Monday, July 21, 2014

Book Review: "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn

I haven't read a mystery/thriller novel in ten years. Why? Well, even before I got wrapped up in the demands of my Literature degree I had gone off mystery stories for one main reason: predictability. I found the plots were no longer able to sustain my interest because the structure felt formulaic. I openly admit that I was probably reading only a fragment of good mystery writing available, but that was my experience.

So when I heard about Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl, I had my reservations. However, like so many of my recent book choices - I saw that the movie was coming out and I wanted to hop on that pop culture wave. Let me just say - I'm really glad I did. I can honestly say that I haven't felt shamelessly hooked to a book the way I was to Gone Girl in a long time. I'm talking sneak-reading while I'm supposed to be getting ready to go out with friends; wondering what these characters were up to while I was at work. The entire journey felt justified...until the last couple of pages.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Book Review: "The Leftovers" by Tom Perrotta

I wanted to read this book before the HBO series based on Tom Perrotta’s dystopian novel premiered, and I finished a mere two hours shy of the deadline. (If you’re watching the show, you can check out my reviews of each episode here: Okay, back to the book. I was intrigued by this idea of 2% of the world’s population vanishing with no explanation. What happens to those who are left behind? What happens to societal structure and the role of religion beneath the weight of the unknown?

The story picks up three years after the "Sudden Departure" of 2% of the world's population. In the story we get to travel into different character perspectives to gain a wider scope of the impact of the Sudden Departure. Most of the characters we follow are from the Garvey family. Kevin Garvey is the Mayor of Mapleton, which serves as a microcosm for what is occurring on a world wide scale. Kevin is struggling with raising his teenage daughter Jill in the aftermath of all that has happened. Jill is trying to make sense of a world with an uncertain future, as is much of the youth in the story. All of the previous societal expectations seem absurd when you don’t know if tomorrow is guaranteed. Jill’s perspective provides a glimpse into her broken world filled with hedonism and a slow growing discovery that not even extreme explorations of pain and pleasure can fill the void.