Berlin Syndrome by Melanie Joosten – Book Review

Title: Berlin Syndrome

Author: Melanie Joosten

Published: 27th June 2011

Publisher: Scribe Publications

Genre: Crime, Thriller, Mystery

Pages: 248

Format: E-Book

Rating: **** (4/5 Stars)

About: In 2006, the once-divided city of Berlin still holds its share of secrets. One afternoon, near the tourist trap of Checkpoint Charlie, Clare meets Andi and feels an instant attraction to him. When Andi invites her to stay, Clare thinks she may finally have found somewhere to call home. But as the days pass and the walls of Andi’s apartment close in, Clare begins to wonder if it’s really love that Andi is searching for if it’s something else altogether. This novel is a closely observed and gripping psychological thriller that shifts between Andi’s and Clare’s perspectives, revealing the power of obsession, the fluidity of truth, and the kaleidoscopic nature of human relationships.

Review: In all honesty, I hadn’t really heard anything about this book, it wasn’t until I was procrastinating from my everyday life by watching random film trailers on youtube, did I come across the film trailer for this book.

It was strange because I was weirdly drawn into what was going to happen in the film. I know this is a book review, but I have to say it was the film trailer that first led me to the book. It just looked mesmerizing and complicated. Not forgetting the fact that it just looked brutal. This is, after all, a book about a person being completed isolated from the outside world against her will.

Anyway, it didn’t take me long to buy the kindle version, a mere £3.09 by the way. Extremely cheap. I was, immediately sucked into this complicated story.

It is, after all, a story about Stockholms syndrome, not an easy thing to write about. But I can’t believe how well handled Melanie Joosten managed to write this story. It completely drew me in and further, I even liked the fact that you got both sides to the story – the captor and the captive. It totally put a different perspective on things.

This is a rather short book and I read it in about 4 hours, however, the story didn’t end when I finished the book. It stayed with and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I felt like it messed me up a bit, particular as it is a book that is dealing with something so complicated, that is kind of hard to understand unless you are the person experiencing it.

Joosten managed to explore captivity and the complexity and layers of human interaction, without making it unbelievable.

It was frustrating at times, but that was a mixture of the events occurring in the book, and the writing style. I felt that sometimes, the writing style was trying to be more complex than needed, but in the end (once I had gotten used to it), I think it worked really well.

Lastly, the other frustrating part of this book is the ending. It was a nice twist, I guess you could say, but I certainly didn’t like the fact that it ended so abruptly. You get no retribution, no knowledge of what happens to the both of them and I found this kind of disappointing. This might be because I felt so strongly connected to the characters that I really just wanted to know what their ending would be like.

I mean is the ending happy? Or is just heart-breaking? And further, I still have no idea what could have actually happened next, and that kind of ending really annoys me because it just feels like a dead end and not a story that has any more meaning to it.

I don’t know, though, you might be the type of person who appreciates the abruptness of the ending.

But, what I do have to say, is that I am really pleased (in a slightly, weird and morbid way), that I had a chance to read a book that shows the complexity of how a human being might cope in this type of situation.

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