Last September 2018, Lifetime premiered You on TV, but not until Netflix picked it up that everyone started buzzing and going gaga about it. With its pop culture references, interesting storyline and relatable characters, its fanbase is definitely growing like crazy and you can’t deny that almost everyone’s attention is on its lead character, Joe, an obsessive-but-super-hot bookstore manager.
While we obsess with him, let’s also take a deeper look into what he’s obsessed with and I’m not talking about Guinevere Beck, let’s save that one for the show to discuss. I’m referring to books! As a bookstore manager, there’s no doubt he’s a go-to guy for book recommendations. In the show, he loves recommending books especially to Beck and to his little friend, Paco; and as a fan, we know you want to take note of these and so we created a list for you! Let’s take a deep into it!
1. Desperate Characters Paula Fox
When Joe and Beck first met at the bookstore, the former recommended this book to the latter which instantly created a bond between them. The book is about a troubled couple trapped in a childless and loveless marriage. It also gives a look into the 1960s New York life. You can’t help but see some touches of similarities between Desperate Characters and You and so it’s indeed a witty choice to feature it in the first scene!
2. Ozma of Oz by L. Frank Baum
This is the book that Joe stole from Peach Salinger’s book collection and which he then lend to Paco. Ozma of Oz is the third instalment in the classic Oz book series. It has been set five years after the events of The Wizard of Oz and it follows the adventures of Dorothy and her friends in the Land of Ev where they have to save Ev’s royal family from the evil Nome King.
3. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Wuthering Heights shows up in some interesting scenes in the show. Joe gave a copy of it to Paco, whose stepfather is beating his mom. It also appeared on episode 9, during a flashback of Candace, Joe’s runaway ex-girlfriend. Then after that, we see Joe repairing a copy of the book. This classic love story between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff is filled with violent, beautiful and erotic love which perfectly fits the themes of You as well. You and Wuthering Heights are stories which give us a good insight into people who went mad because of love.
4. Don Quixote by Miguel De Cervantes
This is another book recommendation of Joe to Paco early in the series. It’s about a man who went mad believing in chivalric romances. He goes on an insane mission to revive chivalry and save his country. This seems to allude to Joe’s own fate. He becomes this guy who loses all reason while obsessing on romance and protecting the girl he desires.
5. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Joe lends this book to Paco next, saying that the creature in the story is scary but is really not the monster. Frankenstein is about a scientist who assembled a dead body and gave life to it. The scientist rejected his creation and it then came back to avenge the suffering and loneliness it felt when it was driven away. By featuring this story, the creator of the show seems to give justification to the actions of Joe by implying that there’s a deeper human reason to his evilness.
6. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
The last but definitely not the least on the list, this Dumas novel was used to help Paco have a deeper understanding about revenge. Joe wanted Paco to see the beauty of waiting for the right time to avenge his mother against his abusive stepdad. Paco then gets angry after reading the book saying that he can’t wait for years to get his revenge just like what the main character in the book did. The Count of Monte Cristo is about a young merchant sailor who was incarcerated for a crime he did not commit and it took him 24 years to finally get back at the people who did this to him.
I could go on forever about all the pop culture references and hidden meanings in this show but this article has to end, but I’m pretty sure our admiration for the creativeness of You won’t meet its end any time soon.
Enjoy these reads, everyone!