Review: The Body Double by Emily Beyda
A dark, glittering debut novel, The Body Double is the suspenseful story of a young woman who is recruited by a stranger to give up her old life and identity to impersonate a reclusive Hollywood star.
A strange man discovers our nameless narrator selling popcorn at a decrepit small-town movie theater and offers her an odd and lucrative position: she will forget her job, her acquaintances, even her name, and move to Los Angeles, where she will become the body double of the famous and troubled celebrity Rosanna Feld. A nervous breakdown has forced Rosanna out of the public eye, and she needs a look-alike to take her place in the tabloid media circus of Hollywood. Overseen by Max, who hired her for the job, our narrator spends her days locked up in a small apartment in the hills watching hidden camera footage of Rosanna, wearing Rosanna's clothes, eating the food Rosanna likes, practicing her mannerisms, learning to become Rosanna in every way. But as she makes her public debut as Rosanna, dining at elegant restaurants, shopping in stylish boutiques, and finally risking a dinner party with Rosanna's true inner circle, alarming questions begin to arise. What really caused Rosanna's mental collapse? Will she ever return? And is Max truly her ally, or something more sinister? With echoes of Hitchcock's Vertigo, The Body Double is a fabulously plotted noir about fame, beauty, and the darkness of Hollywood.
I am giving this book a 4/5. The story was complex and I was steadily questioning the characters and every event. It definitely had me going and I was thinking that at some point all the stuff was going to hit the fan. It definitely did. The main characters were interesting and a tad bit creepy. Our narrator has no name and it makes sense since she is taking on the identity of someone else. Not only that, she tells us a few details about the life she left behind like her foster mom and her biological father and in all honesty, no one will miss her. She has to give up her past life in order to carry out this elaborate plan of pretending to be a Hollywood actress, Rosanna Feld. She has to learn her mannerisms, dress like her, and even live like her to an extent. The amount of work that has to be done is ridiculous. She has to get plastic surgery and eat like her. Not only that, she is trapped in this apartment for months learning to be like Rosanna by watching these videos that Max shows her.
Max, the man who is helping our narrator, does not come off as trustworthy to me. He is weird and creepy. Our narrator has never really been loved and somehow he knows that. How long has he been watching our narrator and what is his relationship with Rosanna? Whatever their relationship may be, it’s weird. I know he is supposed to guide our narrator, but he seems too close to the situation. Also, how is he seeing everything that they do? There was a large amount of videos that our narrator watched in order to copy Rosanna’s voice and know what she wanted to order or what she would buy. Where does Max go when he leaves our narrator? There are so many questions that I had while reading and everything just made him seem more creepy. You have to wait until the end to figure out why our narrator must pretend to be Rosanna. All I’m saying is that I knew Max was weird and that nothing in this story seemed quite right.
I’m not sure I would be able to give up my life and become someone else even if money was involved. I would not want to lose my family or friends. Even though my life may not be as fabulous, I definitely appreciate everything that I have been given. This book will make you question what would you do and have you looking at everyone around you more closely. I don’t think I would enjoy being told what I can and cannot do or being told when I can and cannot leave. The only way I would be able to do this is if I really had no one in my life that cared for me or would miss me if I disappeared. I am most uncomfortable with the idea of someone watching me at all times and me having to change everything about myself to fit into this lifestyle. Everything is super weird. Either way, I will let you determine whether or not you would like to purchase this book yourself when it is released.
Thank you Netgalley and Double Day Books for granting me this e-ARC. The Body Double will be released in March 3, 2020.