You Dear, Sweet Man – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

4 Stars

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Thomas Neviaser

In Thomas Neviaser’s You Dear, Sweet Man, blue-collar worker Bobby Fastow notices an unusual ad on the subway on his way to work. Featuring a beautiful woman and a spread of health-conscious food, there’s nothing particularly unusual about it – or so Bobby thinks. As the days go on, though, he becomes more and more obsessed with the ad. He begins to believe that the woman in the ad can see him and interact with him, but is it real or only a fantasy in his head?

You Dear, Sweet Man is a unique fiction book, but sometimes, it’s so unique that it borders on strange. The plot is confusing at first, as is the revolving door of characters who each seem to need their own chapter to narrate. There’s also a bit of a discrepancy in the book’s pacing; some chapters are suspenseful and exciting, others have a rambling narrative that doesn’t seem to make sense, and still others are almost downright boring. You Dear, Sweet Man captivates with a short, suspenseful opening chapter, then takes quite a while to become that interesting again, which doesn’t seem like an effective method.

However, what makes You Dear, Sweet Man so powerful is its great use of suspense – and over something as ordinary as a subway ad. Turning an everyday, throwaway object like a subway ad into something terrifying, creepy, and suspenseful is a fascinating premise, and one that Thomas Neviaser executes brilliantly. As the story unravels, it’s impossible not to keep reading to find out more about the mysterious woman in the ad. You Dear, Sweet Man is a rollercoaster ride of a read, but a particularly intriguing one that will leave readers eagerly awaiting the next story Thomas Neviaser has up his sleeve.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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