~The publisher provided a copy of this book for review. No other compensation was received. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.~
My introduction to Deb Caletti’s writing was with Stay, just over two years ago. The book haunted me, and I was left in awe of her way of describing emotions and writing characters that were either sympathetic or so easy to dislike. He’s Gone is Deb Caletti’s first novel for adults, and returns to relationship themes she has explored in her books for teens. In He’s Gone, Caletti presents us with Dani Keller, a woman whose husband vanishes the night of an argument that Dani can only partly remember.
He’s Gone is written in first person and reads very much like a confession. In an unapologetic voice, Dani recounts her first marriage to Mark, a man who physically abused her and the emotional and later on physical affair with Ian that finally gave her the strength to divorce Mark. Ian, who was also married at the time he met Dani, gave up his friends and family to be with her. They built a new life together, leaving the suburbs for a more peaceful life on a house boat. In the early stages of the novel, Dani’s relationship with Ian is preferable to the one with Mark, but as Dani more deeply analyzes her second marriage, she reveals little details that add up to a more complicated and unsatisfying relationship.
Reading He’s Gone over a period of several days was torture. Even though Dani seemed innocent of any crime against Ian, there was always a shadow of doubt lingering in my mind. As Dani did everything she could to find out the whereabouts of her husband and opened up more about her marriage, the more likely it seemed that she very well could have acted against him. The list of what could have happened to Ian kept getting longer and longer, and none of my predictions were correct.
He’s Gone is one of those books I wish I’d purchased as an ebook; there are so many passages I would have highlighted to go back to someday, even though they forced me to analyze my own marriage in ways that made me uncomfortable. I think many of the things Dani says in this novel will dig into readers’ hearts and make them feel something, whether it’s relief that their marriage is nothing like hers or that perhaps their own relationship needs some outside help.
Reading He’s Gone was the kick in the pants I needed to go and pick up all of her books I’ve not yet read. I’ll definitely be purchasing ebooks, because I know there will be passages well worth revisiting when I feel like I’ve lost my way.