‘Gone Girl’ Book Review

Gone Girl: A Story That Captivates 

There are books that are so iconic that it is difficult to find people who have not read them. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is one such book. It has proven so popular that it has been adapted into a movie. The film adaptation is essentially an endorsement of the book and an indication that the creators of the film felt that it should be made available to a broader audience. For the few who are yet to experience the thrill and pleasure that Gone Girl delivers, it is not too late to give the novel a try. 

What is the book about? 

When two people who have read the book are asked to provide summaries, they are likely to give different accounts and versions. The book is so complex, and multilayered that every reader takes away different insights and lessons. Gone Girl follows a married couple, Nick and Amy. Their marriage is turbulent and unhappy. The sorry state of the marriage can be seen in the tones and perspectives that the two adopt in describing their union. While Amy speaks of the marriage in the past tense, Nick uses the present test. The different tenses point to divisions between the two.

After introducing the reader to the troubled marriage, Gone Girl proceeds to roll out a series of events that leave readers hooked and deeply engaged. Both Nick and Amy lose their job and following pressure from Nick who wishes to take care of his ailing mother, a decision is made to move to Missouri. Amy resents the move which imposes even more strains on the already struggling marriage. 

On what should be the wedding anniversary, Amy flees. The police become involved and Nick is considered a suspect in the disappearance of the wife. It is later revealed that Amy is indeed alive while creating the impression that Nick had killed her. She then engages in a series of despicable acts that are designed to further implicate Nick in her murder. As the story progresses, readers learn that Amy eventually agrees to return to Nick who is forced to accept her back after finding out that she is pregnant. 

Why should I read it?

There are many reasons why one should read Flynn’s Gone Girl. The main reason is that the novel is simply very intriguing. The narration is so compelling that readers will struggle to hold themselves from turning to the next page before completing what is on one page. Flynn demonstrates her mastery of drama by using two ordinary individuals to tell a story that many readers will find to be remarkably interesting and fun. Furthermore, the novel tells its story in a way that is so unpretentious yet so refreshing. 

The fact that it contains many plot twists is another reason for reading Gone Girl. Unlike other narratives which tend to be linear and predictable, Gone Girl makes use of plot twists to keep readers interested and engaged. When a reader thinks that the story will unfold in a particular way, the novel surprises and disappointments them with a twist. For those who plan to read the novel, it is advised that they should brace for an unrivalled thrill. The book is best read when one is calm and preferably seated. This is the only way that readers can survive the many twists.

Gone Girl is founded on two characters who seem simple, plain and boring on the surface. However, as one reads further, they discover that Nick and Amy are actually multidimensional and tremendously interesting. The betrayals, the selfishness, and the hate combined with displays of love that the two exhibit imbues the novel with a level of depth that has become rare. Nick and Amy are such interesting characters that while some readers will hate them, others will approach them with adoration.

Flynn has built a reputation for literary excellence. Reading Gone Girl helps one to understand the hype that usually surrounds Flynn’s works. The hype is indeed justified. The plot of the book begins at a small pace before accelerating to levels where some readers will struggle to keep up. Moreover, the book tells its story in a way that is non-threatening and friendly. For this reason, Gone Girl will earn the trust and confidence of readers wishing to engage with a work that pushes them to the limits of their patience and fortitude while allowing them to experience what unravels without being hurried. 

In Gone Girl, Flynn maintains the same spirit and style that can be seen in her other works. However, she remembers to ensure that Gone Girl is unique and special. While the same darkness found in her other novels is still visible in Gone Girl, it is toned down somewhat. This feature will help the book to gain the attention and interest of readers who are fans of Flynn but who wish to be wowed with something fresh and different. Gone Girl is fresh and different. 

  Most of the strengths of Gone Girl are issues that readers actually care about. However, there are some noteworthy elements of her book that are rather technical but still crucial. Prose is among these elements. Harnessing the power of proper prose, Flynn reminds readers of why she is so admired and respected. She uses prose to address sensitive topics in a way that makes these topics less intimidating and easier for audiences to interact with. 

Reasons to stay away

Whereas it is true that Gone Girl has many features that have helped it to draw massive audience, there are some limitations that could scare away some readers. One of the drawbacks of the book is that some readers may feel that it departs too far away from the style that Flynn has traditionally used in her works. These readers will certainly be disappointed. However, even after diluting her style, Flynn is still able to retain readers who are able to look beyond technical issues and allow themselves to be overwhelmed by Flynn’s genius. 

Another shortcoming that holds Gone Girl back is that it lacks the rawness that some readers desire. It appears that before its publication, the book was subjected to a rigorous editing process. The editors must have then removed all the raw elements that would have made Gone Girl more interesting. Therefore, while it remains interesting, Flynn’s novel lacks the punch, weight and dimension that would help it to capture the attention of a larger audience. This failure underscores the importance of authors maintaining the same style and approach that have allowed them to establish a massive fan following. In Gone Girl, Flynn appears to have abandoned the style that enabled her to win over readers. 

Verdict  Even the meanest critics will be forced to acknowledge that Gone Girl is a masterpiece. This book does not pretend to be what it is not. Instead, it makes it clear from the very beginning that it is about a couple in a marriage that is crumbling. There are no politics and Flynn does not try to hard to appease her readers. This book easily earns five stars.

‘The Girl on the Train’ Book Review

What is an ideal female? In some cultures, the ideal female stays quiet and covers her mouth when she talks. In other cultures, the ideal female moves with grace and is very neat. As they delve into Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train, readers should abandon any and all notions that they may have regarding how girls and women should behave. This gripping novel redefines the ideal female and challenges beliefs that many readers hold. Additionally, the novel offers eye-opening insights into the reality of mental illness.

What is The Girl on the Train about?

It is nearly impossible to provide a comprehensive overview that fully captures the essence of The Girl on the Train. However, a brief summary helps to prepare readers for this novel. The book is about three women: Rachel, Anna, and Megan. Initially, these women’s lives are separate and apart. However, as the story unfolds, their paths begin to intersect. Hawkins reveals that Anna is married to Tom, Rachel’s former husband. On the other hand, Megan who lives in the same neighborhood with Tom and Anna is shown to be having an affair with Tom.

One would be hard pressed to summarize The Girl on the Train without spoiling it for those who are yet to read the novel. What these readers need to understand is that the book explores such issues as betrayal, love, envy, and the ugliness of married life. Its examination of these issues makes the novel remarkably deep and insightful. For more details on the plot of the book, it is best for readers to pick up a copy. 

Messages to brace for 

As opposed to similar novels which leave no impact on their readers, The Girl on the Train strives to ensure that readers will be affected in some way. The novel confronts various messages and themes. Among these issues are mental illness and the failure by society to safeguard the wellbeing of those ailing from these illnesses. Rachel represents these individuals and through its focus on her struggles, the book offers readers an insider look into the reality of mental disorders.

Another message that The Girl on the Train shares is that marriage is not as it seems. Readers are able to understand that in many cases, married couples who seem happy and fulfilled are indeed miserable. For example, initially, Rachel envies Megan, believing that her marriage is blissful. However, through her conversations with other characters in the novel, she gathers that Megan actually endured hardship in her marriage. In fact, these hardships forced her into infidelity and her eventual death. Hawkins clearly sought to encourage her readers to celebrate their relationships instead of envying what others have.

Why The Girl on the Train is worth a read? 

Tackling the Complexity of Femininity 

The fact that is shows that femininity is complex is one of the many reasons why readers should spend as much time as possible with The Girl on the Train. The book provides various perspectives regarding womanhood by presenting three different women. While one of these women is a filthy and hopeless drunk with a history of mental health problems, another woman is in what appears to be in a happy marriage. The different women are clear evidence that femininity exists in a variety of forms. 

The novel further sheds light on the complexity of womanhood by staying silent on the ideal type of woman. For example, despite struggling with alcoholism, Rachel is not rebuked. Instead, she is portrayed as a woman who manages to overcome her struggles. On the other hand, Anna who appears to be in a loving and fulfilling relationship turns out to be a victim of marital unfaithfulness. The multi-faceted nature of these women is clearly intended to show that there is no single perspective that captures the full range of femininity. Each female is unique.

Asking readers to dismiss society’s standards and demands

Women are among those who are highly likely to be drawn to Hawkins’ book. The book appeals to women because it depicts their experiences. More importantly, it encourages them to defy society’s stipulations are remain true to their identity. For example, despite being an unattractive weak, spiteful, and sad woman, Rachel is still placed at the center of the novel. There is no dispute that by having her as among the main characters, Hawkins set out to dismiss society’s notions, standards, and stipulations. Her book celebrates even the ugliest and saddest women. 

Suggesting that disregarding society’s demands holds the key to fulfillment is another way that Hawkins manages to elevate her book to a platform from which it can find mass appeal. Hawkins shares that it was after Rachel uncovered how Tom had fed her lies about her behavior while drunk that she became empowered and began the journey toward sobriety. Rachel speaks for the millions of women around the world who are under pressure to conform to traditional standards. To find liberation, these women should join Rachel in disobeying and revolting.

Expertly combining drama with sobering insights 

The fact that Hawkins successfully incorporates drama and real insights into her novel is yet another reason why it is fairly easy to endorse and recommend the novel. She uses fictional characters to provide lessons on such issues as mental illness and the place of women in the society of today. This novel will enrich readers looking for entertainment as well as those wishing to engage with a book that is substantial and serious. 

Multiple perspectives

Hawkins is no slave to society’s expectations. Like Rachel, she defies and makes up her own mind. Her free thinking can be seen in the numerous perspectives for which she creates room in the universe that she established in the novel. She provides multiple voices and spirits. The breadth and variety of her universe will certainly help to expand the size of the audience that the novel will attract. Other authors looking to build their appeal should borrow lessons from Hawkins. They should particularly be bold enough to experiment by being defiant instead of relying on outdated approaches that have lost their relevance and are unlikely to woo audiences. 

This is why The Girl on the Train is not for everyone

The Girl on the Train is not perfect. There are some shortcomings that could see it lose the interest of many readers. One of these limitations is that the novel has too many plot twists. Some of the events that are included in the novel are simply implausible and divorced from reality. Moreover, it takes too long for the novel to introduce the drama. It would not be surprising if readers put the book down before they have encountered the many characters and developments that make the book interesting.

Even with the flaws highlighted above, The Girl on the Train remains an interesting novel. The novel is particularly timely as it confronts issues that the world faces today. For example, it addresses the hardships that women faces as they try to hold on to their identities in a world that is becoming increasingly hostile and aggressive in its push for conformity. The novel receives a resounding endorsement. 

‘Little Fires Everywhere’ Review

Little Fires with Big Meaning 

Surrogacy has become a booming industry. This industry has particularly gained traction in Asian countries where poor and desperate women agree to have children for wealthy couples who are unable to have children of their own. However, the exploitation that makes the surrogacy business possible has since been uncovered. Concerns have been raised that surrogacy is now being exploited and has been commercialized. Through her novel Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng helps readers to understand why they should care about surrogacy and the role that they can play to protect vulnerable women. 

Synopsis

Little Fires Everywhere appears dedicated to mothers who are struggling to provide their children with satisfying experiences while grappling with personal struggles and financial challenges. The book follows Mia Warren, an artist and mother of a young girl that Ng names Pearl. Ng also introduces the Richardson’s, a wealthy family headed by Elena Richardson whose children bring her family and that of Mia together. Through the interactions of the two families, Ng manages to shed light on how motherhood and families can deliver joy and cause pain.

The limited scope of this review does not permit for an in-depth summary of the plot of Little Fires Everywhere. However, it is still important to note the significant events and developments that occur. Among these events is the friendship that Mia’s daughter Pearl develops with Richardson’s son. This friendship gradually develops into a romantic affair which helps to unravel the secrets and mysteries of the two families. The main secret is that in both families, surrogacy has played an important role.

One does not need to flip through many pages before understanding why Ng chose to title her novel Little Fires Everywhere. This title is certainly a reference to the fires that Izzy, one of the main characters in the book starts. She ignites these fires as a form of protest at the poor treatment that Pearl endures and a symbol of the deep divisions and ugly confrontations that can occur among members of a family. 

Across its various chapters, Little Fires Everywhere narrates how the Richardson’s and Mia’s family betray one another and eventually come to the realization of the tremendous meaning and sense of fulfillment that family can provide. The novel concludes with Mia fleeing with her daughter as part of her effort to ensure that Pearl is reconnected with her father. While the novel’s events can be confusing, in the end, they weave together beautifully to create a unified and coherent narrative that will lead readers eager to turn the next page. 

Main Messages Conveyed

The Pains and Joys of Motherhood

From the very first page, Ng makes it clear to her readers that when she wrote Little Fires Everywhere, she hoped to go beyond merely entertaining her readers. The novel also explores important subjects. Among these subjects are the pains and joys that mothers experience. She develops this theme through the experiences of Mia, a mother whose struggles echo those of other women are unable to provide their children with the pleasures and conveniences that money affords. Single mothers will particularly find that the book resonates with them.

In addition to providing single and other struggling mothers with a role model that they can relate to and emulate, Little Fires Everywhere also sheds light on the lengths that mothers will go to protect their children. For example, the novel lets readers in on Mia’s secret. Years before the events in the novel, Mia had agreed to serve as a surrogate for a wealthy but barren couple. After forming a close relationship with the child, she recognized that she could not give her up and lied to the couple that she had miscarried. This lie serves as the foundation for the novel and represents the great burdens that women bear as they love, protect, and sustain their children. 

Ng develops the theme of the struggles and pleasures that mothers experience further through the revelation at the conclusion of the novel that Mia finally agrees to let her daughter meet the father. Her decision is important as it shows that even when they find certain courses of action to be painful, mothers take these decisions as they strive to serve the best interests of their children. There is no question that Little Fires Everywhere can be a vital resource for mothers who are grappling with dilemmas about how best to bring up their children. 

The Politics of Surrogacy

Perhaps the most important topic that Little Fires Everywhere addresses is the politics of surrogacy. The novel makes it clear that surrogacy is not some mere transactional exchange of children. Emotions are involved. For example, despite initially agreeing to give up her daughter that she conceived as a surrogate, Mia flatly refuses to surrender her. While questions can be raised about Mia’s character, what is clear is that she is a loving mother. More importantly, her actions and the tremendous love that she displays helps readers to sympathize with surrogates.

The role that money plays in the surrogacy process is yet another element that Ng leads her readers in reflecting on. Through her focus on the life of Mia, Ng indicates that surrogacy places poor women at great risk of exploitation. After giving birth, they are discarded. The book enables readers to understand that surrogacy is an industry that purports to empower desperate women while the truth is that it actually exploits their vulnerability. 

Strengths 

There are numerous issues that enable Little Fires Everywhere to stand above other books that address similar themes. Among the main strengths of the novel is that it tells compelling and important stories through characters that are relatable. Many readers will particularly sympathize with Mia, a divisive character whose love for her daughter is heartwarming but may struggled to earn the confidence of some readers who find her to be to an unreliable, untrustworthy and the ultimate symbol of selfishness. Despite these flaws, Mia is certainly an intriguing character who helps Ng to convey her message.

Another strength that Little Fires Everywhere possesses is that it tackles problems that many readers will be drawn toward. For instance, as noted earlier, the novel confronts such issues as surrogacy and how it particularly afflicts poor and defenseless women. In sharing this message, the novel relies on a combination of drama and sober narration. Reading the book, audiences will understand why Ng continues to receive accolades for her literary prowess. 

The fact that it lacks a clear hero is another issue that enhances the appeal of Little Fires Everywhere. Instead of presenting its characters as pure, the novel makes it clear that the characters are complex, with lots of nuances. It leaves it to readers to make their own moral judgments regarding the characters. 

Shortcomings and Limitations 

There are some problems that hold Little Fires Everywhere back from reaching wider audiences. Among the limitations of this novel is that it is heavily packed. Instead of focusing on a single perspective or narrative, Ng bombards readers with too many stories, plots, and perspectives. While some readers may find that the complexity of the novel adds to its richness, many will lament that the novel is simply too saturated and that it lacks a clear focus. 

In conclusion, Little Fires Everywhere is one of the few books that readers can still recollect months after reading it. It breaks down complex subjects into portions that readers find palatable and easier to digest. Whereas the novel may struggle to find acceptance among some audiences, it will definitely interest readers looking for help in celebrating motherhood and who feel that more needs to be done to crackdown on the global surrogacy trade.