Monthly Archives: October 2012

Dear Life: Stories by Alice Munro – A Review


A wonderful collection of short stories. Poignant tales of love, loss, change. The stories are unsettling, messy, like life. The characters are not perfect but very human in all their flaws, their dreams, their realities.
It was not an easy read. The stories themselves are well written but the characters are complex and messy and left me many times searching for answers that simply are not there. It is like life.

The piece de resistance is the last section of this book called “FINALE”. Munro’s introduction to this section:

“The final four works in this book are not quite stories. They form a separate unit, one that is autobiographical in feeling, though not, sometimes, entirely so in fact. I believe they are the first and last – and the closest – things I have to say about my own life.” 

It is in this section you get a glimpse into Munro’s upbringing, the roots of her personality. The very last piece of work entitled “Dear Life” brings together the whole book nicely and reveals the true underlying theme – forgiveness – of one’s deeds, one’s life, one’s memories.

I received this book as an Advance Reading Copy from the publisher, Alfred A. Knopf,  through Goodreads.  I was elated when I was notified that I had won but even more satisfied now that I have finished reading this gem.

I can’t help but wonder, if because of Munro’s age, she has penned this work with the idea that it may be her last; it is definitely her most revealing.

Categories: Book Review, Canadian, Fiction, Short Stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn: A Review

What a fantastic read!

I finished reading this book and thought such a wrong, wrong, story! It had me hooked from about half way through. I gave it 4 stars because of all the twists and how so nasty it was.  I love any book with a good twist!

Nick was pretty sympathetic at the beginning, but not for long. He came across as the super likeable, boy next door type of guy. However, there was some nuance that led you to think it wasn’t all just a fairy tale, and he was just a little too innocent in his own mind. Can’t put my finger on it, but I knew there was something. He had his share of crazy, too.

Amy takes the cake, she’s truly deceitful – her level of revenge is something fierce. I ended up sort of hating them both, but yet being intrigued by the lengths they would go to.

In the first half of the book Nick is an ASSHOLE and a very typical ‘victim’ of supposedly being neglected by a wonderful wife. I think it’s interesting how relationships can change so much in a matter of a few years. I related to a lot of what Amy was feeling in her diary entries – not to that same extent, but the alienation and neglect. It’s a horrible place to find yourself. Their marriage was fake, but I think many are, to be honest. I think very few marriages are the same out in public than they are behind closed doors. Not saying that’s bad – it’s just reality.

The cops reminded me of those in the movie “Fargo” and Go reminded of Dexter’s sister – crude, vulgar, but definitely herself.  I loved Go. Not quite sure what it is about her, but the relationship between Nick and his sister is very special, and I found myself laughing at their interactions.

Back to Nick and Amy.  On their fifth anniversary, Nick wonders, “What have we done to each other? What will we do?”

However…things are not what they ever seem to be.

Amy is not dealing with reality, and her lies (in her mind) are necessary.  I started out feeling like Amy was truly trapped, and that life had not been good to her – seriously messed up parents who wanted her to be a character in a book, money struggles, having to move to the middle of nowhere… Then BAM…how the author twists it COMPLETELY around? Genius! Amy’s life has always revolved around her, and she just didn’t have the skillset to see beyond.  She most likely feels that this (you need to read the book to find out what “this” is) is what she has to do.  Nick?  He’s just a cheater.

Talk about toxic, psychotic, unhealthy marriage … This book moved at a very good pace and constantly kept me wondering what was going to happen next. Both characters were self-absorbed, attention freaks who seemed to be a victim of the other. Nick rarely took any responsibility for his cheating (and of course, as most cheaters do, blamed his wife’s lack of attention to him) and Amy was just a victim in most of her relationships, thinking everyone needed to WORK just to be worthy of her.

The ironic thing is, at the end, you notice how both of them are sickly addicted to each other and probably never would be happy with anyone else other than each other.

I love the last line Nick says to Amy! Somehow I don’t think she got the last word in… Mind games!

There are more twists than a knotted rubber band in this plot.  The ending left me feeling confused with Nick’s choices and the games people play.  Halfway through I could not put it down anymore. When I finished the last page I did not like the ending but after a while I somehow made my peace with it that it actually does fit perfectly in the book.

As a lot of people have seemed to mention the end of the book and not liking the ending or being confused by it, I thought I would post this link here… .  It’s the author, Gillian Flynn, explaining why she ended the book the way she did.  It now makes sense.

I can safely say I’ve never read anything quite so twisted as this psycho thriller.  This is a brilliantly-crafted book. Certain parts annoyed me, like the ending with Desi and the ending with Nick, but just because the plot annoyed doesn’t mean it wasn’t excellent. This plot got to me, just like Amy got to Nick. This book evoked such a response from me, that it must be good art.

Gillian Flynn really gets into her characters’ heads and creates a deeply psychologically story that sometimes doesn’t sit well, on purpose.

Categories: Book Review, Fiction, Mystery, Thriller | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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