Tag Archives: Gillian Flynn

Best Of – International Women’s Day 2015

In addition to Sarah Marcus’ Girls to the Front which I posted here on Thursday, there are a number of other fantastic books I read this year written by great women. In the spirit of International Women’s Day, I wanted to share my favourite female-penned books that I reviewed on the blog this year.

Margaret Atwood – Alias Grace (1996)

AliasGraceLooking at the notorious 1843 murder of Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper Nancy Montgomery, Atwood imagines the events surrounding the crime by focusing in on the culprit, Grace Marks. She twists the story and even though Grace is the protagonist, the reader never gets full image of who she is. Through her writing, Atwood seeks to give Grace a voice and a point of view and does so in such an interesting way.

Jung Chang – While Swans (1991)        

wild_swans

It’s the true story of three generations of Chinese women living in China from the fall of Imperial rule to the death of Mao Ze Dong. The story is beautifully written with elements of both humour and tragedy as Chang recounts her own life growing up with Communist rule in China. It’s about China, but also about mothers and daughters and the enduring bonds that women share.

Gillian Flynn – Gone Girl (2012)

GoneGirlFlynn’s phycological thriller got people talking this year, especially with the release of the movie just this past fall. Flynn is a good writer, not great, but she does have this understanding of the “cool girl” syndrome, something I think all women and girls are familiar with. That men always want the “cool girl,” the effortlessly hot woman who doesn’t care if he all he does is drink beer and hang out with his friends. That ideal however doesn’t exist, and sometimes, that “cool girl” can end up being a psychopath. It’s a good book that will play with your head and test your assumptions about gender and relationships.

Caitlin Moran – How to be a Woman (2011)

Caitlin MoranIt’s hard to love Caitlin Moran, she tells it like it is and makes no apologies. She writes openly and honestly about her abortion, something that I don’t think many women would do. She is smart, funny, and quick in her writing providing readers with sound advice and hilarious anecdotes about what it means to be a woman.

Azar Nafisi – Reading Lolita in Tehran (2003)

ReadingLolitainTehranIn this literary memoir, Azar Nafisi writes about her experience, as a teacher of classical English literature living in Post-Revolutionary Iran. She and a select few of her student start a “forbidden” book club which moves from being place for scholarly discussion, to one where these young women can share their deepest hopes, dreams, and fears about the future. It’s about books bringing women together at a time and place when circumstance is threatening to tare them apart. It’s a poignant and charming read about the lasting bonds of female friendship.

So there you have it, what are some of your favourite books about what it means to be a woman?

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Gillian Flynn – Gone Girl (2012)

GoneGirl

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Here’s a review of Gone Girl (the book). I have yet to see the movie but I hear that there are some striking differences. For one the idea that Amy tries to present herself as “the cool girl” is more apparent in the book than in the movie. I was disappointed to hear this as I thought that Amy’s rant about “cool girls” was one of the most genuine things I had read. Still I’m looking forward to seeing the movie and how certain other aspects are translated to film.

I was originally weary of reading this as I had mixed reviews from various friends. Overall however, I liked it. Gone Girl, is one of those books that you have a hard time putting down, wanting to finish it and to know what happens, but not one where you spend a great deal of time thinking about it once you have finished it. The plot and the story were incredibly creative and intriguing, and Gillian Flynn manages to mess with your mind and change the way you view characters in a way that only George R.R Martin seems to have mastered so far.

The ending is slightly anticlimactic as (SPOILER ALERT) Amy never gets her come-uppance, and Nick has to give in trying to fight her. While sometimes life is like that, and revenge is not always sweet, in a fast paced murder mystery novel, it should be. I liked the book and would recommend it to my friends, but I don’t know if I would reread it myself. Knowing how it ends, and that Amy gets off scot-free does not make me want to read it again.

There’s been a lot of great debate on the internet regarding the complicated gender roles in Gone Girl and whether or not this book/movie is an excuse for men to claim “women are crazy.” Does Amy’s manipulation make Nick the good guy? The debate going on surrounding this book/movie echoes the debate that raged when Fatal Attraction came out. Susan Faludi in Backlash spends an entire chapter dedicated to the gender roles in that movie and a lot of what she says could be applied to Gone Girl today. Nick is not a blameless character and Amy’s farce should not turn him into a hero. That being said, Amy is also clearly not a protagonist, so who do you root for? It is an interesting debate and one that is unlikely to be resolved any time soon. So what was your take on the book or the movie? Is Amy a symbol of female empowerment? Or just an example for men to point at and claim victim status?

Rating: 4/5