Book Review: A Novel Obsession by Caitlin Barasch


Title: A Novel Obsession

By: Caitlin Barasch

Genre: Fiction

Pages: 336

Release Date: March 15th, 2022

Publisher: Dutton Books

Rating: ★★★★☆


Summary from Goodreads:

A wry and bold debut novel, which is at once an irresistible catastrophe waiting to happen and an unflinching exploration of how we narrate the stories of our lives, as an aspiring novelist finds herself stalking—and writing about—her boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend.

“I can’t help but compare our worth as writers, as lovers, as women. Is anything solely mine, or will I always dwell in someone else’s shadow?”

Twenty-four-year-old bookseller and New Yorker Naomi Ackerman, desperate to write a novel, struggles to find the right story to tell. When, after years of disastrous Tinder dates, she meets Caleb—a perfectly nice guy with a Welsh accent and a unique patience for all of her quirks—she feels she's finally stumbled onto a time-honored subject: love. But then Caleb's ex-girlfriend, Rosemary, enters the scene.

When Naomi learns that Rosemary is not safely tucked away overseas as she'd assumed but in fact lives in New York and works in the literary world, she is fundamentally threatened and intrigued in equal measure. On paper, Rosemary sounds like a better version of Naomi—but if they both fell for the same man, they must have something more essential in common.

Determined to figure out how their stories intertwine, Naomi's casual Instagram stalking morphs into a full-blown friendship under false pretenses. She can't seem to get herself to quit Rosemary, in whom she discovers an unexpected confidant—and she can't stop writing about her either, having now found a more interesting subject for her nascent novel. As her lies and half-truths spiral out of her control, and fact and fiction become increasingly difficult to separate, Naomi manipulates the most important people in her life—her family, her friends, Caleb, Rosemary, and, perhaps most devastatingly, herself—in pursuit of her craft. Ultimately, she’s forced to decide who and what she's willing to sacrifice to write them all the perfect ending.


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I think everyone in this book needs some serious counseling.

From the get go, this story started off with a cringe worthy bang. Naomi seems insecure about her boyfriend, especially when she finds out his ex-girlfriend lives in New York. Mistake after mistake is made, and I felt super bad for Naomi as she tries to navigate her stalker tendencies, but when she starts digging into her relationship with her boyfriend, I started to root for the other guy. 

Toward the end, it was like watching a crime from the bad guys point of view. Naomi thinks she is doing right because she desperately wants to finish writing her book, but deep down inside we all know she is one messed up person. 

This was a fun read, although my finger nails wont agree since I chewed them all off with anxiety. Four stars!

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review. 

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