Book Review

Book Review: Gone Girl

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I finally finished another book! As I’ve mentioned before, I mostly read at the gym when I’m doing cardio.

Since I was living in Portland for 2 weeks and then after that I was home for 2 weeks in California, I didn’t really have much opportunity to read because I was probably at the gym half a dozen times in those 4 weeks.

I finally got a new gym membership and was able to start on the last bit of this book that I had late.  Oh my goodness, the ending made me so mad!  The ending felt like a cop out, like the author couldn’t decide how to end the book so she just left it open ended.

Anyways, you might like to know what the story is about, right?

If you intend on reading this book I suggest you stop reading now.  I’m including spoilers.

The book starts by introducing the main characters Amy and Nick.  Each chapter switches back and forth between their separate perspectives, Amy writing in a dairy in retrospective and Nick talking about the present.  As Amy is describing the first 7 years of their relationship Nick is talking about the present, the fact that Amy, his wife, has mysteriously gone missing on their 5th wedding anniversary.  Immediately, it looks like Nick has killed Amy although he doesn’t admit doing it and fights to remain innocent.  As this section of the book progresses, you learn about the twisted, dark, and heartbreaking relationship and marriage that Nick and Amy have had.  Right as you’re feeling bad for Amy and hating Nick, convinced he is a killer, this section ends.

The second section of the book begins with us learning that Amy is in fact a liar and everything in the diary was false.  As Nick falls deeper and deeper into the hole of being guilty Amy continues to reveal her twisted, demented plan to frame her husband for her murder.  She is on the run and has put so much planning into her disappearance that it seems impossible something could go wrong. Unfortunately for her, all it takes is one slip up for her plans to come crashing down and she is forced to seek refuge with her obsessive ex boyfriend, Desi.

Meanwhile, Nick has realized his wife’s deceptive ways and is convinced she is framing him and alive somewhere.  Since no one seems to believe him and he has no solid evidence to prove his point, Nick launches is own plan to make Amy fall back in love with him and reveal herself.  It works.  After a few heartfelt interviews Amy is convinced she has to find a way back to Nick.  The only problem is Desi is holding her hostage in his lake house and she has no way to escape.

So as any disturbed individual would do, Amy launches another dark plan.  She murders Desi and comes to the police with a story about Desi kidnapping her from her home and holding her hostage for months while the abused and raped her.  They believe the story and she returns home to Nick.  The only problem is Nick is not so excited to have her home.

I’ll leave it at that 🙂 Really, go read this book.  It’s incredibly twisted and more than a little graphic and profane but it will suck you in because it is so unpredictable.  The content actually surprised me when I first started it because my mom recommended it to me, but she is a huge Stephen King fan so I’m actually not surprised at all that she loved it.

I highly recommend this book, my review does not do it justice!

Book Review

Book Review: Now I’ll Tell You Everything (Alice)

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So, let me preface this by saying this is probably not a book you’re going to go buy at the bookstore tomorrow and read.  It’s the last of a 28 book series that I started reading in 6th grade…which was 11 years ago? 12 years ago?

A long time ago.

The first book in the series was written in 1985 I believe so when I started reading them in 2001 or 2002, about half of the series was already written.  The series starts with Alice McKinley at age 11, in 6th grade.  Basically, it was fate that I started reading the series at that time.  As I got older, I kept reading them and Alice also got older.  This was partially intentional and mostly because I had the hardest time finding them at the school library, someone always had them!

The series is about Alice, a girl who is being raised by her single dad and her older brother, Lester.  Her mom died when she was 5, so for all those embarrassing girl moments she has growing up she has only her dad and brother to turn to.  Sometimes this is heartbreaking and sometimes it is hilarious.  Either way, I remember it being so relate-able and real and feeling like Alice was a friend, not just a character in a book.

Alice has two best friends, Pamela and Elizabeth, and a boyfriend, Patrick Long. Yes, she has a boyfriend in middle school.  I was jealous.

As they grow up, member of their group come in and out.  High school adds Gwen to the group of best friends and brings a breakup to Alice and Patrick.  They get back together and then Patrick goes to college a year early, throwing a whole new level of complication into their relationship.  After Alice graduates, she, Pam, Liz, and Gwen embark on a summer adventure working on a cruise ship and Patrick moves to Spain.

Then, they get back and the last book begins…

Alice goes to the University of Maryland and makes new friends there while also keeping her best friends close.  She experiences typical college stuff and finds her relationship with Patrick deteriorating.  Patrick ends it and then joins the Peace Corps and a blog he updates is Alice’s only way of knowing what is happening in his life.

Alice starts dating someone, Dave, and eventually gets engaged to him.  The engagement gets rocky and they break it off….just in time for Alice to run into Patrick unexpectedly at the airport as he gets back from his Peace Corps time.

At first, this upset me, it was too much like a fairy tale, but then I realized how excited I was for Alice and it was okay.  Yes, I still see her as a friend, even though I’m now 23….

This is when the book hits fast forward, covering the rest of her life until 60.  Alice and Patrick get engaged, married, have 2 kids, have struggles in their marriage, lose their parents, realize how lucky they are to have each other, and still manage to stay in touch with their high school friends.

The book ends when they are 60, digging up a time capsule from their 7th grade history class.  The end of the book made me cry.  It was emotional and sad because the series I have constantly relied on for a new read for over a decade is now over.

This is a series I’ll encourage my daughter to read, if I ever have one (which I hope I do!) and I think it’s seriously the perfect series for a girl to grow up with.  If you have a daughter or niece or grandkid who is in middle school, encourage her to read this and let her grow up with the books, they are seriously so good.

Here’s the link to the website about the books!

http://alicemckinley.wordpress.com/

Book Review · Life

Book Review: The Secret History by Donna Tartt

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This book was too good not to share, I think I’m going to be raving about it until something else comes along.

I came across this book on one of those Pinterest lists titled “65 Books to Read in Your 20s” or something along those lines.  I have always always always been an avid reader. In college I didn’t give myself enough time to read for fun and I’ve decided I’ll never let that be the case again.  My mom also really enjoys reading and always reads on her lunch break at work.  I was convinced that I didn’t have enough time to read and then I thought about times when I could multi task and add reading into what I’m doing, like my mom does at work.  The summer of 2012 I moved home and had just received a Kindle for graduation. I spent a LOT of time at the gym after work, mostly because I had nothing better to do and living with my parents at 22 was seriously cramping my independence.  I started bringing my Kindle with me and reading while I was on the cardio machines. I was immediately hooked.

Now I literally cannot stand going to the gym if I don’t have my Kindle with me.

It’s actually kind of an incentive to get me to go if I’m feeling lazy. I just remind myself that I get to read!

Anyways, where were we? So at the end of this summer, in August, I finished a horrible book that I forced myself to get through just because I was genuinely curious about the ending.  After I finished it, I realized I had wasted so much time on nothing.  So I started scrounging book lists for a more highly reviewed book that had some depth to it.  This one caught my eye right away and was described as a book better read before college.  I’m going to totally botch what that actual wording was, but basically it said it warned what can happen when an exclusive organization takes things too far.

I think whoever wrote these little blurbs about the books was referring to Greek life when they said that, since secret societies don’t really exist outside of the Ivy League (and if they do I’m oblivious) so I was curious.

To summarize the book, it is about a young man named Richard who transfers from a school in California to a small, private school in Vermont.  Although it was not his original intention, he ends up being invited to study Greek with a very exclusive group of students on campus.  There are 5 other students, Richard being the 6th, and they have almost all their classes together.  Their unique interpersonal relationships intrigue Richard, as well as the secrecy surrounding many aspects of their lives.  Richard slowly integrates himself into the group and discovers some dark, twisted secrets, some of them unthinkable.  Before he knows it, he’s not just hearing about the horrible things they have done, he has become part of them. The book is narrated from his prospective looking back on his naivety.

There is a large amount of reference made to Greek culture and language, something I know a minimal amount about, but my lack of knowledge in that area didn’t keep me from enjoying the story or understanding it.

This book is pretty dark, so if you are looking for a light, happy read, this is not it.  Despite it’s dark undertones, it’s complexity and mystery are extremely appealing and keep you wanting to read more.  Like I said, I started this book at the very end of August and finished it maybe a week or so ago, so it took me almost 2 months to read it.  It is really long.  I have it on my Kindle but I think it said it was 500+ pages in print.

This is a book you have to make a commitment to, but it’s definitely worth it!