Rating: 4 / 5
Laura Sims’ Looker tells of the slow and steady mental breakdown of a 30-something professor whose life is crumbling around her.
She is beautiful, youthful, and well educated. And yet, she finds a stark and infuriating difference between her life and the life of the actress down the block. Why is she not as accomplished as the actress? Why is the actress a mother of three while she is barren? Why does the actress have a beautiful and loving husband while she and her husband are newly separated? She obsesses over these questions and the actress’s life – a constant reminder of what she does not have.
When she can no longer ignore the wreckage of her life, when there is no hope of delusion left, how will she finally react? Can she rebuild what she once had, or will she completely self-destruct? Looker is a gripping and quick story told vaguely enough to keep the reader continually questioning the narrator’s motives, honesty, and sanity.
Please take caution when reading Looker if any of the following topics may trigger you:
- Animal cruelty
- Death / dying
Looker had me glued to the page constantly. It’s unlike any psychological thriller I’ve read before, and it was very good. The sole narrator of this character-driven story is extremely unlikable and untrustworthy. I’m usually not drawn to unlikable narrators, but because the story is essentially about her demise, it works really well.
This novel is unique for many reasons. Sims made several conscious decisions to disorient the reader and keep you from feeling comfortable with the narrative. For example, there are no chapters. I know what you’re thinking, but don’t panic! The book is quite short (only 180 pages) and propels itself forward so well that this isn’t a problem. But because of this, you don’t have time to relax or sit back and think. You have a sense of urgency to continue on with our frantic narrator.
The narrator – who remains unnamed throughout the novel, I might add – lies to you and herself constantly. You’re not sure what’s real, what’s a figment of her imagination, and what she just blatantly lies about, and this keeps you on your toes at all times. She is absolutely delusional about her relationships and the way she’s perceived by others. Many scenes she describes are very clearly exaggerated so that she may comfort herself.
Looker is one of the most unique and interesting psychological thrillers I’ve read. The structure – short and with huge momentum – and point-of-view – exclusively from an untrustworthy and unnamed narrator – work together wonderfully to keep you in the dark on motive and what will happen next. I highly recommend this quick read to fans of thrillers.
Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts on Looker. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the novel in the comments or at my Instagram, @bookmarkedbya!