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Toke awhile to grasp what was the story or the stories within the story. Then went on and on and on............ Found it frustrating to read but some good descriptive writing. Good luck if you take this read on.
The House Mate is a psychological thriller that blew me away and caused me to rethink my perceptions of the entire story after the book came to an end.
What I Loved
I love that there are so many themes running through the plot. The most obvious of these themes is the overuse of social media and how people can’t distinguish between reality and the carefully filtered world of Instagram. The main character, Regi, is drawn into the world of #cleanstagram, and she quickly learns about trolls and tries to save her favorite Instagrammer from the mocking comments of one such person by locating that person and paying him/her a visit. Are you cringing yet? Well, you should be.
Along with the theme of the overuse of social media, there are more subtle related themes of perception versus reality and the ability to hide in plain sight while rewriting your own story. Regi changed her name as a reflection of wanting to change her story. The big mystery is why? What is she running from? There are many more themes I could identify, and I loved how each developed throughout the story. It provides lots to discuss long after I finished the book.
My favorite character is Sophia, one of Regi’s housemates. Genuine diagnosable OCD is a challenging disorder to live with as much for the person who has it as those who live with that person. It takes patience and understanding that are unusual to see in college-age young men and women. Still, in that sea of misunderstanding, Sophia, with her gentle ways and empathy, never wavered. She is an excellent reminder that mental health disorders are an illness, not a choice.
I especially love the ending of this story. I went along, keeping a pretty fast pace and glued to the book, though not understanding where the story was trying to go. And, then, the end happened, and I was blown away. I read so many psychological thrillers that surprises don’t happen as much as I’d like, but The House Mates not only surprised me with the ending, it made me realize that my whole perception of the story had been incorrect. I am in total awe of any novel that can blow my mind, and The House Mate not only blew my mind, but it shook it up and spat it back out.
To Read or Not to Read
If you are a psychological thriller-junkie like me, you won’t want to miss this shocking, fast-paced tale of misperceptions.
Regi has recently moved into a house she shares with 3 much younger women. Regi has OCD and has to regularly perform certain repetitive actions to get through the moment or day. How she developed OCD is not revealed to us right away. She has a secret about her past and vaguely refers to some terrible event and her involvement in it. The book has a claustrophobic feeling as the description says because most of the book is inside her head and about her anxious thoughts and ideas.
The book is divided into 3 parts with chapters labelled Now, Then, and posts from an Instagram influencer called Mrs. Clean. The parts where Regi felt awkward around her housemates were done well but there weren't really any clues to suggest where the story was going. There was A LOT of repetition, including the phrases 'shiny eyes' and 'dry mouth'. The Instagram posts were a nice touch but weren't a part of Regi's past. One would think the Then chapters would tell us something but they end up causing confusion. I don't know if it was intentional but being labelled Then and the story being told within them seems to suggest it.
The climax takes place when Regi's obsession with Mrs. Clean grows and she takes action. It leads to a positive outcome but no normal person would or should do what Regi does. I was left feeling tricked and unsatisfied. I'm also unsure what the message was.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the read.
I was immediately drawn to this book by its sinister cover and I wanted to read it straight away without even seeing what it was about. The bonus of it was that it was written by Nina Manning, whose other two books I have enjoyed, which just added even more to its appeal.
The plot for The House Mate appears pretty straightforward, but once you get into the story, it takes a more complex route which at times could be confusing and had me wondering what was going on and where it was heading, but once it was made clear, it made much more sense. it really has been very cleverly plotted and put together when looking back on it.
I always enjoyed Nina Manning’s writing and she does a great job of keeping you wanting to flick those pages. Her characters are always very well developed and each are brought to life through the pages. The main character in this story suffers from OCD and anxiety and Nina Manning has done such a great job in portraying these two crippling disorders.
In my opinion I think that The House Mate is Nina Manning’s best work to date. It is very unique and although not to everyone’s taste based on other feedback I have read, it is this uniqueness that makes it a stand out to me. It was a pleasure to read and review The House Mate and I look forward to seeing what Nina Manning comes up with for her readers next.
Reviewed in the United States on February 12, 2021
I’m struggling here. The story did keep me reading. The problem I have is that I’m not sure what I read. I picked it up as a thriller. I’ve been reading a lot of them lately. For the majority of the book I didn’t feel like it was a thriller. I felt like it was more of a mental health drama. Our main character is Regi. She is sharing a flat with 3 house mates, all younger than her. Regi has OCD and, possibly, PTSD. She presents as an abuse survivor whose husband has possibly found her. For most of the book I was interested in Regi who I thought of as coming into a recovery of sorts from her past. Then comes the end and I don’t know anything. I mean I understand the ending. I get that Regi was an unreliable narrator. I just didn’t feel a good closure so I feel like I missed out on a lot of the story. I feel kind of cheated because I invested in what I was being told. Then it went off totally different. I’m kind of okay with that. It happens with a lot of thrillers. But then, not only was it totally different, it all wrapped up neatly. One big love fest. Huh? I don’t know what I really feel yet. Perhaps it was the confusing alternating chapters, (it comes and goes between now and then), or just a let down feeling by it all wrapping up so nicely. I don’t know what to tell you about if you should read this or not. It definitely is one that is an individual pick. I thought the author did well with getting down both the OCD part and the PTSD. I have both so I feel like I can give an opinion on that. The rest... I don’t know. I read it consistently so it is interesting. I think it was the ending wrapping up so neatly that bothers me. My advice would be to borrow it and see if it catches your interest. I probably wouldn’t recommend audio just because it keeps going back and forth, past to present. On audio that can get even more confusing. I read this through the Kindle Unlimited program. My rating is actually a 3.5 but I round up as we can’t give half stars.
Reviewed in the United States on December 16, 2020
The House Mate (Audio version) Nina Manning
While this is listed as a psychological thriller, I would consider it more of a psychological drama, I can really explain more without spoiling anything. Regina “Regi” is 35, suffers from OCD and major social anxiety and has just moved into a house share with three twenty somethings, Sophia, Karen, and Mina is trying to start over taking classes at the local university. But she is also starting over in another way, Regi isn’t her real name. When she tries to get over her anxiety by following an influencer on Instagram and becomes obsessed will her distractions make her spiral even more?
This book is a great look into social media and obsession as well as mental illness and how we deal with trauma. As we go back in forth in chapters between then, now, and Instagram posts, we see Regi’s story unfold. While the IG posts seem unnecessary by the end of the story they will make more sense and fall into place. Regi is also a very unreliable narrator and we we learn A LOT about her by the end of the book and I was pretty surprised by the ending. It was very interesting seeing the dynamic of the roommates and how they dealt with both the age difference and Regi’s conditions. While this book was slightly confusing at times, it was an enjoyable listen and the narrator did a good job voicing the story. This is my first book by this author but I so plan on checking out the others she has written.
I give this 3.75 of 5 stars and thank Rachels Random Resources, author Nina Manning and NetGalley for the review copy of this audiobook.
This is my third Nina Manning psychological thriller and I love the way she teases us in one direction only to snap us back and leave us wondering what we just read. The protagonist Regi is attempting to start over which is difficult when she is constantly reliving her past, while trying to clean it up, literally and figuratively. Told in then and now timelines, the reader is given glimpses of a dark past that manifests in a troubling OCD of constant cleanliness, exasperated by following a similar person on Instagram. I honestly had no idea of what was going to happen, but I knew it would be very bad, and oh, was it bad. Great read and when you are finished, you may need to go back and start it again.