Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Weekend READcap: The Works of Gillian Flynn
Who of you out there have read Gone Girl? Who had to pick it up the minute they heard of it? Who read it during a book club (or two)? Who read it in two days? I'm not asking if you liked it, I won't touch on the ending today, I'm just asking - who jumped on the bandwagon?
And of those who said yes to any of the above - who has read Gillian Flynn's earlier novels Dark Places and Sharp Objects?
Now that Gone Girl has met such success, Dark Places - a book written 3 years earlier - is being adapted into a movie. I find that sort of thing interesting.
Unfortunately, I can't say that I was a fan long before Gone Girl's popularity. Sadly, I hadn't heard of Gillian Flynn before her third book. I've since read all of her novels in reverse. All three books I read with a compulsive need to know more. All three books I read in 2 days.
While Gone Girl gets progressively darker, these other two books start dark and stay dark.
Where Amy Dunne had a healthy upbringing with loving, normal parents, these two ladies came from twisted homes. In most other atmospheres, I'd detest these self-deprecating protagonists. Here, amidst the other lunatic, malevolent characters, I'm left sympathizing with the broken narrator. Though, I do miss the grounded, control character like Nick Dunne's twin sister, Go, in Gone Girl. Everyone is crazy, everyone is flawed, and I just want someone I can run to for a moral breather.
One thing I really appreciated was that neither of these plots was cookie-cutter. Gillian Flynn took her stories into a world that I knew nothing about, which means I had no expectations for where the story could go. This, for me, is the key to keeping the book glued to my hands - If I think I have the plot figured out, I'll probably be a bit more sluggish to pick up the book first thing in the morning. Dark Places and Sharp Objects keep me guessing, wanting more answers.
The crazy characters make sure the story is more than whodunnit. Even more so, they're all central to whodunnit even if they initially seem like detours along the way. And these characters don't just say they're good a keeping secrets - they are good at keeping secrets.
I'm a fan of misdirection, always have been, but sometimes it gets exhausting. It's refreshing to take a break and delve into a Gillian Flynn book where the narrator doesn't fall for misdirection. Her heroes are cynical and thus see the holes in all of the red herring theories.
In regards to Dark Places, as well as Gone Girl, I preferred the work as a whole better than the actual ending. In Sharp Objects, I thought the ending really spoke to the work as a whole and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
What did you think of these two novels?