Monthly Archives:: January 2013
By Gillian Flynn
Crown Publishing Group, Random House
Ebook, 432 pages
Part of me wants to just echo Jill’s famous review of this book and just say “Whole E. Shit.” But then there is that other part of me, the wordy part, who has Things to Say and is desperate to Say Them, so I’m giving into that side.
But still. Whole E. Shit.
So, if you don’t know the plot of this book, here’s a bit of a summary for you. And I’ll try to keep the smart ass comments to myself as much as possible. You know, until we get to the part where I let ‘er have it.
Nick and Amy Dunne are celebrating their 5th wedding anniversary. Nick wakes to find Amy in the kitchen preparing crepes. The two have been going through a rough patch, but Amy seems optimistic they can work it out. She wants to work it out. Nick doesn’t. Nick goes on to work at the bar he and his twin sister bought when Nick and Amy moved back home from New York City. Nick had been a writer, but after the dot-com bust, he and Amy were both out of work. At the bar, he talks to his sis a bit, has a drink, then gets a call from a neighbor. His door is wide open and the cat (an indoor cat) is outside. Nick is pretty much “eh, whatever” but he comes home to find the door is indeed open, the cat is indeed outside, and the wife is missing. Oh, and the place is a wreck.
Flynn does her absolute stinking best to make Nick into a horrible human being. And she succeeds in spades. Everyone thinks he killed his wife. The neighbors. Amy’s best friend. The cops. The media. Everyone except his sister (who has her suspicions) and Amy’s parents (surprisingly). Flynn works so hard to color Nick the bad guy that you automatically know he isn’t.
Or is he?
Because y’all, nothing is as it seems in this book. Nothing.
Despite the over-the-top melodrama, the ridiculous plot, the back and forth (and back and forth) of who-done-its, and the IN YOUR FACE-NESS of this book, I couldn’t help but be swept away by it. I instantly loved hating Nick. I loved hating Amy! I instantly hated Amy’s parents (and boy howdy, that never changed). I loved the not-knowing-but-knowing what the hell was going on. I love love loved the way Flynn portrayed the media. The media has Nick arrested, tried, and convicted without hours of the announcement that Amy was MISSING. Flynn got this detail spot. on. I hate the way the media influences public perceptions of suspects, and victims in today’s society. I loved and hated the way there was absolutely no one you could trust in this book. I love an unreliable narrator and wow, there are many in this book. This is definitely a novel of never knowing who to trust. Seriously. In this novel, don’t trust anyone. And the way Flynn depicts marriage? Makes you wonder why anyone would do it, goodness.
What I didn’t like was the ending. O.M.G. How I hated the ending. It fit, in it’s very own weird (very) way. But GEEZ. By the end of this book I had to take a deep breath. I felt like I’d been on a marathon. (I read it in like 24 hours, so yeah, I guess in a way, I had been!) Just hold on and enjoy the ride. And then kick the hell out of that ending. Despite the can’t put it down-ness of the novel, I wasn’t wowed, or surprised, or shocked so much as just slightly sickened by the whole thing. I saw everything that came, coming from a mile away. Oh, and yeah, I just a wee bit pissed off when it was all said and done. That ending…. *shakes head* Let’s just say if I hadn’t been reading it on my Nook, it may have hit the wall.
My review feels a little bit like a hot mess, but when I think about it, that’s how I feel about the book. Like it was a hot, couldn’t put it down, mess.
Bits I liked:
Love makes you want to be a better man. But maybe love, real love, also gives you permission to just be the man you are.
Sleep is like a cat: It only comes to you if you ignore it. (OMG So true)
Give me a man with a little fight in him, a man who calls me on my bullshit. (But who also kind of likes my bullshit.) And yet: Don’t land me in one of those relationships where we’re always pecking at each other, disguising insults as jokes, rolling our eyes and ‘playfully’ scrapping in front of our friends, hoping to lure them to our side of an argument they could not care less about. Those awful if onlyrelationships: This marriage would be great if only… and you sense the if only list is a lot longer than either of them realizes.
Friends see most of each other’s flaws. Spouses see every awful last bit.
There. I finally did it. I finished my review of Gone Girl. I AM SO GLAD TO GET THAT OFF MY CHEST. You have no idea. It’ll be up tomorrow.
I had an extra long weekend. I took Friday off to celebrate me birthday (yay!) and what did I do? Tons of laundry. Seriously. Tons. I think everyone’s drawers doth runneth over. I know mine does. I had no idea hubby had like 20 pairs of jeans, and I discovered that my daughter has just about outgrown all of hers. *sigh* I think she has 3 pairs of jeans left after this purge. Oh, wait. I found more dirty clothes in my car. Wow. And also damn.
I had my birthday party Saturday, late, thanks to the lovely weather we’ve been having here in NC. My cake was lovely AND delicious. I had two pieces. And another one today. Shh…don’t tell My Fitness Pal.
See my yummy cake?
One of my favorite presents:
and then, of course, there’s this:
A complete surprise from my hubby and kiddos. And I love it. I loved my Tablet, but wow. They fixed a few things I didn’t like about the Tablet and then like, added a million new things that just, oh wow, send me over the moon. I loooooves it.
Now it just needs a cover.
So, yeah, that was my weekend. Happy birthday to me.
How was your weekend? I hope it was mahvelous!
The more I try to think about what I want to say about this novel, the more one thought becomes crystal clear. Everyone in this book is completely crazy.
I mean, every one. Except maybe Morrel. That’s. It.
I read this when I went through my I-love-France-and-French-literature-and-Imma-gonna-read-it-all phase in my teens. I’m completely certain at this point that I read some sort of extremely abridged version, because all I remember is that I loved it and I read it extremely fast. This time, it took me over 2 months. And it was painful. I mean, really;
It got to the point where I was just, ugh.
Get to the revenge business already. Thank God, Dumas got some of that hot air out and got down to it. Were there editors in France at this time? Because there should have been.
Alas, another favorite is no longer a favorite. I didn’t hate it. I just wish it had been about 600 or 700 pages shorter. It would have been such a better book with quite a lot cut out. *sigh* At least I still have my beloved Three Musketeers. It hasn’t been that long since I reread it, so I know I still love it. Now, I’m curious about Victor Hugo. Will I love him as much as I did back then, if I reread some of his work? I’m almost afraid to try….
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
By Rachel Joyce
Random House, July 24, 2012
Got it from: The Library
I knew as soon as I heard of this book, as soon as I saw the cover, that I would have to read this book. My first impressions were that it would be a sweet, lovely, very English diversion for a day or so.
Boy, was I wrong.
Well, not exactly. It was all those things. It was also just so. much. more. Lemme ‘splain.
Harold Fry has recently retired and seems to be at loose ends. He lives in a lovely little English village with his wife, Maureen. They have been married for a long time, but are really just going through the motions. They tiptoe around each other, give each other the usual pleasantries, they eat together, and go to bed apart. Maureen is literally irritated by everything Harold does. She doesn’t even really like the way he breathes. So you can imagine, his days…they are painful. And they are all the same. They are just gliding through life. Barely living it.
One morning, Harold gets a letter from an old co-worker. Queenie Hennessy is in hospice. And she is dying.
Harold writes a quick condolence card, a “I hate to hear that” kind of missive, tells Maureen he’ll be right back, he’s just taking this note to the mailbox, and out he walks. He makes it to the box, sees it’s a lovely day, and decides to walk to the next box. And the next. And then, well, why not just walk to the post office?
But then he keeps going. And going. And going. He decides he’s going to walk the note all the way to Queenie Hennessy. All the way across the country. Still in his yachting shoes, his light coat and trousers, he will walk across the country. To keep Queenie alive.
Maureen is not happy. Understandably. And also not.
What follows is the what I wasn’t expecting. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is many things; a study of marriage, love, fidelity, friendship, and humanity. Harold’s walk introduces the shy man to friendly faces, helpful people, a few crazies, and so much more. He has to learn to take help, which is so hard for this independent, lonely man. He face many hard truths he has avoided his whole life. And his wife, Maureen does the same. She learns to take help from unexpected, and at times unwanted, places and also faces some hard truths. By the end of the book, I was rooting for this couple like I seldom root for couples in romance/YA novels. I came to love Harold and Maureen dearly and this bittersweet novel. It left me smiling, with bittersweet tears sliding down my cheeks.
The writing. Oh, the writing. It was so lovely. Some bits I liked:
People were buying milk, or filling their cars with petrol, or even posting letters. And what no one else knew was the appalling weight of the thing they were carrying inside. The superhuman effort it took sometimes to be normal, and a part of things that appeared both easy and everyday. The loneliness of that.
The world was made up of people putting one foot in front of the other; and a life might appear ordinary simply because the person living it had been doing so for a long time.
Harold could no longer pass a stranger without acknowledging the truth that everyone was the same, and also unique; and that this was the dilemma of being human.
He understood that in walking to atone for the mistakes he had made, it was also his journey to accept the strangeness of others.
Beginnings could happen more than once or in different ways. You could think you were starting something afresh, when actually what you were doing was carrying on as before. He had faced his shortcomings and overcome them and so the real business of walking was happening only now.
I better stop there, or I’ll quote the whole book. Okay, one more.
He must have driven this way countless times, and yet he had no memory of the scenery. He must have been so caught up in the day’s agenda, and arriving punctually at their destination, that the land beyond the car had been no more than a wash of one green, and a backdrop of one hill. Life was very different when you walked through it.
Isn’t that so true? We get so caught up in our day to day living, that we forget to look at the scenery. Ironically, this is one thing I love about Instagram. I’m always looking for an interesting picture to share with my friends, and am therefore observing “the scenery” and in turn, capturing the memory.
Needless to say, I completely recommend reading this book. And also, slowing down and “look at the scenery.”
What a weekend. I’ve been fighting a cold for what seems like 3 weeks now. It doesn’t get any better, or any worse, it’s just sitting here. Although, new symptom this morning! My ear is hurting and keeps popping! FUN STUFF!
Thanks to said cold, I staying in most of the weekend reading. It’s January 7, and I’ve almost read 4 books. If I hadn’t had a headache yesterday (thanks, cold) I would have finished The Peach Keeper. I do so love Sarah Addison Allen. Just what I needed after the madness that was GONE GIRL.
Just a couple of things:
Firstly, we’re getting the Estella Society back up and ready for the new year. PLEASE if you’d like to submit your writing, PLEASE DO IT! If you need ideas, check out these general ones to get your brain running. Purty, purty please?
Andi and I are starting to brainstorm Dewey’s Read-A-Thon this April. I am BEYOND excited. Look for the announcement of the date sometime this week! And start spreading the word! We had 485 participants last October, and we just know we can beat that this year.
My most anticipated reads:
And many more…. *jazz hands*
I can’t wait!!! What books are you most looking forward to this year?