Call Me Evie
Call Me Evie is the début novel by author J.P. Pomare. It’s the story of seventeen-year-old Kate Bennet, and her struggle to piece together her fragmented memories of one tragic night that changed her life irrevocably. It’s fast-paced and extremely twisty, a book I’m glad I picked up.
When we first meet Kate, she’s been living in a run-down cabin in a beach town far from her home in Melbourne. She’s been there for the past couple of weeks, and it quickly becomes obvious to the reader that Kate was taken there against her will. Her captor is a mysterious man who orders her to call him Bill and who insists on calling her Evie. She tries to escape his clutches several times, but her attempts are never successful. He always manages to catch her, and once he brings her back to the cabin, he reminds her that he’s only trying to save her from some trouble that seems to be awaiting her back in Melbourne. Kate appears to have no memory of what happened before she was whisked away, and so the reader is left kind of confused by what’s going on.
As days pass and Kate’s captivity continues, she becomes ever more determined to uncover the truth about the night she left Melbourne. Bill continuously asks her what she remembers about it, and she always tells him she remembers nothing at all. She tries to get him to tell her what happened, but he insists it’s better for her to remember things on her own.
Kate’s memories do eventually start to return, but she’s quite confused by the tidbits that come back to her. She doesn’t know how Bill fits into the events of that night, so she’s not sure she can trust him. Is he attempting to keep her out of jail, or does he have a more sinister reason for keeping her hidden?
The story alternates between Kate’s present and her past, and this narrative style is sometimes a bit confusing, given the initial vagueness of Kate’s memories. The reader doesn’t have a clear sense of what transpired on the night she left Melbourne. We’re given a few hints throughout the story, but things don’t become all that clear until about three quarters of the way into the book. Fortunately, the author was able to give me enough information to keep me engaged, so I wasn’t at all frustrated by the things I didn’t know.
Since Kate herself isn’t sure what really happened, it’s not always easy to trust her as a narrator. I found myself wondering if the flashes of memory she had were accurate, or if her mind was playing tricks on her. There are times when she comes off as a bit paranoid, but it’s hard to fault her for that given the strangeness of her circumstances. I found her to be a sympathetic heroine most of the time, even if some of the decisions she made weren’t to my liking.
There’s a giant twist toward the end of the book that really shocked me. I don’t want to say too much about it for fear of possibly cluing potential readers into the truth, but I applaud the author for her creative thinking. It felt very believable, and once I knew what the truth really was, things fell neatly into place for me. I wasn’t left with unanswered questions, and I never felt the author was trying too hard to shock me.
The blurb compares this novel to Emma Donoghue’s bestselling novel Room, and while there are some vague similarities, I urge readers not to pick up Call Me Evie expecting the two books to have a lot in common. Room was a deep exploration of the effects of captivity on a young child, while Call Me Evie has the feel of a fast-paced thriller. Both are definitely worth reading, but I’m not sure it’s fair to compare them.
Call Me Evie is a deftly plotted thriller I’m happy to recommend to fans of psychological suspense. I was riveted by this book, and I’ll definitely keep an eye out for what else the author has in store for readers.