Book Review: You Remind Me of Me by Dan Chaon

You Remind Me of Me by Dan ChaonI read this book for the USA in 90 Days challenge but I had heard of this author before and was interested in reading one of his books anyway. You Remind Me of Me didn’t disappoint. It’s a solid contemporary fiction novel about a dysfunctional family.

You Remind Me of Me: What it is about

Six-year old Jonah was dead for a short time before he was resuscitated. His grandfather’s dog had attacked him and left him for dead. For the rest of his life, Jonah has unpleasant scars in his face that bother him always, as all the people he meets are weary of him.

The relationship with his mother wasn’t good and he found out she always suffered from having given up her first-born son (Jonah’s half-brother) for adoption. As an adult, Jonah succeeds in finding his brother but his is reluctant to announce himself as Troy’s brother. He is very obsessed with Troy and his family. Things go from bad to worse and Jonah eventually becomes a threat to Troy and his young son.

Throughout the book, the reader is moved backwards and forwards in time. We find out about Jonah’s mother’s background, about Troy and his family, and the pieces start to come together to form a very good story about the struggles of the various members of this extended family.

You Remind Me of Me: What I thought

I had expected more of a search-for-lost-brother story, but the searching hardly took any time. Rather, the book was about how Jonah would have loved to have had Troy’s chances in life, but he was at the same time resentful that Troy hadn’t made more of himself.

The build-up of the book is great.The story wasn’t all happy families, as I’d sort of expected. There was a lot of raw family drama, possibly quite real-life in some families unfortunately: problems raising children in an unstable home, getting caught by the police for drug dealing, obsession with the half-brother’s family, or simply trying to make a living.

I enjoyed and appreciated this book a lot but it was a bit darker than I had expected, which I found unsettling.

Rating: 4 (out of 5)

Number of pages: 376 (Dutch edition)

First published: 2004

I got this book: from the library

Genre: contemporary fiction

Have you read this book?

Did you enjoy it?

About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

9 Responses to Book Review: You Remind Me of Me by Dan Chaon

  1. Usually books about (troubled) family relations are interesting reads, and this one doesn’t seem an exception. Thanks, Judith.

  2. victoriah4rt says:

    The concept of it sounds good. I have to say, I love books that are unsettling, each to their own and all.

  3. Cassie says:

    I keep hearing wonderful things about Dan Chaon but I have yet to read any of his books. I was going to start with his short stories, but this book sounds great.

  4. Leslie says:

    I think I might like this one. I read Dan Chaon’s recent collection of creepy short stories and liked it so this being a little dark wouldn’t be a problem.

  5. Stephanie says:

    For some reason, I have a weakness for dark stories about dysfunctional families. This does sound quite good. Thanks, Judith.

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