[35/50] Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber

The premise: a young woman whose life has become the subject of a viral podcast.

The problem: she wants to hate the podcast for bringing back terrible, horrifying memories of her fathers’ murder…but she may have to accept that the wrong person has been put away for the crime.

The outcome: a book that’s engaging, exciting, and a very pleasant surprise.

Are You Sleeping takes on the viral fame of podcasts like Serial and Someone Knows Something, examining the impact they can have on the people directly affected by the crime — including the perpetrator.

Josie Buhrman is a 29-year-old living in New York City, far removed from the family problems that plagued her childhood and the people who remind her of her fathers’ death. When she overhears someone on the subway talking about a new podcast, she realizes with horror that it’s about her family’s experience.

When another family tragedy happens, Josie is forced to remove to her hometown and confront the spotlight the podcast has shone on her, all while she is dealing with seeing her estranged sister and returning to the place where the worst moment of her life took place.

Are You Sleeping is quite a fun book. I really enjoyed reading it. Although it’s a murder mystery, it wasn’t as dark as a lot of the books I’ve read this year, and I enjoyed the character development of both Josie and her sister, as well as the interesting take on crime podcasts and the role they play in society.

Having been a fan of Serial and other podcasts like it, I guess I’d never really stopped to think about how hard it can be for families and friends of victims to have to hear about their death or disappearance on such a public platform. Are You Sleeping really made me think about the kinds of stories I like to read and listen to and what role they serve. Are they helping the victim’s loved ones by attracting more attention to the crime and potentially offering a solution, or are they a burden?

If you’re a podcast fan, I definitely think you’ll enjoy Are You Sleeping. It’s not the most beautifully written book or intricate plotline I’ve ever come across, but it’s an interesting story and a fun, easy read for a weekend or a day off from work.

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Rating: 3.75/5