Showing posts with label gone girl. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gone girl. Show all posts

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Believe the Hype! The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins


Title: The Girl on the Train
Author: Paula Hawkins
Publisher: Riverhead
Publication Date: January 13, 2015
Source: personal purchase

Summary from Goodreads

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?


My Review:

It's only partway through January, and already I feel like this book has more hype than any novel can handle in 2015.  ERRRR-BODY is reading The Girl on the Train right now, people!  I had a credit on my Amazon account and couldn't help jumping on the bandwagon for this one, because yes--it gets compared to Gone Girl pretty much non-stop.  Check the reviews on Goodreads--almost every single reviewer mentions it.

I don't like to write a review that constantly compares the book in question to a previous read...but I'm going to do it anyway here, because my reading experience was absolutely influenced by the fact that so many people made the Gone Girl comparison.

There are, admittedly, a lot of similarities.  If you liked the unreliable narrators in Gone Girl, you get a bonus in Girl on the Train, because there's three of them.  And they are all kinds of batsh*t crazy.  One is a massively insecure, unemployed, raging alcoholic.  Another is a woman with a mysterious past who has recently gone missing.  And then you have the housewife whose constant paranoia leaves every one of her chapters thick with anxiety.  Yup, if you want a story where you're never sure who's telling the truth, then winner winner chicken dinner right here.  Plus, none of the narrators are quite what they seem--your interpretation of these three very different women is guaranteed to change by the time you reach the end.

The other big similarity?  The suspense.  Once you get going with this novel, you better clear your schedule.  The narrators weave quite a spectacular tale, and once you get wrapped up in it, you'll whip through chapters wanting to know what's next.  I FLEW through this book, and I don't fly through a lot of books these days.  The story is dark, sinister, and twisted in many ways, and will leave you with the same sort of unsettled feeling that you probably got from that Gillian Flynn novel.**

I will say that one significant difference for me was in the ending.  At the end of Gone Girl, I felt like the ending was perfection--not just the actual events involved, but the tone as well.  (I know not everyone agrees with me on this, NOTED.)  The Girl on the Train was different.  I saw the conclusion coming a lot sooner than I wanted to--I had figured out the "whodunit" quite a while before the book got around to revealing it, which was a little disappointing.  And I found the culprit's frank demeanor about the whole situation to be rather odd.

That said, I wouldn't say the ending ruined the novel for me as a whole.  The suspense in this book really can't be beat, and that alone makes the reading experience worth it.  Plus, despite being a little predictable for me, I will say the ending keeps with the dark nature of the rest of the book, so it felt fitting even if it wasn't especially surprising.

Final verdict: despite feeling so-so about the ending, I think the hype around this book is well-deserved.  If you want a truly engrossing read, get yourself on that 138-person wait list for The Girl on the Train at your local library, like ASAP.

Who's read this highly-hyped novel already?  What did you think (no spoilers please!)?  If you haven't read it, do you think you'll be giving in to the hype and trying it anytime soon?

**Without giving spoilers, I would like to mention that the death of a young child plays a role in this book.  It is not gory, but it was difficult for me to read when I came upon it unexpectedly, and I felt it would be helpful to include this trigger warning for other readers.

Monday, January 19, 2015

It's Monday, and what am I NOT reading?


Hello, reader friends!  A quick post today, as it's been a busy (but fun) weekend around here with my menfolk.  We celebrated the fact that we live in Rochester and it snows every.single.day. by going to the local Winter Fest yesterday, and I think we are all tired out!  Small Fry has discovered a deep love of sledding, and my husband and I have the sore arms from toting his sled up and down the hill to prove it.  My husband also has the day off today, so we are enjoying a little extra family time on this long weekend.

As for what I'm reading these days...my nightstand is about to fall over from the weight, people!  Here's what's going:

1. Moby Dick by Herman Melville

I've been in the midst of this since mid-December.  I like to slow-read my classics.  I'm about halfway through.  Some parts are, admittedly, sleep-inducing, but the majority of it is pretty good.  I'm keeping notes for a future review.  It will likely definitely include at least one mention of the Hartford Whalers.

2, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

I heard through the blogger grapevine that this has the potential to be "the Gone Girl of 2015".  If that is not true, people (AHEM, Jennifer) need to choose their words more carefully.  Because I think we all know the best way to get me to drop everything and read something is to compare it to Gone Girl.  My verdict is still out, but stay tuned.

3. The Last Breath by Kimberly Belle

Reading this for a book tour at the end of the month.  A little more romantical than what I usually choose, but I'm still enjoying the mystery and intrigue of it so far.

Also on my nightstand but not started yet...
1. Dead Wake by Erik Larson

I have an ARC of this one and I am SO EXCITED to get started on it soon!

2. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Picked it up from the library because I've heard nothing but good things...it's due back in 2 weeks...I'm sure I'll get to it, right?

3. The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez

Not physically on my nightstand yet, but my book club just chose it as our next pick, so I've got a hold in for it at the library.

Reading is out of control right now, friends!  But the great thing is, these are all excellent books so far.  Too many excellent books is NEVER a bad thing.

What are you reading this week?

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Gone Girl: Book vs Movie. The Verdict Is In!

I don't get to see a lot of movies these days.  We don't have easy access to a babysitter, and when we do go out alone, we generally prefer an activity that lets us talk with each other, rather than sitting quietly in a dark theater for two hours.  In 95% of cases, I have no idea a movie has been released until it makes it to Netflix.

But I sure as heck knew Gone Girl was coming out.  WOOT WOOT!

After I read, and positively adored, the book in 2012, movie rumors were already being circulated.  (You can check out my review HERE.) I was cringing, because (go ahead, say it with me!) THE BOOK IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN THE MOVIE.  They were saying Reese Witherspoon might be Amy (ughhhhhhhhhh) and that alone was making me nervous for the adaptation.

However, as you know by now, the movie was made and started getting some pretty decent reviews, so I knew I had to see it.  My darling husband had zero interest in this flick though, so I gathered a group of my mommy friends, and this past Thursday we made a night of it.  Of the 5 of us, 3 had read the book, and 2 hadn't.  So we got some interesting perspectives within the group.

Here are my thoughts, and yes, HERE THERE BE SPOILERS.  You have been warned!

Overall, I loved it.  Rosamund Pike was an exceptional choice for Amy.  She does an equally good job being the serene, well-adored Amy and the calculating, I'mma-cut-you-with-a-box-cutter Amy.  Ben Affleck plays a perfect Nick as well--aloof, self-absorbed, kind of a jerkface, but still curries some favor as he tries to find his crazy-ass wife.  And Neil Patrick Harris is a CREEPY Desi Collings.

Beyond the cast: the soundtrack adds much suspense, especially at the end.  And I was impressed with how Amy's diary entries were handled, as flashbacks with her narration over them.  Much like in the book, they are well-placed throughout the story, and mislead you just enough (especially in the beginning) that you don't see The Big Twist coming.

But, you know, the book always has to be just a TEENSY bit better than the movie.  Right?  So I had two little things that I liked better in the novel.

1. The Big Twist.  When I was reading the book, I hit the end of Part 1 and had no idea, not one clue, what Amy was up to.  Then I read the first page of Part 2, and...there is a reason I used a nuclear bomb GIF in my original review.  KA-BOOM.  There were expletives spoken aloud.  The entire book was turned on its head, and I loved it.

In the movie, it didn't feel that way to me.  Granted, I knew it was coming, having read the book.  But even despite that, I was so excited for that big twist, and I felt like it wasn't as explosive on screen as it was on the page.  Perhaps because we had already heard Amy's voice continuously through flashbacks previously in the movie--so when she starts talking about her staged disappearance, it doesn't feel as shocking?  I'm not sure.  But for me, that twist felt better in print.

2. The pregnancy at the end.  One of the reasons I enjoyed this ending in the novel so much is because it was done with very little fanfare.  Part 3 of the book is not very long, and so the pregnancy is introduced, with some additional detail, but there isn't a lot of dialogue and it is kind of left hanging--very ominous, something that sticks in your head for a long time afterwards.  However, in the movie, the pregnancy is introduced, and then there's a lot of back-and-forth between Amy and Nick, plus the reveal to Go, and then on national television, etc. and it felt like too much.  I just wanted the pregnancy revealed, maybe reactions from Nick and Amy, and that was it--no more talking.  I wanted it more abrupt, to match the feel of the book.  However, I will say that my friends who didn't read the book seemed a bit frustrated at the lack of detail in the movie's conclusion (what happens next after the pregnancy is announced, etc)...so this is likely my own personal issue as I pick apart one of my favorite novels.

As you can see, those two tiny caveats are...tiny.  This movie was truly awesome.  In my eyes, David Fincher has done Gone Girl justice.  Well done, Hollywood!

Who else has seen Gone Girl (the movie)?  What did you think compared to the book?  Those who haven't seen the movie--are you tempted to do so, based on your reaction to the book?  Why or why not?
 
Imagination Designs