I'm going to be honest, I liked the beginning of this book twice as much as I liked the end, which I despised. The beginning of this book follows the typical "psycho becomes obsessed with a girl" formula, of books like Caroline Kepnes's YOU and John Fowles's THE COLLECTOR. Teo is a medical student who lives with his mom and is a Norman Bates psychotic stuffed shirt type, buttoned up with mommy issues and personal hang-ups. Luckily, he doesn't kill his mom in this one - but he does kill her dog (spoiler).
One day, he meets a carefree and beautiful bohemian type at a party. Her name is Clarice, which maybe is a nod to SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, as well, since Hannibal Lector was also a doctor. Clarice is writing a screenplay called Perfect Days, which sounds a bit like THE BEACH - it's about a bunch of flaky young women with issues who end up going on an adventure across Brazil with a mysterious and darkly handsome stranger.
Teo, naturally, falls in love with her - if by "love," you mean, he stalks her, drugs her, and then kidnaps her, taking her by force across the same road trip in her screenplay. He's determined to make her love him, but Clarice has an iron will and things take an odd turn after several weeks of captivity, when she seems to give in.
This is a brutal story and there's trigger warnings across the board. Apart from the druggings and abductions and animal death, there's also rape and medical gore and a whole bunch of unpleasant and disgusting narrative descriptions. I actually found myself cringing at certain points in the book, which I don't do too often, and haven't done since reading A LITTLE LIFE. I also didn't like the ending at all. Until I got to the end, I was going to praise this book for empowering the heroine, Clarice, and making her such a flawed and dimensional heroine, but the ending felt like a slap in the face. I'm not going to say anything else, but if you think you know what happens, you probably don't.
In the beginning of this book, I thought it would be an easy four stars. By the time the last sixty pages were rolling along, I was considering giving this book a two. I'll average them and give a three.
2.5 to 3 out of 5 stars