Book Review: Gone Girl, A Novel by Gillian Flynn

Gillian Flynn and her book Gone Girl
Gillian Flynn and her book Gone Girl
Where do I start? I want to keep this review short, but how can I? This book lives up to the reader-writer hype. I admit. I was put off by all the wide-eyed praises. As I read the story, I could feel myself being pulled into cryptic talk, lies, and murder.

So let me begin with themes. Let’s just get the literary devices on the table and how they affect the story.

  • Economy – the novel often visits the characters’ financial standings and how money [it] drives their emotions–a parallel of our reality. Flynn definitely established authenticity there.
  • Unreliable Narrator – my favorite theme throughout the novel is how the narrator’s are not trustworthy. I was immediately pulled into the story especially in the beginning with Nick’s sociopathic, Dexter Morgan-like demeanor.
  • Setting – obvious and well placed. Flynn illustrates setting quite nicely. The reader can see the opportunity and the ever changing city of New York and Carthage, Missouri. Flynn takes her characters to a small, slow point, which they have to recover, however, the madness of Nick and Amy Dunne take them into a spiral of deceit and wrathful daydreams.
  • Family – Universal. Readers can see the drawbacks of a dysfunctional household as well as one that’s “amazing”.

With some of the literary items listed (I’m sure there’s more), allow me to really say what I think:

This book was awesome. The emotional investment I had in this book…my goodness. I wanted to find Jules and Vincent, the hitmen from Pulp Fiction, to pay Nick Dunne a visit. Why not? The man would have been fine if he just told the truth in the beginning. Amy is right, he is a dummy. A big, damn dummy with a hoard of silver tongue fibs that can drive anyone crazy. Thing is Amy was already crazy.

Flynn, you got me. I was on Amy’s side until the bomb she dropped about the diary. I still felt like Nick needs a Ezekiel 25:17 speech. But Amy is crazy, bat crazy. By the way, I hate the phrase “fake it till you make it” and Flynn places it on the tongue of one of the most diabolical women in literature, an appropriate gesture.

I’m glad I read Gone Girl. The author really gave readers a treat. Eloquent. Suspense.

End result: Impressed. As a writer, I will try hard to follow Flynn‘s example.

Book Review: Debbie Doesn’t Do It Anymore by Walter Mosley

Cover of Walter Mosley's Debbie Doesn't Do It Anymore
Cover of Walter Mosley’s Debbie Doesn’t Do It Anymore

I’m enjoying this reading binge I’ve been on for a couple of days now. Along the way, I ran into book on while searching for mystery and thriller genre books.

Honesty first: I had know idea who Walter Mosley was until I read the synopsis in the inside back cover, which gives detail on the various projects by Walter Mosley. I had no idea he was the man behind Devil In A Blue Dress (great movie by the way).

On to the book review…!

Debbie Doesn’t Do It Anymore follows an African American porn star who finds herself making extreme life changes within a short amount of time. With her all-star porn husband dead, the character, Debbie faces an array of challenges left by the dead she just can’t seem to shake. I can’t give you a total plot synopsis. Every book is worth reading…

…Is this book worth reading? Absolutely. The novel is fantastic. Mosley gives the reader a quick view into Debbie’s world from the very start. All I can say is the scene is not for kids, pre-teens, or teens for that matter, so prepare yourself.

Mosley uses tangible imagery giving the reader lively illustrations of setting and character. However, there are moments where the story feels rushed. The meeting between Debbie and Jolie Wins’ mother, came and left. It wasn’t cohesive. Also, the ending felt rushed. I wanted to see Debbie (Sanda Peel) fight death’s urgency.  Maybe it doesn’t feel rushed to other readers, but I wanted more of Debbie’s story.

Perhaps, first-person narratives are like this; where the narrator is only character that becomes dynamic. I like dynamic.

Another thing I want to mention is hard-covers. Hard-covers are pricey. I’m all for supporting writers, but I could have waited for this to come out on paper back. Don’t get me wrong, Walter. I like the book, but a paperback would have been easier on my pocket.

Book Review: The Big Bad Wolf by James Patterson

While I was at Barnes & Noble a week ago, I skipped over Gone Girl and went straight for another James Patterson novel, The Big Bad Wolf. Again, I didn’t get the first of the Alex Cross series because, well, I didn’t want to. Anyhow, I bought the novel and began reading a week after I bought it.

I’m beginning to see Patterson’s recurring themes: family, parenthood, and career. I appreciate these themes. It kept me invested, bringing me closer to the man that is Alex Cross; however, I can’t say the same for the other characters. In a sense, I didn’t get a character break down in Maximum Ride. Patterson seems to be a plot-driven novelist.

The fast pace chapters made the novel easy to read. Non-stop action is a definite page turner, and Patterson accomplished this very well toward the end of the novel. He sets the reader up pretty well, at least, I felt that way. There are two climaxes here: An emotional one and physically heart racing one.

My score for Mr. Patterson out of a one hundred: 87/100

The Big Bad Wolf is a good read. I admit, there are a lot characters that jump out at the reader only to never return later–some of them, at least. Then again, this is a first person narrative…


Max: A Maximum Ride Novel (Book 5) Review

It’s important to do some research before you pick up a book, which I failed to do last week. Let’s just say I played Russian Roulette of purchasing a book. As many of you may have read, I wanted to do my first book review on Black Board.

And the book of choice is MAX: A Maximum Ride Novel. The novel is the fifth in a series of novels, which I didn’t know until after I bought the book, and I wasn’t going to just let the book collect dust or take it back to Barnes and Noble, so I read it anyhow. Even though, I have not read the previous books, James Patterson eloquently illustrates a character whose grown through emotional and supernatural struggles.

MAX: A Maximum Ride Novel (Book 5)
MAX: A Maximum Ride Novel (Book 5)

Patterson gives his new readers a descriptive welcome. Introducing the characters even though we haven’t read the previous stories was thoughtful. Also, there are notes prompting the reader to read the previous books to get more insight on what Max is describing in the story. I really enjoyed that.

This book seems more character driven. Of course, it should be since its a first-person narrative. The novel breaks from it several times only to show the readers a cut-away from the main character, Max. Don’t be off-put by character development. As I mentioned before, this book is part of series, so some of the main and supportive characters will remain flat.

In addition, I think Patterson has the teenage girl persona down pack. Max is an authentic teen character, impulsive and driven by her feelings most of the time. But these do-first-ask-questions-later responses stems from her experience from the previous books, which you may see once you read it.

Image of Author, James Patterson
Image of Author, James Patterson

The action kept me on the edge of my seat, but I wanted more. No, I wanted some scenes to be unpredictable, especially early on in the story. Patterson does deliver, however, toward the tail end of the novel. The scene before Max develops her gills was cinematic. Kudos to Patterson for describing such a horrific occurrence.

Overall: This novel was great. A few complaints here and there, but still an awesome novel to read. Next time I’ll do my research.

Reading: It makes a writer better

For the past few months, I haven’t been reading much. There’s no excuse. The lack of reading stems from various distractions like NetFlix, gaming, and other engagements that I’ve decided to focus on.

I have since taken a break from two titles I’ve been working on (I will post book covers for these once they’re made).

The book of choice this week is entitled Max, A Maximum Ride Novel authored by James Patterson. Unfortunately, I picked up Book 5 of a series. I should’ve done my research before I picked the book. Nonetheless, I will read it and review it here on Black Board.

Image of Author, James Patterson
Image of Author, James Patterson

So far, I enjoy Patterson’s style. As I read, I see the similarities to anime and manga, which are elements I enjoy in writing and film.

Can’t wait to read more.