Book review: Blueeyedboy by Joanne Harris

We all show different sides of ourselves depending on the situation we’re in, or the person we’re talking to, but with the invention of the internet the possibilities of reinventing ourselves are endless.

In blueeyedboy, Joanne Harris uses a thriller to explore issues of identity, disguise and the difference between fantasy and reality.

Living at home with his mother in a village, B.B. spends most of his time online at a website called badguysrock. The reader learns about his life through a series of restricted and public entries, which tell of his relationship with his controlling mother, his brothers, and others in the village growing up.

And through it all, B.B. spins tales of murder, explaining, or fantasising about, the deaths of people close to him, and to other members of the badguysrock community, including the mysterious Albertine.

Full of twists and turns, blueeyedboy was a book I found difficult to put down, and every time I thought I’d worked out what was going on there came another clue that led to my theories being blown to dust.

Told entirely through web posts, Harris purposefully presents just a few sides of a layered story full of complex characters, meaning we either have to trust B.B. and Albertine’s version of events, which we don’t entirely, or we have to delve further into tiny hints the two characters don’t even realise they’re giving to find out more.

As it hurtles to its climax, the online and real lives of B.B. start coming together in a terrifying way. Mind games are rife throughout blueeyedboy, but perhaps the biggest mind game of all is being played by Harris, whose intricate story left me wanting to yell in shock as I read the final word.

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