Book Review: Recursion

This is one of those books where I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’ve never read anything from Blake Crouch so I didn’t know whether I would like it or not. I also tried listening Dark Matter, a book also written by him, but I couldn’t get into it. I think I’ll chalk that up to the voice over because reading this book was so engaging.

The main premise follows two people, Barry and Helena. Barry is a detective in New York, divorced of his wife after having lost his child 11 years ago. Helena is a researcher and scientist, her mother is suffering with the beginning stages of Alzheimers so she is studying to try to map out memories in order to help treat her mom. Both stories are happening at different times. What is really interesting is when Barry gets a call about a woman standing off the ledge of a building. She is suffering from FMS, or fake memory syndrome. People don’t really know what this is. the only thing they know is that it affects people who are related with or have been in contact with someone who has had it. So they treat it like a virus. When Barry hears her story and tries to get to the bottom of it, that’s when the story really starts to ramp up.

if this sounds interesting to you, it’s because it is. The great thing about this book is that it is relatively a fast read. I was hooked onto the premise and dropped a Star Wars book I was reading in order to get more into that book. there’s an interesting love element to it that doesn’t overshadow the plot. And by the end you will be wanting to know how this all gets resolved. So I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested.


So for my reviews I find that its hard to speak about it without giving any details of the book. There are certain things that I would like to talk about that are in the book and that happen that are just too interesting not to talk about it. So now I’m going to include a spoiler portion to my reviews in case you want to hear a little more about it and don’t mind being spoiled.

Now, the beginning of the book did a good job making you empathize with the main protagonists. Helena and her mother, and Barry and his daughter. Barry keeps living in the past and thinking about all the “what ifs.” Before anything happened, I was wondering if what Barry was remembering was even really true. I was thinking he was already suffering from FMS. The book kinda does that to you. Makes you question memory and whether what you remember is actually what happened. There was one point where Barry is having dinner with his ex-wife and he is reminiscing about that time when they were camping and they were able to enjoy the weekend together. His Ex says though, that the weekend was terrible and everything that could go wrong went wrong. that’s when I was like, ” wait is he suffering from FMS or is he romanticizing an event?”

So at one point, we find out that Helena is the one who created this device that allows someone to get transported in time and change the past. The man she is working with ends up telling her that she had invented it like 8 years in the future. That she accidentally discovered the ability to go back in time when there was an accident in her lab. The man she worked for apparently was her assistant and used the machine to go back in time to make himself rich and live a lifetime as he wanted. So the reason that people are suffering from FMS is because when they get to the point in history where they jumped back Everybody that had anything to do with the change gets a rush of memories from another timeline. The only thing is that you need to die in order to go back in time.

The only thing I feel doesn’t make any sense is the fact that Barry gets kidnapped by this same guy in the future and he uses the “chair” (that’s what they call it) to let him go back in time to relive the moment his daughter died and change it. So he ends up living a timeline where his daughter doesn’t die. Now, the reason I say it doesn’t make sense is because, why him? why send him back? there seemed to be no reason to send him back besides the fact that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Then, when they get to the point in the future where everything happened they all get the rush of memories of the timeline before and his daughter kills herself because she couldn’t handle what was happening.

Then we get this abrupt meeting between the two protagonist who had already met in the future and somehow have a connection. This you realize with the interactions Helena has with Barry as if they are really familiar. Barry just goes along with it. He doesn’t really question it or her motives.

Thats the only thing that I thought kind of didn’t make sense. but overall we still get this amazing adventure where the Helena continues to go back in time to try to change the future because at one point the government gets control of the tech and then it gets leaked out. She lives multiple lives with Barry to try to stop the leak from getting out and the memories from flooding back so that its not abused. she lives so many lives until her mind starts breaking down from the continual use of the chair, until Barry remembers something that takes him back to the original timeline.

But that ending though, it almost felt like the writer was like I’m not going to be control of their future anymore. The final scene was of Barry being in the original timeline after having solved the problem. He’s the only one with all the memories left from all the multiple timelines and he goes to talk to Helena. and just as he’s about to talk to her it cuts off and ends abruptly. To me it felt like he was letting them go. the future is to be left uncertain because now you have a ton of questions like does he talk to her about everything? Do they fall in love again? Does she destroy her research? I found it so compelling and such an interesting way of ending the book. This was the first time where I ended a book and didn’t feel melancholy. for the first, I felt like I don’t need to know what happens, which was so odd to me because I feel like every book reader feels like I need more.

Anyways, with that I will end the blog! thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it! God bless!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: