladder of Success. Chaon describes this quest with poignancy and muffled wit. Jonah's habit of making up memories, designing for himself a more usable past, seems oddly touching. You don't have to be a fellow loser (or do you?) to sympathize with his practice of overanticipating events and rehearsing conversations before they take place. He draws up lists of his meager good qualities, he practices friendly gestures in the mirror, he watches happy people and imagines what it would be like to be them.His physical condition is peculiar and his mental state is a weird mixture of grief and optimism, but Chaon's portrayal of this hopeful loner strikes notes that will resonate with anyone who hankers for a new beginning, who vacillates between bouts of confidence and despair. "The true terror," Jonah thinks, "the true mystery of life, is not that we were all going to die, but ... that we once didn't exist, and then, through no fault of our own, we had to."His plan to remake himself depends on finding his older brother, the baby his mother spent her life mourning. We meet Troy long before Jonah does, first as a sweet adolescent slipping into drug addiction, then as an anxious father struggling to drop the habit and regain custody of his son. Unlike Jonah, Troy remains far less definite about the prime cause of his troubles, but he's just as determined to change his direction, to make something of himself.The eventual contact between these two brothers arrives in a fascinating, long-delayed crisis, fraught with expectations that Troy can't possibly satisfy for Jonah. The ghastly looking stranger who imagines the benefits of instant fraternity is bound to be disappointed, but Jonah has invested so much psychic energy in this great hope that he loses touch with reality rather than let go of his dream.Chaon sinks gently and quietly into these sad lives, but moments of real fright spike through his narrative, and the poignancy of Jonah's desire for connection shifts ominously toward much darker tones. Fortunately, this is an author of deep compassion. Not all his characters attain the insight they need to fathom their hopes and fears, but a few do, and his readers will come closer to understanding their own.Originally published in the Christian Science Monitor.

  • Cathrine
    2018-12-15 21:53

    As I picked up this novel I saw a post by a friend of the author on his FB wall. An article that jokes about 'things writers hate'. Like how some reader rate a book at Amazon based on 'in what shape the book arrived in'. The packaging, not content.I found myself in a similar situation. I loved this story. Its characters, its and their depth. Pulled me right in. But the font size must have been made for lilleputians!I have never seen print this small! (Teresa I bought you a different edition). My eyes ached, my head ached, my heart ached because I had to put the book aside ... for a while.I read a 400 page by another author instead. A book I loved. And then I went back to this story and found my place and the setting and mood and characters as if I had never left them. Impressive ;-) going by my book memory ;-) !And this is a book about second chances. Knowing to grab them or not. Being able to or not. Love. Life. Happiness. Luck and gratitude for it.About seeing the beautiful wonder in life. And each other.Dan Chaon :-) this is a master piece.I also recommend his: Waiting for your reply.Teresa there is a passage in here about the danger of being loved a certain way. Try to catch it for me. I can't find it. Which is probably a good sign ;-)Enjoy

  • Book Concierge
    2018-11-15 04:45

    Digital audio performed by Jim Soriero.3.5*** Chaon was already known as a talented writer of short stories when this debut novel was published. His background with that shorter form shows in this book. The first four chapters of the book introduce us to four different characters and time frames: 1977 and six-year-old Jonah is mauled by the family pet; 1978 and ten-year-old Troy is hanging out with teenagers smoking pot; 1966 and teenaged Nora is about to give birth at a home for unwed mothers; 1997 and six-year-old Loomis disappears from his grandmother’s backyard. Eventually the connections between them will be clear to the reader.What I really like about Chaon’s writing is how he explores issues of identity, how characters are shaped by their environment, by chance and opportunity, and by the choices they make. There is much to dislike about these damaged people, and yet I am drawn to these characters and their stories. I am distressed by the loneliness they endure and the wrong paths they take, and yet still find some hope for the future. The changing time frames and points of view do, however, make for a somewhat confusing experience. This is especially true for those who choose the audio version.Jim Soriero does an excellent job performing the audio. He is a skilled voice artist, with good pacing. Still, given the nonlinear plot, I’m glad I had a text version available so I could go back and reference earlier chapters easily.

  • Manik Sukoco
    2018-11-22 22:42

    Chaon's novel is a story of identity as revealed by Jonah and Troy, half brothers separated by adoption. Troy is placed for adoption, Jonah kept by their mother, both growing up in small Midwest towns. Troy wanders from the influence of his adoptive parents to that of his cousins, low-level drug dealers living in a trailer. Jonah wanders in his own way between his mother Nora and his grandfather, both running from the life they lead.Eventually, Jonah arms himself with documentation of Troy's existence, and sets out to find him. Troy, separated from his son and wife by a series of his own bad choices, is left with his job at the Stumble Inn, his drug rehabilitation classes at the junior high, and the electronic monitoring ankle device that is part of his parole agreement. When Troy realizes that his co-worker Jonah is actually his half-brother, and that Jonah has lied to him about everything-from their biological connection to the kind of life Jonah lived with their mother-Troy experiences a kind of mirror-vision clarity about his own life. In a series of blundering moves, Jonah makes one final and nearly disastrous entry into Troy's life, setting in motion events that will settle one man's life and throw the other's into an orbit of despair.Chaon's prose is dense, and at times annoyingly over-written. At the same time, he is able to endow a generally disparaged segment of American culture, the working, under-educated poor, with the dignity of their own being. Neither Troy nor Jonah has big dreams or even ambitions to have big dreams. They are surrounded by people who have settled for what they could grasp, unconcerned with great ambition or legacies beyond their families. They do not travel, or want to. They are grounded in a place where a man can become a prosperous community leader by owning three bars and a bowling alley. And yet, they have that dignity, and for Troy life turns out to be good enough. Sometimes that's all you can ask.I struggled with this review because the story is fairly simple - but the relationships are not. Armchair Interviews says that if you like stories of complicated relationships you can really get into, give this book with an intriguing title a try.

  • Owen
    2018-12-02 01:44

    Midway through the book, one of the characters imagines writing a letter: Once upon a time there was a woman who had two sons. The first son she gave away when she was a teenager, and she regretted it for the rest of her life. The second son she kept for her own, and she regretted that even more. Now, that's a disturbing but compelling kind of situation to imagine, and if the book had started out there I probably would've devoured it much more eagerly.Instead, Chaon starts slowly and realistically with chapters ranging among Troy (the first son), Jonah (the second), and a few other POVs (their mother Nora, Troy's girlfriend/wife/ex, their son). We don't know who these characters are at first, nor how they're related, let alone why we should be interested in them. Jonah's ugly and dramatic encounter with his mother's pet Doberman is nowhere equaled in the rest of the book, though of course it leave a shadow and (literal) scars all over his later character.A little too often it feels like information is being deliberately withheld to create suspense. (And, yes, I chose to phrase that passively: there's absolutely no authorial presence, no sense of the narrator as a character, just a sourceless voice.) Each chapter's title is a specific date in one of four different decades (from the '60s to the '00s, but somehow skipping the '80s entirely), and the challenge of constructing a chronology and fitting all the events into the puzzle isn't rewarded with corresponding complexity and mystery of character.It's a good story triggering a lot of interesting thoughts about identity, nature vs. nurture, fatherhood and motherhood and brotherhood; the characters are pretty rounded and the plot is developed and resolved in satisfying ways. But I was always aware that I was reading a fiction, that all of this had been created and orchestrated for me, that these people would never be completely real.(I read the large print edition because that's what my library had.)

  • Bandit
    2018-12-07 00:28

    I've been meaning to give Chaon a go for a long time, his books are always sitting on the library shelves right next to the excellent Michael Chabon, just staring at me. And I'm certainly glad I finally did, with the audio version of this one. I was thinking about how to describe You Remind Me of Me...plot wise it's a story about two half brothers, raised separately and very differently, meeting each other, theme wise it's about the elusiveness and ineffability of happiness. Although that is much too vague. Let's try again...this story is about all the myriad different aspects, be it nurture or nature to start and circumstances later on, that defines a course of life, the level of comfort one can achieve in it and satisfaction one can draw from it. And so one of the brothers ends up a profoundly disconnected individual who pathologically quilts together fabrications to try to fit in and the other brother is actually fairly comfortable and content in his own small way, despite many mistakes he's made. Maybe the moral is the importance of a genuine human connection (familial or otherwise) and the ability to let yourself make one to center an existence. Maybe happiness isn't meant to be boombastic, but instead a small solace of belonging, a sense of purpose that comes from loving and taking care of one another. The last line of the book is a character confessing to not knowing and it's perfectly apt for the story and this review as well. It was a terrific journey though and much food for thought. Chaon's writing is strong, moving, one of great humanity and realism. Very enjoyable book. Highly recommended.

  • Aban (Aby)
    2018-12-12 03:42

    Wow, what a great book! My thanks to Doreen for lending it to me.For me, the book got off to a slow start, partly bacause I was travelling while reading it (and couldn't read it for any length of time)and partly becuase of the nature of the book (it moves between characters and times). There was - to begin with - no obvious connection between the characters. However, I was patient as I knew they would all come together eventually, and they did. Once they did, I couldn't put the book down!This book has powerful characters, ones that will stay with me for a long time. I became totally involved with them and their predicaments, and found my heart racing when they got themselves into difficult situations! For the second two thirds of the book, I didn't want to do anything else but read.What I also liked about the book was that it didn't sink into sentimentality: there was no 'quick fix' (everthing didn't work out happily ever after), yet there was a positive ending which left me very satisfied indeed. I would highly recommend the book to anyoneone who likes strong characters and a well constructed plot.By the way, the author's last name is pronounced "Shawn"!

  • Sunny Shore
    2018-12-01 20:42

    I almost gave this book a 5, till I got to the end. I love Dan Chaon, but I didn't like the way he ended it. Chaon weaves little stories together to form one novel and he did a great job with Await Your Reply. We witness lives of characters within chapters going back and forth from the 60's, 70's and 90's. The main characters are Troy, a man adopted as a baby; Jonah, a very lonely young man with the ability and urgency to change the past, present and future; and Nora, a young woman with mental problems who has two sons but has a life with no fulfillment. It is a commentary on adoption, belonging and basically, the two questions...what is happiness and what is family and what do they have to do with each other? In addition, Chaon explores loneliness, sadness and lack of identity to the extent that your heart breaks for a particular character. No matter what, Chaon (pronounced Shawn) is a talented, unique writer and I look forward to his next novel, as well as reading his short story collections.

  • Missy
    2018-11-27 02:45

    My picky husband really enjoyed it. He said it would be a good book club read- so I read it too. This was an interesting read. The book is written from the perspective of 3 people and over 3 different time periods. At first I wished I had been writing out my own timeline to reference when the story hopped along. The book has 2 protagonists who make poor choices. There were sections of the book where I was not rooting for anyone and I felt that loss. At times I wondered, "So why should I care about these people? Why am I reading this?". Even so, the further I got into the book the less I wanted to put it down. The story gained momentum and led me to a lot of inner reflection on nature vs nurture and our odds of success and failure. It also got me thinking a lot about being alone and loneliness. I also wonder why Oprah did not pick up on this book....

  • Ali
    2018-12-06 22:42

    I was disappointed with this book, possibly because I had such high expectations. I love the idea of seemingly random strangers being connected together through space and time. I liked the non-linear manner in which the story was told. However, I found myself disliking all of the characters. Their individual situations seemed very real and the comparison of two brothers' backgrounds and the way they turn out was yet another interesting technique. It's also very clear how they turned into their adult selves and how that was brought about somewhat by their childhoods. However, none of their youthful experiences absolved them of the things they did to themselves and others and I found all of the characters distant and difficult to relate to.

  • Betony
    2018-12-07 22:43

    based on a short story published in harper's magazine (how many great books have had similar origins?), dan chaon's first novel is a nuanced and detailed story of three lives in varying stages of redemption. a teenaged mother sent away to wait out her pregnancy, a man deformed in boyhood by a vicious dog, and an out-of-luck loser who continues to fall into the same traps of drugs, alcohol, and irresponsibity-- all whose stories are woven beautifully. the focus of this novel is character, and chaon does a masterful job of eliciting sympathy and making the reader care deeply about these lives.

  • lindsay!
    2018-12-05 22:49

    You Remind Me of Me is simple and sad and honest. The characters are all so pitiful with really unfortunate lives, yet each story is poetic in its honesty. It sort of has an awareness like: "Life sucks but the sun still shines." Anyway, it was a nice book.In fact, it is the first book I have loved in a long long time (ever since Middlesex blew all other published materials out of the water).

  • Sara
    2018-12-14 21:32

    Sometimes difficult to read because the characters make such painfully bad choices but I really loved the writing, especially the final two chapters.

  • ღ Carol jinx~☆~
    2018-12-14 01:41

    "What if she never knows the end of the story? She shudders, and her mind continues to lurch forward into the future, that simple expectation of time passing--another moment, and another moment. It seems impossible that it will abruptly cease. It seems impossible that you will never know what happens next, that the thread you've been following your whole life will just ... cut off, like a book with the last pages torn out. That doesn't seem fair, she thinks." This paragraph made me so sad. She's a schoolteacher who thought everything would turn out perfect in the end. A beautiful daughter, and a smart little grandson, and will she ever know what happens to them? The characters were so well described and we've all known people that seemed to have everything going for them but they continue to make mistakes and can't seem to escape and get back on track. A very interesting book. Now I am reading two more of his books. He's a great writer and really knows how to pull you into the story.

  • Nancy Mccormick
    2018-11-30 21:33

    Oh Wally Lamb, you have competition for breaking hearts over families and their spider webs of emotions. How a book can be so sad and yet not? Characters so flawed and yet sympathetic? And I loved the language of this book. I often had to stop and mull over a phrase I just read - Dan Chaon's writing is that good.

  • Dustin Crazy little brown owl
    2018-12-13 21:53

    "How can you be alive when every choice you make breaks the world into a thousand filaments, each careless step branching into long tributaries of alternate lives, shuddering outward and outward like sheet lightning."-You Remind Me of MeI think Await Your Reply is better, but I really enjoyed this story also. Dan Chaon writes in a way that gives me so much to think about.I love the way the story opens with Jonah playing in the bathtub with the dog named Elizabeth:(view spoiler)[ The first bite was one of the worst. The long front tooth, the canine, sank into the skin just below Jonah's left eye and tore a line through his cheek to the edge of his throat. Blood shot up and stippled the window. The bottles of shampoo on the edge of the tub clattered as Jonah's feet kicked in a surprised spasm. When he jerked away from her, Elizabeth bit down on his ear and pulled a piece of it off. (hide spoiler)]I love the way the the characters are connected in Dan's novels and the way the timeline jumps around.(view spoiler)[He had remembered something that his mother once told him. "When I die, I want you to bury me under the floorboards," she had said. he'd been something like ten or eleven years old at the time, but even then he had known that this was her idea of a joke. "Cut me up in little pieces and put me in the crawl space," she said. " I want to haunt the shit out of whoever lives in this dump after we do." (hide spoiler)]______________________________My favorite praise for You Remind Me of Me found on the cover and before the novel begins:"Chaon writes with a deep, dreamy evocativeness....A lovely, insinuating book." - The New York Times"InYou Remind Me of Me, [Chaon] proves once again he's a writer worth watching." - USA Today"Delicately hypnotic...haunting...a lovely, insinuating book with a special staying power." - The New York Times"Beautifully disquieting....This novel, his first, has elements of Stephen King's Cujo, Alice Munro's Friend of My Youth and Lucy Grealy's Autobiography of a Face all at the same time...Emotionally complex and disturbing....Chaon's achievement...is to rescue his characters from oblivion and make their lives seem as real as our own." -The New York Times Book Review"With deep insight and a fluid style that never calls attention to its considerable beauty...Chaon is writing about the irreducible mystery of human nature." - The Christian Science Monitor"Chaon deftly reveals the quite suffering of ordinary people in a way that an be uncomfortably realistic but is always compelling." -People"A moving story of fate and family" -The Oregonian "Meticulous pacing... controlled nuance...a quietly ambitious novel." -Time Out New York"Three lives viewed through a kaleidoscope of memories and secret pain assume a kin d of mythical dimension in Chaon's piercingly poignant tale of fate, chance and search for redemption....Chaon's clarity of observation, expressed in restrained, nuanced prose, coupled with his compassion for his flawed characters, creates a heart-wrenching story of people searching for connection." -Publishers Weekly (starred review)"Finely crafted...cogent and suspenseful." -Booklist"In his masterly first novel, Chaon tells an absorbing tale of fate and the struggle for recovery and human connection. His greatest strength is the ability to intertwine multiple stories while neatly showcasing the tangled threads of each character." -Library Journal"You Remind Me of Me doesn't belong on the shelf with the sentimental heart-warmers of the book world. It's made of sterner stuff.[Chaon] is a solid storyteller...He keeps the reader enthralled...In his book, character counts." -Newsday"You Remind Me of Me is one of the strangest, most beautiful, most compelling books I've read in a long time. Unnerving and real, intricately plotted, wonderfully written, it's a Chinese box of a novel, full of hidden pleasures and surprises." -Elizabeth McCracken"Dan Chaon's beautiful, effortless prose commands the reader from sentence one, steering us from prickling unease to wrenching pathos, tunneling inside his characters' minds and worlds with such authority that everything else seems to disappear. It's almost frightening to be in the hands of so gifted a writer." -Jennifer Egan"Beautiful,painful, and sure-footed, You Remind Me of Me tracks the delicate connections between a handful of lost and poignant lives, in the process giving them the radiance of a stained-glass window. What a writer! Dan Chaon is going to have a breathtaking literary career." -Peter Straub"You Remind Me of Me is nothing short of brilliant. The novel is haunting me, and I can't stop thinking about it - both as a reader and as a deeply admiring writer. I wish I had a better adjective than superb." -Caroline Leavitt____________________________A Conversation with Dan Chaon (from the back of the Reader's Guide Edition)Q:One final quick question - how do you pronounce your name?DC:Dan?Q:No - your last name.DC:I'm just messing with you. It's pronounced "shawn" - much easier than it looks.

  • Joe
    2018-11-30 23:28

    You Remind Me of Me is a heartbreaking slice-of-life story of Jonah, horribly disfigured from a dog attack; Nora, Jonah’s mother who is wracked with guilt over putting her first child up for adoption; and Troy, Nora’s child she gave up for adoption, who is tackling his own demons and trying to be a decent single father to his son Loomis.Bouncing back and forth through a time period spanning 1966 to 2002 we follow these characters as they cope with loss, regret, and a search for happiness and forgiveness. The bulk of the story centers around Jonah’s search for his adopted brother – a quest he believes will help him find a sense of self – and the poor decisions he makes as a result.Dan Chaon’s writing is brilliant. His characters are fully realized, complex, and flawed individuals. It’s this, along with his crisp, descriptive prose, that compels the story along. It’s an engaging and largely character driven novel that left me misty eyed by its conclusion.

  • Dina
    2018-11-26 21:47

    Credit to Shannon for my review. I copied and pasted her review, deleting the parts that didn't apply to my opinion. Why reinvent the wheel?-------------------------------------------------------------------------Anti-climactic and meandering...I have never skimmed bits as much as I did in this book. I usually like to read every single word, but I got so impatient with this that I skipped a sentence here, skimmed a paragraph there, all in the hope of reaching the end faster. It was due to boredom and a nagging impatience with the characters.Jonah lives with his mother, Nora, his grandfather and the pet Doberman, Elizabeth, in a small rural town called Little Bow. He's a lonely, clingy kid, whose mother was forced to give away her first "fatherless" baby and is now slipping further and further into depression, drugs and resentment.The book starts here, on the day when Jonah is attacked by Elizabeth, who he was playing a make-believe game with which involved locking them in the bathroom and hiding in the tub. When the long-suffering dog freaks out, she mauls him almost to death.This scene sets the tone for the rest of the novel, which is not in chronological order, as it follows the twined stories of Nora, Jonah, Troy - the baby Nora gave up for adoption - and, to a lesser extent, Troy's mother-in-law, Judy, and his son, Loomis.Jonah, with his disfiguring scars, is a shy, nervous, sad kid who sets out to find his half-brother. He yearns for a normal family, for a sibling and, in a heavy-handed way, the author posits the idea that Jonah is hoping Troy's life will be everything his wasn't and isn't, to prove that Jonah's miserable existence is not his own fault.But Troy, a petty drug-dealer raising his little boy - nicknamed "Little Man" of all things - alone, has been arrested and is now under house arrest. His mother-in-law, Judy, is looking after Loomis and trying to get custody as well.Troy works as a bartender in the small town of St. Bonaventure in Nebraska when Jonah turns up and worms his way into Troy's life. The characters are losers, and are so bogged down in their own character flaws that I wanted to wring their necks. I certainly had trouble spending any time with them, and the jumping back and forth in time confused me a hell of a lot.The writing style was hard to get into, and the order of events confusing. This book was just an exercise in perseverance. -------------------------------------------------------------------------Credit to Shannon for my review. I copied and pasted her review, deleting the parts that didn't apply to my opinion. Why reinvent the wheel?

  • Lit Folio
    2018-12-11 03:35

    This is an extraordinary look at the ordinary. And the first thing you can say about this novel is that it could never pass for a "crowd pleaser". Perhaps, that's because this novel hits the raw nerve in all of us had we not found loving partners, or meaningful work, or mothered or fathered wonderful children. This is a strange look at loneliness and the thirst to find real meaning and to bond with whatever we can find that will give us that meaning.What struck me so deeply about this story is, here you have these ordinary fellows--young men doing grunt jobs: in bars, kitchens, whatever, trying to simply get by and the unexpectedly deep and dark and profoundly empty spaces that we are drawn into as we read along. I was so moved by the tender portrayal of Jonah and his lonely search-- as well as his brother--and all that their lives entailed. This is a very beautiful and moving story about the true depths in the very human beings that are in our midst, everyday. In the malls we shop, in the restaurants we frequent.So recommend this amazing story and don't be fooled by the seemingly ordinary here; there's so much going on with these men and Chaon portrays it all like a true master.

  • Kelly
    2018-11-18 02:40

    You Remind Me Of Me is author Dan Chaon's first full length novel. He has previously written a number of short stories. This novel almost reads like a number of short stories that are interrelated and interwoven. This book is an interesting read about nature vs nurture vs . . . how we shape our own lives. This isn't a cheerful book. In fact, the lives examined are lower middle class lives with their share of struggles and issues. But despite the sadness, it's a gripping read. I had trouble putting it down. I think I kept hiding out hope for something good to happen. I recommend the book, but be conscious of your frame of mind. If you're already down in the dumps, choose another book until you're better able to handle this one.