NoveList, a database of fiction authors, titles, book group discussion ideas, and read-alikes, gave me the suggestion to read Chris Bohjalian's novel The Double Bind. I had just completed Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse and wanted to find something similar in psychological thrill and storyline. The description sounded intriguing enough: Working at a homeless shelter, student Laurel Estabrook encounters Bobbie Crocker, a man with a history of mental illness and a box of secret photos, but when Bobbie dies suddenly, Laurel embarks on an obsessive search for the truth behind the photos. Then, when I found the story was an extension of the tragedy of Jay Gatsy, Myrtle and George Wilson, Daisy and Tom Buchanan and their lives, I was unsure. I love The Great Gatsby so much that I thought any iteration or abandonment of the original dreams and disasters in the story would be an abhoration.
And, often as I read, I kept feeling this way. It seemed like the author was just trying too hard to force a story of a child of Daisy's who becomes homeless leaving behind a legacy of incriminating photos. Then, I would read a section which gave insight into the psyche of the homeless or schizophrenic. Somehow, I kept reading, and by the last three or four pages, I was ready to skim over parts of the book again looking for the clues I might have missed in my earlier distraction.
The Double Bind