About Me

Glasgow, United Kingdom
My name is Lynsay, and I've decided to start blogging about the books I've been reading, so that I have reviews that I can look back on about the range of books and genres that I have read. I was very lucky to receive a Sony eReader for my birthday, and since then, I've been reading even more!! I read anything and everything, happy to give any style or genre a try!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn

From the outside, Nick and Amy Dunne appear to be happily married.  On the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary, Nick get up and goes to work as normal, only to receive a worried phone call from a neighbour, who tells him that the front door of his home is lying open. Concerned, Nick rushes home to investigate, to find that the house shows signs of a possibly deadly struggle and there is no sign of his wife.  He calls the police, who start questioning him, asking probing questions concerning the state of Nick and Amy's marriage, clearly convinced that Nick has had a hand in whatever has happened to Amy.  After telling the police that he hadn't had a disagreement with his wife that day, Nick thinks to himself - and the reader - 'That was the fifth lie I told the police that morning.'  From this point, the story spirals into a twisty, dark tale, which serves to confirm that no-one ever truly knows what passes behind closed doors. Perhaps not even the people behind those closed doors…

  Gillian Flynn is an accomplished writer, who crafts an incredibly clever story which questions how well any person can truly know another person, no matter how well they believe they do.  This story is told in the main by Nick in the present day, recounting the days after Amy's disappearance.  However, the clever concept in this is that we know that he lies, because, after all - he told us that he lies!  Nick's parts of the story are interspersed with excerpts of Amy's diary, starting from when they first met, leading up to the fateful day of their first anniversary.  I'm reluctant to reveal any more of the story, in case I ruin it for anyone, as one of the aspects of the story I really enjoyed was a genuine, slack-jawed, wonder at what could possibly happen next!  That isn't a feeling that too many books inspire, especially if you are a frequent reader.  I have given this book to many of my friends, and they have all had a very positive reaction.

This is Gillian Flynn's third book, and upon finishing this, I went back and read the previous books, Dark Places, and Sharp Objects.  Both are also extremely good, but I think that Gone Girl remains my favourite for the moment.  I can't wait to see what Gillian Flynn will bring out next, in my view she's one of the most exciting authors of recent years.  I first heard of this book on a podcast called Books on the Nightstand, which is a consistently reliable source of great reads.  Both hosts absolutely raved about this tale, recommending it so highly that I couldn't wait to read it.  I'm so glad that this was the case, as this has easily been my stand out book of this year.  It's not a light, easy read, but if you like good writing and great storytelling, you should definitely give Gillian Flynn a try!

As always - all comments are welcomed!!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

We Need To Talk About Kevin, by Lionel Shriver

2011 was a big year for film adaptations of books, and We Need To Talk About Kevin is a great film version of a fantastic book.  This is one of the first books I always recommend to people, as I absolutely love it!  Whether you love it or hate it, there's always plenty to talk about, and I love speaking to people after they've read it to get their point of view on the issues that it raises.

The story is told in letters, written by Kevin's mother Eva, to his father Franklin.  As the story begins, we already know that Kevin has carried out a school shooting (its in the blurb on the back of the book).  Eva is writing to Franklin, discussing their life together, from when they met, to when they had Kevin and everything that led up to the school shooting.

Eva runs her own travel book company, and has always had a wanderlust. She loves to travel, and revels in taking off to far-flung destinations at the drop of a hat.  Her business grows and grows, and she ends up with a more settled lifestyle running the company that she has founded.  Once she has become reluctantly settled, she falls pregnant with Kevin, which is when the trouble begins.

Eva is a reluctant mother, as she's not really sure she wants to be a mother at all. Franklin is thrilled by the idea, and cannot wait for her to have the baby, so she cannot be open about her misgivings.  After Kevin is born, the problems increase.  Eva cannot bond with Kevin, and feels like he's an awkward, fractious baby on purpose.  Franklin bonds instantly and doesn't understand Eva's issues with him.  This continues throughout all the stages of Kevin growing up, with Eva never bonding with him at all, and Franklin not understanding.  

The main theme of the book is nature versus nurture.  Would Kevin have been so bad, and instigated a school shooting, if Eva had been able to bond with him?  Did he know, subliminally or otherwise, that Eva didn't want him, and was all his bad behaviour a result of feeling unloved or neglected?  Franklin did think that he had a great relationship with Kevin, but Eva feels that Kevin sees his dad as an idiot, and fakes the bond with him, while all the while looking down on him.  I always wonder whether or not Franklin realised what Kevin was really like, but just glossed over it.

One of the main points of the book is that its all from Eva's point of view, so the issue of bias runs through the story.  Was Eva selfish to have a baby that she didn't really want?  A few years after Kevin was born, Eva decides to have another baby, and does so, without really involving Franklin in making the decision.  She has Celia, who is the polar opposite to Kevin.  An interesting point in the story is that Franklin doesn't really take to Celia - I think partly because Eva tricked him with the pregnancy, but in my opinion,  I think that Celia is very like Franklin, whereas Kevin takes after Eva.  

I'm reluctant to say too much more about the book, as I always want people to read it and talk about it!  I recently saw the film, with Tilda Swinton, and I'm happy to say it more than lived up to the book.  Slightly uncomfortable viewing (as it should be), it encapsulates the eerie build up to the school shooting and how the relationship between Kevin and Eva imploded and rippled out to impact on the lives of everyone that they knew.

Please feel free to leave any comments!!