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In This Way I Was Saved: A Novel Hardcover – August 4, 2009

3.9 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

DeLeeuw's spellbinding debut is told from the point of view of a being who assumes the persona and desires of a boy's repressed self. The mysterious narrator encounters six-year-old Luke in Central Park, where Luke gives him a life and a name, Daniel. Daniel has no memory of consciousness before meeting Luke, but as the story moves forward into Luke's college years, it becomes clear that he has a history distinct from Luke's own. He quickly learns that he's stronger when Luke is troubled, and, luckily, there's much in Luke's life to distress him. Meanwhile, Claire, Luke's divorced mother, runs a publishing company founded by her mother, and when Luke comes across a novel about a doppelgänger the company published decades earlier, Daniel realizes it may offer clues to his own secrets and persuades Luke to destroy it, much to Claire's despair. DeLeeuw delivers a neat bundling of the classic story of a spirit possessing an innocent with the Jungian shadow self, but in the end readers will be somewhat disappointed that he neglects to answer some of the more intriguing questions he poses about Luke's family. (Aug.)
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“Terrifying and terrifyingly good.”

--Vanity Fair

"Elegant, unsettling and wildly original, In This Way I Was Saved reads like a coming-of-age-story with the heart of a nasty thriller."

-- Gillian Flynn, author of Sharp Objects and Dark Places

"In This Way I Was Saved gave me chills, not only for its dead-on depiction of the searing loneliness of a hermetically sealed mind, but because it is so thrillingly well-executed. A superb first novel."

-- Kate Christensen, author of Trouble and The Great Man

“A riveting exploration of the dark side of self. . . . Suspenseful and terrifying, this tale about one’s shadow self running rampant is highly recommended.”

Library Journal (starred review)

"More than brothers, less than friends, linked for life: the relationship between Daniel and Luke is unique in the annals of literature, and will keep you guessing right until the book reaches its inevitable conclusion. I haven't been this entertained by a debut novel in years."

-- Dale Peck, author of What We Lost and Body Surfing

“DeLeeuw debuts with a strange tale seething with disturbing psychological overtones. . . . Hitchcock would have loved the premise.”


"Original, subversive, funny, twisted, and totally engrossing, In This Way I Was Saved is a mind-bending tour de force. I read the last page, flipped back to the beginning, and immediately started it again."

-- Chelsea Cain, author of New York Times bestsellers Heartsick and Sweetheart


Publishers Weekly

"In This Way I Was Saved is a frightening, gripping tale about a sadistic secret sharer, a shadow self who is ready to devour its host. This is one of the most fascinating and controlled first novels I've ever read -- a sustained performance that hypnotizes and terrifies the reader."

-- Edmund White, author of A Boy's Own Story

“A story of friendship and betrayal, violence, madness, lust and power that will keep you guessing until the very last page—and leave you gasping for air.”



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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (August 4, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439103135
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439103135
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,377,335 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Julie Merilatt VINE VOICE on June 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
While mental illness was definitely at the core of this book, there was also a sinister ghostly aspect to this novel that permeated throughout. Luke's relationship with Daniel, beginning at the tender age of 6, is never fully revealed, but there are multiple histories buried within the plot that lead me to speculate Daniel was more than just Luke's imaginary friend. Luke's coping mechanisms for dealing with his parent's divorce are skewed by his mother Claire's metal illness and her erratic personality constantly impedes Luke's development as an individual. Where Daniel fits into all that is originally as that of a much needed companion, but as Luke becomes more independent, especially in college, no longer under the oppressive eye of Claire, Daniel's influence leads Luke to more destructive behavior. With the final culmination comes a dynamic collision between Luke and Daniel that will leave readers guessing as to the true nature of their existence.

When I first started reading, I picked up the on premise relatively quickly, drawn in by the bleak landscape and tense atmosphere. But it was a little too rigid and uptight at times, and I was frustrated with Claire's desperation and Luke's indifference and inaction. Though I was not fully engaged during the entire duration, the creepiness and the desire to read the final showdown kept me engaged.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Everything about this book held promise. From the cover design, the marketing copy, and the wonderful first line about a boy waiting for a mother to tell her he has murdered her only son, I was expecting great things from this novel. It's a shame that things went awry so quickly, because I think this is a writer with great promise. But I immediately felt cheated when I realized the author was trying to do some sort of SIXTH SENSE kind of thing with the character of Daniel (like, around page 5 or 6), which made me resistant to go along with him on this journey. It would have been better if he had just called Daniel an imaginary friend right from the start; to do otherwise insults the reader's intelligence. I also found the plot, if one can call it that, to be rather plodding. This was not a book I was eager to return to and begin reading again. And worst of all, the characters were pitiable, rather than sympathetic. The writing here is good and the premise ambitious, so I would not rule out reading more from this author. But, for me, IN THIS WAY I WAS SAVED was a disappointment.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I was really surprised I liked the novel IN THIS WAY I WAS SAVED so much. When I first started reading the book and discovered Daniel does not have a corporal presence outside of his "friend" Luke I was afraid the novel would be too surreal and ambiguous for my taste. However the book is so fast moving and convincingly written that I could barely put it down until I reached the ending which I found perfect and chilling.

The story is set in the very often used environment of privileged Manhatton. In part one we meet Luke as he meets Daniel and both are presented as six years old. Luke invites Daniel home and we soon find Luke's parents are divorcing and Luke's mother who has inherited a publishing house that specializes in suspense novels has quite a few emotional issues. Luke and his mom with bodiless Daniel hidden away in a trunk abandon New York City soon after to spend the winter in solitude on deserted Fire Island. There Daniel convinces Luke to do a horrible act which forces Luke's mother to move back to Manhattan and consult a psychiatrist for her son who blames his "imaginary" friend Daniel for misdeeds.

Daniel goes in to hiding for twelve years thanks probably to Luke's use of antipsychotic drugs and more stability in his life. Then in part two Luke's mother starts to mentally unravel and Daniel is back asserting control. Daniel's influence really increases in the third part of the book when Luke enrolls at a university that sounds a lot like Princeton. Luke's college experience contains more evil doings and eventual tragedy.

I was surprised how many reviewers believe this story is simply one of familial mental illness. I felt that the author strongly implies Daniel is a supernatural being rather than just the product of psychosis.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have slowed my breathing down; I have willed my heart to stop beating so rapidly. My eyes scan the cover of the novel again and again. I find myself almost obsessively drawn to the shoes and smoke. Who is Daniel? I ask myself. Who is he? Where did he come from? Luke?... I try to begin the review, I tell myself focus, what was In This Way I Was Saved about? I can't stop looking at the cover and thinking: Who is Daniel and what does he mean to each of us?

Luke is a sick little boy, or is he? In the beginning Daniel is not necessarily timid but easy going, Daniel is a way for a small mind to cope with his father's departure. Later the bond grows sick and twisted. With the death of Luke's dog Midnight Daniel is regulated to a caged existence inside of Luke's skull. Kept there with little yellow pills and mounds of mental discipline.

On the eve of another one of Luke's mother's breakdowns the shackles are released and Daniel is one again free to roam alongside his best friend and keeper. What follows is confusion, murder, drugs, depression, sex, and finally self-realization in a crystallized moment from a six year old boy. Who is Daniel?

It is hard to see Luke as he truly is. The reader honestly has no idea how he feels except for the few insightful glimpses we are given through Daniel's eyes. Does he know he is sick? Truly sick? Is Daniel some tagalong ghost or the just an imaginary friend used to cope with the harsh reality that sane people find sometimes too much to handle? The answer is I don't know and no one will unless you are Daniel or you know him intamitely.

Brian DeLeeuw is a riveting, fascinating author who uses minced words and revulsion of the human race and their pathetic existence to give Daniel a voice. This is a true novel and I recommend it to anyone looking for an extraordinary view on reality and living.
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