Book Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl CoverWow.

I am at a loss for words other than “Wow.” Not only is this an amazing thriller that you cannot put down because you are so anxious to see what happens next, the writing in this book is exceptional.

The way this book is written makes you feel like you are inside the minds of the characters as well as following their lives in the real world at the same time. It is truly brilliant!

One of my favorite lines from the book that I think reveals Flynn’s true brilliance as a writer is:

“I felt a queasy mixture of relief and horror: when you finally stop an itch and realize it’s because you’ve ripped a hole in your skin.”

The vivid explanation of this feeling, and from personal experience from doing so, it was as if I was feeling the exact queasiness at the same time the character was.

As many probably already know, the plot of this book is wicked and enthralling. Holy plot twists!

The only regret I have about reading this book is that I read it after I watched the movie. I usually feel the opposite about books that have been turned into movies, I prefer watching the movie first and then reading the book. But, for Gone Girl, I really wish I could have felt the full surprise at each plot twist.

How do others feel about books that have been turned into movies? Do you prefer reading or watching first?

Book Review: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Little Fires Everywhere Book CoverLittle Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

This is one of those “can’t-put-it-down” type of books. Whether it be a huge question answered or dramatic, life-altering events for the characters, Ng does an amazing job at keeping the reader engaged and wanting more. The book is filled with the right amount of mystery and suspense.

This book reveals the importance of privacy and the issues that can arise when people from different socioeconomic backgrounds intermingle. All of this is explored through the delicate, complicated journey of motherhood.

At first, I thought this book may not appeal to me since I am not a mother myself. But, this was not a condition that affected my thorough enjoyment while reading this book.

My only critique would be that it ends with so many question marks. I realize sometimes authors do this on purpose, but that is not my style. My own imagination just can’t come up with one, solid ending that’s satisfying to me. I just really need to be told the answers and what happens in the end!

How do others feel about books that end with so many unanswered questions?

Book Review: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist Book CoverThe Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

This book is a quick read that is filled to the brim with wisdom, insights and life lessons. It’s not dry or boring and doesn’t just tell you how to feel purposeful in this crazy, confusing world. But, through a great adventure and a story that is very well written, the reader walks away feeling enlightened with a peace of mind that your “personal legend” can be found and fulfilled at any age even when you are face to face with the worst of times.  

What’s a personal legend? You’ll just have to read the book to find out!

Here are some of my favorite quotes from this book:

“He was learning a lot of new things. Some of them were things that he had already experienced, and weren’t really new, but that he had never perceived before.”

“People need not fear the unknown if they are capable of achieving what they want and need.”

“There is only thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

Book Review: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird CoverMy Opinion of the Book

The first book I finished this year was a classic: To Kill A Mockingbird. Now, I am going to admit something I don’t want to admit. When this book was assigned in high school, I didn’t read the whole thing. Actually, I didn’t read the majority of it. I watched the movie instead. *Cringes at 16-year-old self*

So, I “reread” the book six years later and felt full regret for not reading it the first time. I loved this book!

I loved this book because of how it reveals the darkest parts of society through the point of view of an innocent, naïve child. I think Lee is brilliant for using this perspective to unveil how nasty and compassionate mankind can be all at the same time. Scout’s journey through Atticus’ trial goes to show that the people around us heavily influence how we see and treat others, but, at the same time, we are completely capable as individuals, sometimes as young as six years old, to decide for ourselves how we will see and treat others.

I feel like if I had read the (whole) book in high school, I would not have appreciated it as much as I do now. Now that I am older and have seen more of the world, this book has so much more meaning to me. In general, I think high school students really couldn’t grasp how important this book really is.

Why This Book is Still Relevant Today

Over the years this book has been banned, unbanned and banned again from school curricula. The StarTribune recently wrote an article on Duluth schools no longer assigning To Kill a Mockingbird (as well as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn) as mandatory reading but will still have the books available to students to read as they wish.

The StarTribune article explains that the argument that ultimately swayed this decision to be made was that adolescents are already exposed to racial slurs and indecencies in the real world. So, why would we expose them to it in their education? To continue, a school environment should be a safe place for all students, and requiring students to read this book in a classroom setting could make students of color feel uncomfortable or unequal.

I do not stand strongly on one side of this very heated, continued debate, and I am not a person of color and cannot agree or disagree if this argument is true. If it is true, then I agree with the decision to ban the book.

However, I fear that if I had not been assigned this book in high school, I may have not picked it up again years later. I don’t think I can articulate just how very important I think this book is because it explores an issue that started hundreds of years ago that still rings true today. The issue may even be getting worse!

I would hate to see less people, especially young adults, reading this book over the years because it was banned from school cirriculum.

So, to that point, I ask: why not use this book in the education system for leverage and as a tool to teach students at a young age to open their eyes and their hearts, to influence them to see and treat each other as equals, and to allow them to choose as individuals how they will fall into this nasty and compassionate mess we call mankind?