I think this was one of my favorite books so far, but it was a pretty mixed reaction from the group. This book has gotten a lot of hype, so I kind of expected it to be generically exciting, but maybe not the most well-written of novels. What I liked the most was that it was a surprising narrative. This book was more about how changing the way a reader views a character can turn the plot upside-down.
I first found the female protagonist (Amy) incredibly intolerable. She would go on rants about how she was the “cool girlfriend/wife” and how she couldn’t understand how these other women expected to keep their man by demanding (read: expressing their needs) what they wanted. I was so angry when I read Amy’s journal entry about this. Another freaking woman telling me that I shouldn’t express how I feel and that the man should get everything he wants and I should get nothing I want. Unbelievable.
To focus back on the storytelling, I liked how Flynn switched between the male (Nick) and female protagonists. I also loved how she revealed more about the character’s personality as the novel unfolded, revealing that neither narrator (Nick nor Amy) was trustworthy. This is incredible storytelling. I love when the author doesn’t control the story too much by forcing me down a path of belief. I like to form my own opinions about characters with the evidence presented. This can be incredibly difficult to do unless you’re writing from third person objective, which can often times feel very stilted and wooden.
The personality switch reminded me a lot of Hitchcock’s Psycho in that who the viewer thinks will be the protagonist of that movie is killed within the first 15 or so minutes. It’s so shocking to the viewer that we’re not sure who we’re supposed to follow next. You can even feel the camera mimicking this struggle through the quick cuts after the character has been murdered in the shower. [Movie digression over.]
Many of the girls in the Girly Book Club enjoy books with characters with whom they can relate. If they can’t find a character that is like them in some way, they do not enjoy the book as much. This is a legitimate way to read a book, but if that is the case, then this book is definitely not for you. Almost every character is an asshole. All are very interesting and compelling assholes, but assholes none the less. Asshole.
A note on September: none of us read the next book, so I’ll post an Amazon summary and when I read the book eventually, I’ll post a review on it. Our October book, however is quite the exciting selection: the long-awaited next novel from J.K. Rowling, The Casual Vacancy. See you bitches at the end of October!