Precious You

(Contains spoilers)

Image from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52700321-precious-you — I did edit it a bit to remove the text to get it more clear looking.

Precious You is Helen Monks Takhar’s debut thriller, psychological thriller, and suspense novel. It was released in March of 2020 and sold in stores around Midsummer, so it’s basically fresh out of the oven. Monks Takhar is a British author, and the milieu of the book is also based on London, UK.

Design of the cover by Tuomo Parikka.

I bought Precious You and another book (review from it coming soon) from a bookstore where many thrillers, romances, and scientific novels were coincidentally on sale. I got it for 8 euros when the starting price was almost 30 euros — that’s a steal! I had to insert a photo of the cover that Precious You was published in my country. While the book cover with Lucy and Katherine in front of the orange background might be more recognizable and marketed on other countries, the cover design by Tuomo Parikka is absolutely gorgeous. I almost bought the book just because of it’s exterior. If I would ever write a book, the cover of the piece would be something similar to this. The material of the cover was matt finished, and even the golden letters were raised a bit to create wholly sophisticated feel to it.

The main character of the book is 41-year-old Katherine Ross, who has worked nearly 20 years at a magazine called Leadership, and is now the editor-of-chief. She lives in Manor House, London, which is around 20–30 minutes away from the Leadership head office in Borough. She shares her Victorian style apartment with her long-time partner Iain, who she’s in a open relationship with. Iain is mainly a homemaker because of a failure of his original film called “Movie” pushed him more towards alcohol than trying to overcome the challenges in his writing. Both Iain and Katherine seem to have issues in alcohol usage, drinking themselves to almost pass out every night. This is also the one habit that connects them the most.

Besides the drinking, Katherine has some mental health problems which caused her to skip work for a while, after just recently returning. Katherine also experiences almost every night vivid nightmares that are based on her childhood. She used to live in a farm with her strict, mentally abusing mother until she died in an apparent accident when Katherine was 18 years old. Katherine wrote a whole script on these events but even Iain wasn’t allowed to read it.

The other main character is Lily Lunt (later known as Fretwell) who just moved to Manor House to apartment building right across the road from Katherine’s. She’s in her twenties, and got an internship place from Leadership because her aunt Gemma Lunt bought the financially struggling magazine, and wanted Lily to have an opportunity to advance her career. Her childhood wasn’t great either since she was placed between her mother Elaine’s and aunt Gemma’s power struggle. Elaine wanted to compensate the mistakes she had done when raising Lily and ensure that, even though they had to move to Gemma’s place after Elaine faced some financial problems, she was still the one taking care of her. Gemma, however, wanted to spoil Lily and treat her like her own daughter that she never had.

The first day of Lily’s internship, she and Katherine share a cab to Borough. Katherine was immediately interested in Lily and wanted to know more about her, and most importantly felt like she could relate to her. She found her mesmerizing, beautiful, and young — everything she still wants to be. These factors slowly created confrontation between the age groups that Katherine and Lily belong to. Katherine believes that the generation of 90’s and 2000’s, also knows as Millennials, are the generation of “snow-flakes” who get offended more easily and are less resilient than the previous generations. They act hypocritically offended when talking about sex but still support the liberalization of different sexualities. Their food, beverages, and lifestyles are much healthier, and they look down their nose at people who enjoy using substances. They don’t understand the difference between acquaintances joking and a racist or sexist statement. Lily, in other hand, thinks that the 30 or 40 somethings have already seen their better days. It’s time for them to climb down the ladder and give a helping hand to the Millennials who struggle to find a meaningful job and make the ends meet.

Monks Takhar actually wanted to concentrate on the generation differences of women in Precious You. Middle-aged women suddenly become invisible — not only to the male colleagues but also to the women in the office. This creates the illusion that the younger, better looking women are getting more opportunities than the more mature, and usually more experienced ones. And you know what, pretty privilege is a thing, even though it shouldn’t be. Monks Takhar tried to address that even though it’s usually men that get in the way of women’s career and self-esteem, it can also be the other women. Empathy doesn’t come automatically especially in a such harsh labor market.

I think that the real reason for the strong bond that Katherine and Lily created, was that they were both lonely, without no-one to talk to. At times their relationship even felt sexual, like when they were spending the day at Rosewood and undressed in order to get full body massages, Katherine couldn’t get her eyes off of Lily. It was actually heart-breaking to imagine how Katherine would pour her entirely soul in their conversations, and moments later read about the Lily’s perspective of the events: she plain simply didn’t care. I actually recently had similar experience on this happening to me. A friend that I considered to be one of my best ones wanted to end our friendship without any apparent reason. It hurts like hell to realize that a person you cared so deeply couldn’t care less about you.

Like I mentioned earlier, this book contained a lot of jealousy between women in different generations. I didn’t like that Katherine compared herself and Lily at all times, and especially when there were men involved. They were constantly competing for Asif’s or Iain’s attention which didn’t sit right with me. Also the representation of the male characters was so shallow. They were all easily manipulated by the other characters, especially if sex was involved. The worst case was Iain, who cheated Katherine, threw her out of her own apartment, and didn’t care where she would stay, started a relationship and begin to plan on starting a family, and even changed his whole lifestyle just because Lily decided to sweet talk to him at a crusty bar.

Even though almost all the characters were awful, I found them really interesting. Katherine ended up being nothing like I would’ve expected from the beginning, and also Lily had really intriguing motives for the thing she did. The book was exciting, surprising, and just overall addicting — I couldn’t put it down! Some reviews that I stumbled upon on Precious You, said that the book was really slow-paced, and while I agree, that was also the part that I liked the most. There were time to experience all the “normal” things that these characters did in their day-to-day life. Also to some the confrontation between the generations brought up a lot of stereotypes which they found irritating. It’s still good to keep in mind that the structure of book was build that it worked like a diary for both Katherine and Lily, and they didn’t always act on their thoughts. Individuals with deeply rooted stereotypes about certain people exist, and for all the best possible solution would be to break them, and in many ways this book did just that.

5/5

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Bookmarkedd

Bookmarkedd

Reviewing books I happen to stumble upon. Definitely just an amateur’s opinions. Enjoy!