Review: Just Stab Me Now
Sunday, April 28, 2024

Just Stab Me NowJust Stab Me Now by Jill Bearup
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A unique take on the process of writing fiction that made me laugh and groan in equal measure.

This book is written as a framed story, meaning a story written inside another story with multiple layers of narration. I didn't realize that going in, so it took me a little bit to get into the book. At first I was reading it as Rosamund's story (a fairly straightforward fantasy), which started out with a bit of an info-dump. (Lots of names of people and places thrown at the reader all at once.) Then Caroline, Rosamund's author, stepped in to point out that the reader didn't need all that information up front--which I wholeheartedly agreed with--at which point I realized this book was not going to be straightforward at all.

Caroline is the author of Rosamund's story (not to be confused with Jill Bearup, the author of the actual book). As such, Rosamund's story is constantly being interrupted by Caroline as she works through plot and character development issues by hashing them out with the characters involved. In this way, Bearup portrays the muddled inner workings of a "pantser" author--someone who doesn't follow an outline but rather lets the story carry them where it will. As Caroline complains about her characters going off script and tries to figure out how to write the story as she was intending, we get snippets into her "real" life--that of an underappreciated modern-day office worker slash author. As the stories progress, it becomes apparent that Caroline's and Rosamund's lives, while different, are mirrors of each other, though I found myself much more invested in Caroline's narrative than Rosamund's.

While the transitions between narrators and Caroline's interjections were often quite jarring, the rest of the writing was fairly smooth. The world building was believable, though not terribly unique. Both stories are primarily romances. Caroline tells Rosamund her story is an enemies-to-lovers romance, though there wasn't much "enemies" in it. This was another example of Caroline not being able to make her characters behave the way she intended, which was the most charming aspect of the book.

As an author myself, I could relate to some of Caroline's challenges as she tried to weave her story together, but I'm not much of a pantser. I've never just sat at my computer with no idea what I was going to write and seen where the story took me. In that regard, I found the character of Caroline a little frustrating at times. She seemed to just assume her story would work... and it did. Even though I couldn't quite relate, I still found her chaotic process amusing.

Definitely worth a read for those looking for a lighthearted, humerus, romance.

View all my reviews