‘You’ & the Pattern of Toxic Love

Sometimes two people are better off alone

Nicolette Michelle Herrera
4 min readMar 13, 2019


Penn Badgley & Elizabeth Lail in ‘You,’ now available to watch on Netflix

This article may contain spoilers

After recently finishing the thriller ‘You,’ starring Penn Badgley and Elizabeth Lail, I have been feeling all sorts of emotions. Unsettled is one of them.

For those who haven’t watched the series or read the book yet, ‘You’ centers around bookstore manager Joe Goldberg and struggling writer and graduate student, Guinevere Beck — known simply as Beck.

Both characters share minor similarities at first. To the outside world, they appear charming and carefree. Their lives seem centered, but we quickly learn that on the inside, they are both struggling with their own personal demons.

‘You’ isn’t just a story about a sociopath and his quest to stalk and slowly obtain the damaged woman of his dreams, but also serves as a cautionary tale between the chaos that often erupts within the entanglement of toxic love.

Fatal Attraction

From the moment Beck first walks into Mooney’s, Joe takes an immediate interest in her and describes her as if she’s a highly valued gemstone up for the market. He decides that he must know everything about her to make her his. From day one, she is nothing but an object and a prize that must be obtained.

While Beck tries to maintain the perfect persona via her social media, Joe soon discovers that in reality, her life is far from perfect.

Beck is a woman that never truly seems to love herself, which is why she surrounds herself with vapid friends and is always finding excuses as to why she can’t write or focus. She also sleeps with shallow men like ex-frat boy, Benji, to help ease her internal suffering. This only seems to draw Joe to her even more.

He believes that Beck belongs to him and only him. Underneath a somewhat charming exterior, is a sinister and calculating man that believes that he is meant to act as the white knight and savior to an emotionally damaged and struggling writer.

Day by day he stalks his prey, confidently narrating the story and picking off each and every detail of Beck and her daily habits, even including the habits of her close friends. Joe is highly…



Nicolette Michelle Herrera

I write and take photographs. Just another person on the Internet. Based in Los Angeles. https://linktr.ee/nicomichelle