I am finally done reading all books written by Gillian Flynn so I thought I will briefly talk about her books. She has written 3 novels and one short story. All these four belong to psychological thriller genre. Before reading her books, I did not even know that this genre existed. I had read sci-fi thrillers and crime thrillers with detectives. But I had not read a dark and twisted novel with immoral characters like the ones in her novels. She is amazing at portraying the dark side of her female characters. She is one of my most favorite authors and one of her books is an all time favorite book of mine.
Gone Girl – 3.5 stars
This was the first book by her that I read and it is her most popular book. It is about a married couple where the wife suddenly disappears and the husband is suspected of murdering her.
This one line in the book summarizes the two main characters of this book:
“You two are the most fucked-up people I have ever met, and I specialize in fucked-up people.”
The suspense element in the book was very less. I guessed it even before the story picked up. It was SO obvious. The story felt very much like it was taken from a Bollywood script. I didn’t quite like the ending.
There was more drama and definitely both of them were psychos, one worse than the other. I liked the psycho-ness part, since it reminded me of a person that I knew who was exactly like Amy. But I felt the book was highly over-rated, when I read it that time. I plan to reread this book again, now that I have read her other books just to compare.
Dark Places – 5 stars
I am really glad that I thought of giving this author another chance. This novel is better than “Gone girl” and is now one of my most favorite books ever. It is about a brutal murder of a mother and two daughters and the son has been put in the prison since he was convicted of all three murders. The book alternates between the present and the past. The past and present chapters finally meet at the point when the murder happens, which is when you learn who the murderer was. It gave me the creeps, it was so scary. The only time I get to read books is just before I sleep and that resulted in the nightmares. I loved the suspense part of the novel. I just had to find out who the murderer was and that gave me sleepless nights. She specializes in writing about evil people and this book had so many of them. There were many quotes that I loved in the book –
“I was not a lovable child, and I’d grown into a deeply unlovable adult. Draw a picture of my soul, and it’d be a scribble with fangs.”
“I assumed everything bad in the world could happen, because everything bad in the world already did happen.”
“It was surprising that you could spend hours in the middle of the night pretending things were OK, and know in thirty seconds of daylight that that simply wasn’t so.”
“Never leave a message for someone you really want to reach. No, you keep phoning and phoning until someone picks up – out of anger or curiosity or fear – and then you blurt out whatever words will keep them on the line. ”
“There is something disturbing about not even bothering with a name… How could you kill something you cared enough to name?”
The Grownup – 4 stars
She is amazing in writing about messed up characters. This book is about a psychic who visits a house and encounters ghosts and what not. I did not find this story very spooky but loved the way it ended. You have no idea what really happened. Open ending left me wondering long after the book ended. Such a short book, yet written brilliantly. I finished it in one sitting as I couldn’t put the book down.
Sharp Objects – 3 stars
I read this book in 2018. It’s a psychological thriller involving murder of two young girls in a small town, which the main protagonist investigates. I liked this book but had lot of issues with the topics addressed here. This is her weakest novel and the one that I enjoyed the least. The mystery was too simple and I was able to guess the murderer wayyy ahead of time. All the characters here are messed up and I don’t have any issues with that, since this is how all her books are. She brings the evil side of women and I find that interesting since nobody is as good at that as she is. But, I had some other issues with this book, which made me lower the rating.
The author gives importance to beauty a lot in this book. Everyone is described as “pretty, beautiful, ugly”. I got fed up of everyone mentioning the main character’s beauty and popularity because of her pretty face. At one point, she even mentions that the beautiful women ended up being successful and those who were ugly never came up in life. Please, give me a break. The main character acts like a teenager even though she is supposed to be 30+ yrs old. She sleeps around with random men because they are “beautiful” and goes to parties and takes drugs with teenagers. The main protagonist is sexist too a lot of times in the book.
“… the ugly, victimized girls were still stuck cleaning up after the pretty ones, heads lowered glumly, waiting for more abuse.”
Does the author not like ugly girls personally? I am not sure.
The other aspect of this book that made me cringe multiple times were mention of nakedness and naked bodies. People kept removing their clothes, showing off their naked body to others, while the other person would observe their body and make comments. Who does that in real life?! If it is mentioned few times, I would still be okay but it kept occurring throughout the book, like a filler since the author just wanted to make the scene sexy or something. Who ogles at the naked body of her sister and comments on her breasts? I felt scenes like that really awkward to read.
Her books are definitely not for anyone who is not an adult. I am now eagerly waiting for her next book to get released.
Have you read anything by this author? Which was your favorite work of hers?
When I read Sharp Objects the first time, I felt all the things you felt. And then I did a reread for some reason, and I ended up loving it. I liked Gone Girl very much for her take on marriage and “cool girls” and stuff like that. I didn’t really like the twist, the second half didn’t know where to go.
Never completed Dark Places, I found it a bit too slow and a bit too spooky. I want to see the movie though.
I must reread Gone Girl since I feel I will appreciate it even more now. I went into it expecting a mystery and was let down but now I know that I must read it for the flawed characters.
Dark Places was too spooky. It gave me nightmares also. Movie was decent. I liked the adaptation.
Will try to get a few of these.
You should give them a try SG. She is a great author.
Dark Places is my favorite too. It’s the first book I read and I absolutely loved it. Nothing else from her has matched up to Dark Places for me. Is she writing any new book? Any idea?
I heard she is writing one which will be released next yr or something, though I am not sure. Waiting for something else by her.