Books I’ll never read #2 – Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I technically started to read this book, but then started to skim, and then put it down. I’ll never finish reading it, though.

The movie was better at making the story more entertaining (seriously, it’s called an editor, people).

I wholeheartedly agree with this review:

As for the writing, the voices of both main characters were awfully similar. And Nick doesn’t seem to be written like a man thinks. Both go off on tangents and flashbacks in nearly each paragraph to flesh out the past, but it’s like too many side stories and they distract from the overall flow. I think, much like Amy, the author is looking for readers to recognize her amazing-ness though it often comes off like being cornered at a party by the person who is so into themselves and must try to sell you on how interesting they are while you nod politely and try to catch a lull in the conversation to extricate yourself. It’s long-winded, self-indulgent, and would be more entertaining if it wasn’t so busy trying to tell you how smart it is.

I do, however, like this passage from the book, and have heard it quoted in discussions on places like NPR. I think this is the best part of the story (thus, you don’t need to finish it):

“That night at the Brooklyn party, I was playing the girl who was in style, the girl a man like Nick wants: the Cool Girl. Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hotdogs into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding… Men actually think this girl exists. Maybe they’re fooled because so many women are willing to pretend to be this girl.”

So, yeah, pass.

Book Review: The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbriath / J.K. Rowling

So, yes, I’m finally getting around to finishing this book. Don’t judge me, I’ve been busy. And angry. Let me take it from the top.

I don’t normally read crime novels/mysteries because I find them boring. I hate crime dramas on TV especially because I normally DON’T care who the killer is because there hasn’t been enough character investment in the ones who died. However, I love J.K. Rowling, so I was willing to take a chance on crime’s novel format.

However, I will say I put off reading this from the start because I was – quite frankly – pissed off at Rowling for trying to trick us. I had been waiting for years for a novel from her and all we got was a stand-alone A Casual Vacancy. I was very unsatisfied at her attempt to pacify us, so when I found out I had been savoring Vacancy for nothing, I was even more angry.

What’s more,  she didn’t even do a good job of keeping her pen name a secret anyways, because it leaked. WHAT WAS IT ALL FOR?!?! It comes off as a publicity stunt more than her being a master mind trying to get real, objective feedback from readers (which is why I assume she used the fake name in the first place?). Thus, I don’t really respect her and her decision to “pen name” the book (yes, I just made Pen Name a verb – shut up) because it looks like it was a futile attempt.

But, on to the review. The Cuckoo’s Calling wasn’t boring. It was very well written and I liked all the characters. But it was too long and drawn out, making me put it down in intervals. By the time I picked it up again, I had to refresh my memory on what had happened. I think her latest book,  A Casual Vacancy, was much better, story-wise. I guessed who the killer was from the start. I mean, I couldn’t prove it, but I suspected him most of all from the start. Which is unlike me with J.K. Rowling’s books. There is usually some twist I didn’t see coming, which is what usually makes her books so enjoyable. But it’s not so with this book. At the end, I found myself tired with the fact that I already guessed who did it – too much so to really care how he pulled it off (which really turns out to be what the book’s about).

Spoilers below!

I found it disappointing that Rowling would (basically) use the same trick she pulled off in her first novel: Don’t suspect the pitiful guy! In Harry Potter #1, we never suspect poor, stuttering Quirrell to be behind it all. Yet, here we are, in The Cuckoo’s Calling, seeing the same thing – we never suspect the crying, jittery, pitiful brother. Or, at least, we’re not supposed to. But THAT was the first thing that popped into my mind when introduced. I thought Surely, I’m wrong and she won’t do the same thing again.

At the end of the novel, it seemed like everything was too rushed and too stereotypical — Bristow stabbing Strike after Strike’s long-ass monologue. Of course that would happen. I am not sure I’ll read the second one. But if I do, then it will only be to find out more about the main characters. I won’t go in expecting to be entertained by the actual purpose behind having a crime novel (which is, um, solving crime).

…For someone who generally hates crime stories, this is actually a positive review. Probably.

The Case Against Having Children:

“In the first place there is no instinctive purpose for the sex drive; people, not nature, give it a purpose. Sex can be used to express love, show affection, provide physical pleasure, or it can be used for procreation. Nature endowed women with the capability of having children but there is no innate drive which says they must use that capability. More than anything else it was the inability of women to prevent pregnancy which made them think that procreation was the reason for their sexual desires. In the past, birth control methods were either inadequate or totally lacking so when women made love they made babies. There was a pretty good correlation between copulation and procreation and that gave rise to some faulty cause-and-effect thinking: Sexuality creates a physical drive that must be satisfied. The satisfaction of that drive often causes pregnancy. Ergo, the reason for the drive was to become a mother.


This false logic put procreation in the same category as eating, drinking, sleeping, defecating, and breathing. The distinction that people failed to draw was that the latter drives have to be satisfied in order for people to go on living. They are true instincts. A woman, on the other hand, who fails to have children does not die. Consider the food intake instinct. People can diet, fast…but they cannot go on indefinitely without food…The basic nature of an instinct is that it cannot be ignored for long without causing harm. But women can use some method of birth control each time they have intercourse and never suffer as a result. If procreation were an instinct, women would die from extended use of contraception. Since they do not, it is obvious that having babies is not a biological drive.” – Anna and Arnold Silverman, The Case Against Having Children.

Where I refuse to review Wild

I feel the need to warn you all against this book:

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Panda grumbles: Wild was a DNF (again) for me. I read up to 146/315 pages, though. So, I’m still going to review what I read and tell you why I didn’t finish (Panda is nothing but helpful). 

By page 5, when I read she had been a homecoming queen and a cheerleader I already hated her. But I knew that “cheerleader” was kind of a different stereotype for back then, so I forgave her (something I felt like I was having to do a lot in this book, another reason I eventually stopped reading) and kept at it.
She, the author, is very self-involved – even going so far as to say she helped her ex-husband apply for grad school – as if she had anything to do with him getting accepted (because of course you’re accepted based on who you’re married to). It was her little comments like that that made me want to punch her in the face. She thinks the world revolves around her.  Everyone she meets on her “adventure” seems so poised to help her. She had no struggle at all – nothing she was really fighting against except her own stupid self – something I could not sympathize with because I AM NOTHING LIKE HER.
Another thing about the book that I hated was that… Well, she meets so many guys on the trail. She sexualizes ALL of them as if all they were – or should have been – into her. She goes on the trail to get away from her sex life (and other things) only to create a new one there. News flash, girl friend, you are not God’s gift to man and you are not God’s gift to the memoir. Your story was pointless and emphasizes the fact you are full of yourself.  

Writing a punishment post is a pleasure if I don’t have to finish your book! lol.

 

Read the full review (in other words, Helena’s review of the entire book) here.

Where I sort of review Redshirts…

I “reviewed” Redshirts on my other blog. And here it is:

QUOTE:

Redshirts was a DNF for me. But, I will review the half of the book I did read. 
100 pages in and it still felt like the same long-running joke that was trying to remember the punch line.
Really, this book should have been a short story or novella. The characters were underdeveloped because they were just names on a page. I could hardly tell them apart. Except for the one girl character. 
I know it is supposed to critique Star Trek and TV shows of the like. I get that. But when your critique can be summed up in one sentence, it makes me angry. Something like this would be funnier and more effective as an uber intertextual episode of Community.
 
I read to exactly half in my book. And by then the logic was so thin I was like, ‘I can tell this isn’t going anywhere.’ So I stopped.

In sum, don’t waste your time or your money. Scalzi is a big name, but I’m not so sure he deserves it. Or his seat on the SFWA or whatever.

END QUOTE.