Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Five words from the blurb: wife, disappears, police, suspect, secrets
Gone Girl seems to be the most popular book in the blogging world this year. I’ve seen raving reviews everywhere and so decided to see what everyone was getting so excited about.
Gone Girl is narrated by an American couple, Amy and Nick. On the surface they appear to be normal, but Amy goes missing on their 5th anniversary and Nick becomes the prime suspect. Amy’s sections are in the form of extracts from her diary; whilst Nick’s chapters focus on the present day.
My main problem was that I found Amy extremely irritating. She was over excited about everything and very spoilt. I found her enthusiasm draining and her “problems” laughable. Poor girl had her trust fund reduced to $100,000 and could only afford to rent a massive house instead of buying one outright.
Their annoying back-story seemed to go on forever, with very little plot development. I became bored and so at p80 I asked Twitter when this book picked up. I was informed that everything got going at p212 so I skipped straight there and was surprised by the events of that page. Unfortunately the excitement didn’t help with my main problems and I quickly lost interest again. I skim read the rest of the book, focusing on the pages Twitter people told me were good. I’ve now read all the major twists and was mildly impressed by their original and surprising nature, but I found all the in-between bits dull/irritating. I seem to be in the minority though, so go ahead and give it a try – you’ll probably love it as much as everyone else.
The White Lie by Andrea Gillies (audio book)
Five words from the blurb: Scottish, family, loch, killed, grave
I first came across The White Lie whilst researching contenders for the Orange Prize. This book had an impressive number of 5 star reviews on Amazon and a range of glowing quotes from famous authors. The overwhelming positive response led me to seek it out and as my library only had an audio book available I settled for that. Unfortunately that might not have been the best format and may have contributed to my disappointing response.
The White Lie is set in a remote Scottish community and is narrated by a man who drowned in the local loch. The exact circumstances of his death remain a mystery, with the truth slowly revealing itself over the course of the book.
The White Lie was wonderfully atmospheric, perfectly capturing the isolated community. Unfortunately the pace of the book was very slow. I know that some people love meandering stories with numerous tangents, but I craved some forward momentum.
I also found that there were too many characters and they weren’t developed enough for me to differentiate between them all. The narrators (from the text and the audio book) lacked enthusiasm and I failed to warm to them. This meant that I didn’t really care what happened next and I eventually abandoned the book after 2 discs.
Recommended to those who enjoy quiet, atmospheric books about family relationships.
Philida by Andre Brink
Five words from the blurb: slave, Cape Town, family, freedom, journey
Philida is set in Cape Town during 1832, a turbulent time during which slavery was coming to an end. The book focuses on a Philida, a strong woman who is determined to gain freedom for herself and her children.
The premise of the story was great, especially as it covered a period of history I was unfamiliar with. Unfortunately I didn’t like the style of the book. There were too many narrators, giving the book a disjointed feel and making it difficult for me to connect with any of the characters.
The writing was fantastic, but some of the scenes were distressing due to the vivid descriptions of events:
This is normally the sort of book I’d love, but it failed to hold my attention. There was no narrative thread to drive the story forward and I found it increasingly difficult to pick up once I’d stopped reading. I also became frustrated by the excessive references to penises.
This book may well come together in the end, but I wasn’t engaged enough to want to invest that much time finding out. I gave up after about 80 pages.