Posts Tagged ‘Gone Girl

13
Feb
18

If you like sociopaths and unreliable narrators, then have I got a book for you! CBR10 Review 11.

Unknown-4Amber wants nothing more than to live the way she thinks she deserves. She wants it all — wealth and jewels and real estate, with a rich handsome husband on her arm. In her mind, this dream life is owed to her, because her early life was one of poverty and despair. So just let her have this, ok?

And it doesn’t matter if the house she wants has people living in it. Or if the man she wants is married to someone else. She wants it so she deserves it so don’t worry about the details.

Amber moves from rural Nebraska to a wealthy Connecticut (think Greenwich, but MORE) town on the Long Island Sound, and she sets her plan in action. She’s found the biggest house and the richest, most handsome man. Her goal is to become the next Mrs. Jackson Parrish, and the first step in her horrific plan is to befriend and get rid of the current Mrs. Jackson Parrish.

I read this for my PTA moms book club and I can’t decide if it was fun or scary. The main characters have no redeeming traits and act in increasingly insane ways as the book goes on. One ridiculous act after another, these idiots really outdo each other. Everything is awful.

And of course, I couldn’t put this down. The writing is compelling…mostly in a DID SHE REALLY JUST SAY THAT? way. Reading this was like taking all of the craziest parts of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train and all novels by Dominick Dunne and every single Tori Spelling movie and jamming them all together to create the ultimate Lifetime Movie Frankenstein’s Monster.

The ridiculous wealth and the abhorrent behaviors were really almost too much. But once I had an idea about what was going on, I had to read until the end. Mostly because there were children involved. I needed to see what happened to the kids.

Would I recommend this a piece of literature? No. But do you need a book to read while waiting in the doctor’s office or on a plane? Then sure! Highly recommend! Its crazy and unputdownable. (NB: I love that my spell check now accepts that as an actual word.)

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16
Mar
15

I never, ever want to drink Gin & Tonics in a can. CBR7 Review 14.

UnknownEvery so often, a book comes out of nowhere that suddenly everyone is reading. The Twilight series. Oprah books. 50 Shades. And last year’s Gone Girl. Most of the time, these books are crap. But at least they get people reading and talking. I remember when Twilight came out, and a woman I knew — who never, ever read — was so obsessed with reading those books that she took time off from work and paid her nanny for extra hours so that she could read in peace. And last year, you couldn’t go a day without a conversation about Gone Girl. The shocking ending, the unreliable narrators, the brutal violence. Now it seems that everyone is trying to be the next Gillian Flynn.

While I’m not a huge fan of most of the books mentioned above, I’m glad that they exist. But sometimes, there’s so much hype about a book, that by the time you actually have a chance to read it, it doesn’t live up to all of the excitement. i think that’s what happened for me with The Girl on the Train.

Here’s what I liked about it:

An unknown, practically broke writer came out of nowhere to become this year’s most talked about author. Good for her. How often is the new, literary “it girl” actually a journey woman in her 40s? I’m happy for Paula Hawkins and wish her all the success in the world.

Paula Hawkins didn’t pull any punches in making her characters unlikable. That was a brave choice.

Her vivid descriptions of modern-day London life was so spot on, I practically felt like I was riding along on the train with Rachel. Or heading out for a coffee downtown. Or commuting on a crowded train every day. The train scenes were the ones I liked the best.

But mostly, I didn’t really like this book. Spoilers, ahoy.

I didn’t like a single character. The three women who narrated the story were all just the worst. And I hated Rachel most of all. Yes, I’m sorry that she was manipulated and treated poorly by her husband. And yes, I feel badly that she had become an alcoholic. But come on. She was just awful. But in her defense, I was really glad that she didn’t turn out to be the killer. I honestly suspected her for a huge chunk of the book.

And because Rachel, Megan, and Anna were so unreliable in their versions of the story, every other character in the book was tainted. Was Cathy a shrewish bitch? Or was Cathy just fed up with a roommate who would pee and throw up in her hallway? Who knows?

I can’t deny that the book was a page turner. I’m sure it will pop up in thousands of beach bags this summer. And I’m glad. Whatever gets people reading. I wonder… if I had picked this up on a whim, without all of the accompanying hullaballoo, would I have enjoyed it more? Regardless, I’m glad I read it. I’m just sorry I didn’t enjoy it.

04
Mar
13

Scootsa1000’s #CBR5 Review 7: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

UnknownBy now, everyone has heard about Gillian Flynn and Gone Girl. Most of us have read it, and for the most part, the reviews have been positive. I saw Sharp Objects, one of her earlier books, at the library last week, and picked it up knowing nothing about it — other than it was written by Gillian Flynn.

Sharp Objects is about Camille, a reporter at a third-rate Chicago newspaper. Her boss hears about a series of murders in a tiny Missouri town — the very town where Camille grew up — and sends her home to ask questions, do some research,write, and report back. Why is someone killing little girls? Is it someone from town, or an outsider? Are the police doing all that they can to find the murderer? And could Camille get a Pulitzer out of it?

Camille dreads going home, and its easy to see why. Her mother never loved her (and has told her as much), especially since the death of Camille’s younger sister years ago. Her younger half-sister Amma is out of control — sex, drugs, and drinking, all at 13. Her stepfather is more or less a non-entity in her life. And Camille has no idea who her real father is. Going home forces Camille to deal with a lot of things from her past that she would rather forget, including her teenage promiscuity and her past as a cutter. Camille’s body is covered in scars as proof of her self-medicating cutting. When she felt pain, at least she was feeling something.

I don’t really want to get to much into the story of the murders and the stories of the dead girls, as I fear I can’t get into it too much without giving the ending away. Unlike Gone Girl, I had figured out the ending about half-way through the story (with Gone Girl, no way I could have figured that thing out). But guessing who the murderer was didn’t make the story any less shocking.

Good God. What happened to Gillian Flynn that made her this dark and twisted and creepy? That’s all I could wonder while I read this book last weekend (home, sick in bed…this DID NOT make me feel better). In both Gone Girl and Sharp Objects, we’ve seen some truly horrible people do unspeakable things, all while appearing normal to those around them. While I think Flynn is an extremely talented writer, I’m just not in a rush to read her other novel, Dark Places. There’s only so much I can take.

 

03
Oct
12

Scootsa1000’s #CBR4 Review 45: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I’ve read a lot of scary and disturbing books over the years.  Lots of Stephen King, Peter Straub,  Dean Koontz,  Joe Hill, Battle Royale-esque stories, etc.  And I keep going back for more.  I’ve seen — and have enjoyed — tons of horror movies (Eli Roth is one of my brother’s BFFs from childhood, you can see him die brutally in most of Roth’s work. Fun!).  I guess what I’m trying to say is that I guess I’ve become desensitized to the “horror” genre.  And maybe that’s why I think its such a big deal that I found Gone Girl so downright frightening.  I started the book expecting a Dennis Lehane style mystery, and ended up with something much, much different.

Gone Girl has been everywhere for the past few months.  Book clubs.  Online discussions.  Displays at Barnes & Noble.  And before I read it, I knew a little bit about it: a young wife goes missing and her husband becomes the prime suspect in her disappearance.  Told partly in flashback and in journal entries, we get the story of a marriage from both sides.  We also get to see what happens when a news story (like a missing spouse) turns into a media circus, complete with a terrible Nancy Grace-esque talking head, and how the media can sway public opinion regardless of the facts.  I expected and was interested by of it.

What I was not expecting, and ended up being both fascinated and terrified by, was the rest.  This book surprised me more than any other book I can remember reading.  Every 30 or 40 pages, I would completely change my mind about what I think the ending would be and what had happened to Amy (the wife).  Was it handsome husband, Nick?  Or his adorable mistress, Andie?  Or maybe one of the many people who have been accused of stalking Amy over the years?  A jealous neighbor?  A homeless vagrant?  His angry father? Her bizarre parents? Who would want to hurt beautiful, lovely, wealthy, perfect Amy?  And why?

And then, about halfway through, something shifted…and the psychological portrait the story painted of this seemingly normal American couple turned into the scariest thing I can remember reading in ages.  And at that point, I couldn’t put the book down.  I’ll definitely be seeking out other books by Gillian Flynn.  The characters she painted were vibrant and real, and the backstories and details about each of them were fascinating.

I love that this book seems to have fallen into the Sixth Sense/Fight Club/The Crying Game territory, where nobody who has read it is willing to spoil the outcome, leaving interested readers to find out for themselves.




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