My January book club’s selection of Dan Chaon’s YOU REMIND ME OF ME is my first read of the first week of the year. It also happens to be my hosting month and this was one of three options I gave the group.

It has been a while since I have read something that is just so exquisitely written and Chaon’s first novel (after reaching critical success with a collection of short stories, Among the Missing) is one that I am adding to my short list of all-time favorites. Following a shifting timeline, Chaon takes the reader Bowville, South Dakota and St. Bonaventure, Nebraska to tell the story of three troubled individuals seeking to understand their role in the world, find connection and uncover meaning. Spanning over 30 years, the book opens with a tragic accident that will shape the main character, Jonah, and forever change his view on the world and other’s view of him.

Chaon is a master of the details without being overbearing and has painted such clear pictures of pain, loneliness and isolation that I couldn’t help but feel empathy for his lot of misfits, who, in actuality have a lot about them that is unlikeable. However, Chaon writes with objectivity, simply telling their story, free of judgment and it’s this perspective that enabled me to embrace these characters and plow through the book not wanting to put it down. In fact, YOU REMIND ME OF ME would be the perfect book to pick up on a long rainy weekend, when a comfy couch and a warm blanket are within arm’s reach.

Rating: 5 stars
Pages: 356
Genre: Fiction