Thursday, July 19, 2012

Gone Girl: Go Away Already

The title some what gives it away.  You could either think that it is about a woman saying good-bye to the girl she once was or simply that a girl from some where is now gone.  It is the latter.  Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn sparsely known for her 'thrillers' falls short of thrilling me.  I say sparsely because she hasn't written that many, not to the tune of say a Mary Higgins Clark for example, but it is not meant to be a dig at Flynn.  If I was going to throw a dig it would be the non-thrill of the so called 'thriller'.  The only murder is of a character so insignificant I almost forget his name (Desi) but the key is the whodunit bit which you figure out so easily it takes away from any thrill you could possibly have imagined.  It is twisty and I'll get to that but first let's give Flynn her due because she is in fact a very good writer.

I will tell you what I feel is worth huge accolades from another writers perspective and that is that Flynn writes in two voices, two styles.  A male and female voice with completely different perspectives - thumbs way up here Flynn for pulling this off so well.  Actually when you think about the psycho bitch voice of Amy you have three voices or characters because the real Amy chick is white jacket, padded room, clinically insane.  Flynn (Amy) creates an alter ego for the crazy bitch that Amy is, through a fabricated diary.  The perfect wife persona looking for a perfect life and not finding one, not with (Nick) Dunne anyway.  Yet somehow Amy maintains, muddles through each and every painstakingly boring day of mid-west minutia that hometown folks call living, according to her 'diary'.  Big city girl adapting to a lazy husband in a new town with no friends and nothing to do makes for very needy sounding journal entries that leave you feeling a little down on Nick (Dunne) her husband for being a douche-bag and not to mention for murdering her, or so you think.

<Spoiler Alert>  And there's the twist, book two (part two of one book) starts out with the revealed Amy, crazy psycho bitch Amy, on the run.  She has just faked her own murder and framed her husband for it.  It gets interesting - there's a police team that fumbles through evidence, small town detectives who have never encountered a crime like this one and who all really like Nick even though it's likely, because the 'evidence' says so, that he is a killer.

Then comes the big high price attorney, the mistress, dumb Nick and his strange twin love with sister 'Go' (Margo).  Just when you think the jig is up for this dude in walks his murdered wife, alive and well (a little worse for wear by her own doing to make for a convincing kid-napping and rape scenario story).  Overall, Nick is a dumb ass, who may or may not be that great of a lover married to Amy who is a conniving, calculated psycho that presumably will end up dead should Flynn decide to take this story to a sequel (let's hope). But I started to lose interest when the drifters in the Ozarks didn't kill her.  Although it would have been a lame ending I suppose.  Or a dragged out story about an innocent man put on death row to find out minutes before he takes his dead man walk that the body of his murdered wife has been discovered and he is not a killer after all.  But I am not the writer here, Flynn is and she took it to where she wanted it to go.  

In terms of character portrayal, I feel like because Flynn had to pay such close attention to the voices of Amy, Amy and Nick that the rest of the cast falls short.  Kind of like 'man on corner' that you read in movie credits to describe an extra in a scene.  Not discrediting the effort, I've already commended her on a job well done in being able to pull off a story written by three distinct voices.  There's just not much more beyond that is all I'm saying.

In case you're wondering, of course it will be a movie. . .

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Reviews in Queue

Just about every woman in the world has been 'turned on' to the Shades collection.  I am planning to break these down book by book as I have read them all and while I found them 'entertaining' <ahem> I also found distinct writing flaws.  More to come shortly on that.

I've also just downloaded 'Girl Gone' by Gillian Flynn and 'The Art of Fielding' by Chad Harbach, both recommendations by other avid readers who I respect immensely but don't always agree with.  We'll see.  

In the mean time if you have a recommendation or have read something you would like to voice your opinion on, you are welcome to share here.  

While you wait for the next review, let's get a discussion going . . .what was your best book turned movie adaptation and why?

I have several, The Help is definitely a top 10.  I rarely go to the movies, usually wait for the DVD and sometimes even at that I don't bother because the book is always so much better.  Plus I hate movie theaters, I find them dirty and disgusting - I have issues.  However, in the case of The Help I actually saw the movie and had not read the book.  I know, backwards - it's just how things worked out.  I immediately read the book after seeing the movie and it read like stereo to me.  Who can forget the famous line "Eat my shit"?  As I read it I can see Octavia Spencer on the big screen saying it in her way that she does - it's no wonder she won the Oscar.  Kudos to Denis Villeneuve!  Do you agree?

Another fantastic example, in my opinion, was Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane.  Completely drawn into the movie and the book!  Absolutely one of my all time favorites.  But what else would you expect from Martin Scorsese the man is genius.  If you didn't read the book it is highly recommended and if you haven't seen the movie then get to it - both worth the time.

So blog people, tell me your favorites. . .if you don't know how this works, having a discussion, just leave a comment below - it's that easy, unless of course you have nothing to say because you don't read or see movies in which case I would say, you're reading this so. . . .

Monday, July 9, 2012

Hunger Games: Eat the Rich

I've always had a connection with my now 22 year old step daughter, be it movies, books, just general disdain for certain things, we are (or used to be) very compatible.  
So the Hunger Games. . .She has read them three times now and out of all the people I have had the conversation with, about how I didn't like them, she was the one person who gave me a great argument.  Stephanie, this is for you!

While I still find it extremely difficult to get passed the fact that the book depicts children being slaughtered for sport, I failed to mention in my last review/blog the government control and how, while being 74 years into the future, could be something that has already begun. . .

Today versus Hunger Games

 Hunger Games: food control: Residents are given an allotment of food, even if you have to kill it to eat it, if it's more than what you're given you will pay, perhaps with your life.

  • Today: Shop Rite can can sale, limit 1 per customer (it's already begun!)
•Hunger Games: land control: Each district is fenced off with electric fencing, and known for something that it provides to the government - coal, rice, grain, cotton, cattle. . .

  • Today: Anyone ever hear of property tax?  So in the Hunger Games the government is taking their payoff out in trade.  How is this different today?

• Hunger Games: media control: All media is a staged theatrical event, completely fabricated by the government to serve the interests of the government itself.

  • Today: All media is a staged theatrical event, completely fabricated by the government to serve the interests of the government itself.  On this we are equal, however clearly the writer of the Hunger Games is a non-profit and has done nothing to sensationalize the main stream success of these books through any type of media. <cough>   Dirty Laundry: Kick 'em when they're up, kick 'em when they're down! 
• Hunger Games: technology control: It's 74 years into the future, we can't compete with hover crafts, 3D weapons. . .

  • Today: Seriously?  74 years from now could be our tomorrow when it comes to technology (writer may not be that savvy in this regard, consider this a fail)

• Hunger Games: control of DNA?: Residents of the districts are identified through the taking of DNA blood samples. The government stores their DNA in a database in order to track and identify individuals.

  • Today: Yes.
• Hunger Games: Control over life: The government seems to be amused by expressing heartless power over the masses.

  • Today: Watergate, Wall Street crash (pick one), government bail out, occupy wall street, abortion rights, war, war, war. . .

How long before we see even more of 'the games' in our own day to day?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Is she for Real? Jenny Lawson: Misfit Blogger/Author

Everyone thinks they have a story to tell, that their life has been so mangled they must write it all down and share the tragedies with others.  If this rings true with you then read this and rethink it because this chick is straight up bat shit crazy (no I am not talking about myself).  I am referring to Jenny Lawson and her memoirs 'Let's Pretend This Never Happened'.  Jenny admittedly describes her crazy as 'generalized anxiety disorder' however (and no I'm not certified so it's just my opinion) I would diagnose her as a bi-polar, manic depressive with severe social & generalized anxiety disorder and a side of ADD.  Yup, that about sums this chick up.  You really need to pay attention or you will be completely lost in all her ramblings as she tries to tell her story. 

There is more than a little that never happened going on as you read through chapters of cow vagina, hairless rats and stabbed by chicken, these are just the titles but trust me they are named appropriately!  And seriously this shit has got to be made up.  First of all no one is that crazy and gets paid to write about it.  Secondly, Texas is not a third world country like she (Jenny) may lead you to believe with it's AG barn for a school, tractors, wild animals and snakes, boiled skulls, wild quail (turkeys) and a pug named Barnaby Jones Pickles that tries to kill her with chicken.  The story (aka memoir) does not take place in the 1880's either.  No, this can not be real.

Her husband is also not real or he would have likely been jailed by now for trying to murder her.  But apparently he is sympathetic because he knows how crazy she is and maybe he's even a little scared that if he did try to stab her in the face she would end up killing him, plea insanity and he would be dead and she would live on to write about her psychopathic life.  

The stories are insanely crazy just like the author who wrote them and you can totally relate to the conversations in her head (or maybe that's just me) because everyone does that but no one is brave enough to write about it.  As I mentioned, she keeps you on your game with the rambling and sometimes I seriously forgot what the hell she was even talking about and had to check where I was.  Nonetheless it took me less than a day to get through it.

Jenny is an avid blogger and Twitter maniac (@JennyLynnLawson), she has been featured on and you can read about her in the NY Times article (link below).  So technically she must be real along with all the insane shit that has happened to her because everything you read on the internet is real and true.  Right?

Jenny Lawson NY Times Article