You know when you start a book and think it’s going to be a certain way and the book actually goes there and it’s super satisfying? And you end up not disappointed by a book you thought was going to disappoint you? The Body Double was that kind of book for me. This book was wild and had some amazingly well done paranormal-esque twists that were, in my opinion, very successful.
The Body Double starts with our nameless main character/narrator working her boring job at a boring movie theater. One day, though, a man offers her a job she can’t refuse- to be the body double for the wealthy LA socialite, Rosanna Feld, who has suffered a mental breakdown and wants to protect her place in society. Because our narrator has practically no family and no friends, she knows that no one will miss her when she’s gone, and she takes the job and heads to LA. Over many months, our narrator goes through a lot of changes (physically, emotionally, and mentally) and tries her best to become Rosanna, enough to convince even Rosanna’s closest friends.
Things take a turn for our narrator, though, when she starts to feel how Rosanna would feel, remember things only Rosanna would remember, and actually slip into Rosanna’s character. The more she learns from and about Rosanna, the more confusing her situation becomes. She no longer knows who to trust, and begins to feel more and more that she is actually Rosanna. What made this a great book for me was this larger mystery; I was constantly questioning what was real and what was simply in our narrator’s head. The book never comes to a solid conclusion on most of this, leaving a lot of the book up for reader interpretation.
I don’t typically enjoy contemporary mystery/thrillers because so many of them seem to have themes or twists involving mental illness or addiction. And if you want me to hate a book really quickly, make the crux of the book be that a character is actually just mentally ill. I dislike that trope so much, and I was so afraid that The Body Double would go that route. And, truthfully, it almost did. Instead, though, the book went a remarkably different direction, and I really liked it.
All that being said, this book has a very particular tone to it which might put some people off. The narration is slow and methodical, and our character teeters on both depression and disordered eating. These things can be tough to read, but I didn’t feel that either of these were overly done or improperly used. We do see our main character through a lot of mundane activities and through some really lonely days alone, and it can be tough.
All in all, I recommend this book if you like mystery/thrillers, books with substantial intrigue, and if you aren’t opposed to small bits of paranormal suspense. This wasn’t a perfect book, but I did really enjoy it. 3.5/5 stars, rounded to 4 stars!
A note about the audiobook: The audiobook for The Body Double was excellently narrated, and I think its a great format to experience this book. The narrator was able to capture our main character becoming Rosanna, which made the story so much more creepy. Because the book is slow and not full of action, I think the audiobook might be the best format for this.
Thanks to Netgalley and Doubleday Publishing for providing me an eArc of this book in exchange for an honest review. Ultimately, I listened to this book through audiobook form, with an audiobook I purchased myself!