Audible listener who's grateful for a long commute!
When I was in high school, I caught a late night showing of Mike Nichol’s 1966 film adaptation of Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” I knew nothing about the play or the film, but Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor were starring. They’d had a tempestuous, headline-grabbing relationship that I was dimly aware of. It was a warm summer evening and I had nothing better to do, so I settled in to watch.
It wasn’t long before I felt chilled and nearly sick. I remember quite clearly thinking, “What the hell am I watching?” as I watched George and Martha’s folie de deux.
Several hours into the Audible version of Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl”, I thought, “What the hell am I listening to?” I live in California, and, like that long ago evening with Burton and Taylor, it was a warm day – but I was cold, and my mouth tasted metallic, as if I’d bitten down on a bit of foil in a piece of Wrigley’s Spearmint Gum.
I knew something was wrong – terribly wrong – between Nick Dunne and his wife, Amy Elliott Dunne, but I didn’t know what.
Flynn doesn’t start to reveal what is wrong until halfway through the book. When she does, it’s like starting to eat a beautiful Golden Delicious apple, and discovering rot underneath - and then a squirming mass of maggots.
Flynn’s writing is compelling, detailed and evocative, and that makes the rotten core of the Dunne’s marriage incredibly shocking. Some of the language in the book is jarringly vulgar. The thoughts that language expressed were true to the character that said them, and one of the first indications that character did not think like other people.
This is the first audio book I’ve listened to where a split male/female narration not only worked, it enhanced the story. Kirby Heybonne was a smug, arrogant Nick Dunne. Julia Whelan was Amy Dunne, beginning with cloying (and unchanging) naïveté of Becca Battoe’s Anastasia Steele in E.L. James “Fifty Shades” series. Whelan’s narration changed with her character, and so did Heybonne’s.
This isn’t a book for those lucky, cheerful, hopeful optimists who live by Facebook posts on the power of love. It’s not a book for horror fans who safely relegate terror to demons summoned by a ‘Book of the Dead’, a la “Evil Dead” 2013. This book is for those who know that real people can be terrifying, and can do utterly horrible things. Those people are the people of Simon Baron-Cohen’s “The Science of Evil: On Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty,” 2011.
The Audible book is about 19 hours long, and it’s a compelling way to pass a long drive. Sleep isn’t possible when listening.
In case you are wondering, the title of the review is a line from "Gone Girl", quoting a line from a different source.
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I guess part of the appeal of the book is the "dark and twisted characters" but in spite of any novelty that might hold, I loathed them and struggled to finish the book.
Hasn't put me off the genre but certainly put me off the author.
Thought the performances were about right for what the author was trying to convey but since I didn't like that, the performances didn't count for much.
Started this book several times hoping I would "find out" what the buzz was all about. After I finished it - finally - I realized that the characters really were despicable people and that I had wasted my time.
A few must reads: Mr. Mercedes, Narrows Gate, Cop Town, Bomb Proof, Wayfaring Stranger, The Son (Nesbo), Dept Q series...
I should say that for the first section of listening I almost gave up. Things seemed inevitable and just plain depressing. But boy am I glad I stayed with it!
Both performances were great, but Julian Whelan was much more than that. I fell in love with her character and found her completely believable. This was a difficult, complex character to pull off.
Not since Presumed Innocent has a mystery novel been so intriguing.
Hmmm not sure this was a bit dark for my tastes.
No, I don't want to know anything more about either of those people.
I like stories about "real" people, but these two take it to an extreme - they are way to sick for me to want to know as much as I know about them. The first part was entertaining and intrieging, the second half I found quite depressing. On the good side - it was well crafted and narrated and kept me very interested until close to the end when I saw no hope in sight and then I felt cheated - why should I have cared about two suck sick individuals.
Probably nothing by the author. I'd give the narrators a shot. They did their work well.
I know that the world is full of horrible people. I know that this book reflects that. This is just not what I enjoy, vindictive, selfish characters that never seem to have any redeeming value.
The lady cop. I can't remember her name. She's the only one who seemed likable. Margo, Nick's sister was ok, but she was snarky and mean in her own way. She was loyal, though.
I know art demands a reaction. I guess if that is what the author wants, she got it. But to go for a bad reaction just for reaction's sake seems cheap to me. I just really disliked the book. It never got better, either. I kept expecting some sort of turn that would redeem ... something. I would recommend not reading this. Some people loved it. Not me.
Audiobooks have literally changed my life. I now actually ENJOY doing mindless chores because they give me plenty of listening time!
Most people have heard of this story by now, if only because it’s on all the bestseller lists and Reese Witherspoon is reportedly slated to produce and star in the upcoming movie. Yeah, it’s that kind of book, which I usually try to avoid like last week’s pizza crusts. But so many people I follow over at LibraryThing raved about it, added to the fact that there are not just one, but two unreliable narrators seemed like the perfect summer treat. The novel is about a young couple, Amy and Nick, whose marriage just *may* have a few problems. Amy is the only child of psychologist parents who can’t stop going on about what wonderful soul mates they are and who’ve made a fortune on a series of books featuring the “Amazing Amy” character, a girl so perfect that her real-life counterpart can't ever hope to live up to her image. Born and raised in New York City, the mecca of the publishing industry, Amy, who could have just sat back and lived on her trust fund, eventually found work being a writer of sorts for women's magazines. Nick on the other hand comes from a bookless home in small town Missouri, and against all odds made his way to the Big Apple, also to make a living as a magazine writer. When they first met, they were fascinated by one another, both for how just too clever they were, and the fact that they’re both gorgeous didn't hurt either. So they married and lived happily ever after. Not. After making their home in NYC for the first few years of their marriage, they both found themselves out of work when the magazine industry went bust thanks to the all the free content on the internet. Against Amy's true wishes, Nick convinced her to move back to his hometown, where he found perfect contentment running his own bar, whereas Amy felt like a fish out of water in a town where there are rules about what to do with tupperware. The intrigue kicks off on the day of their fifth wedding anniversary, when Nick comes home to an empty house which looks like the scene of a crime. Amy's gone without a trace, and as the police start investigating, they quickly come to suspect that Nick has murdered her. Of course, this might have something to do with the fact that plenty of evidence makes him look guilty as hell, not to mention like a complete asshole as well.
Two things about this novel. 1) I couldn't stop listening to this audio version perfectly narrated by two readers who alternate between Nick’s and Amy’s first person accounts, and finished it in two days. 1.5) I hated* this story because 2) I was scared out of my wits, but not for the reason you might expect; people like Nick and Amy really do exist in real life, only they don't necessarily resort to psychotic behaviour... or at least, not on that scale. I've got to hand it to Gillian Flynn for being an amazing storyteller. She builds up the various elements of this thriller in a way that has the reader constantly wondering what’s coming next and makes two truly despicable characters absolutely fascinating case studies of the state of matrimony in the 21st century. For those of us who aren't married, this novel is like a warning signal not to believe it when someone seems to be too good to be true, because they inevitably are; having worked in magazines and done the rounds of the dating scene in a big city, I can personally vouch for that. Readers who are lucky enough to be in sane and loving marriages probably finish the book feeling like they got incredibly lucky. And if you’re one of those, yes, you did, and now please shut up about it.
* hated it so much that I can't wait to listen to other works by Flynn now.
I'm trying to wean myself and learn to function without earbuds for more than ten minutes at a time. It hasn't been easy. I lose balance...
Ha. There are parts that were a little redundant but overall the performance and the storyline kept pace at a level beyond what i expected. Are we all just terrible when it comes to compromising in a marriage or is the secret in here... makes you wonder. Dark, fun and more than I expected it's a solid storyline with a nice little kick in the pants ending. In the end, you have to think about who it is that really was in the wrong despite murder, infidelity and blackmail... maybe it's just the recipe for making better people after all... i didn't expect to enjoy this as much as I did, the performance really brings the frustration and anger to life. Well played.
One likeable character would be a great start.
Going to avoid spoilers, in case you choose to listen to this book, but my general opinion is as follows. Many people talked about the "many twists and turns," there were a few but I didn't find any that surprising, maybe I just read too many psychological thrillers but everything was pretty well laid out by the half way point, surprises over. Plus, you should always have at least one decent person in the story, even if it's an antihero that you root for despite their shortcomings, not in this one. Also, it was lengthy for the story and got boring at times. I kept waiting for things to get better, for the twists making the time worth while, for people in the book to at least get what was coming to them, but it didn't happen. I was so excited about this book after enjoying, "Dark Places," so much, but I was truly disappointed and would recommend that you skip this one entirely.
They did a great job with the characters, reading each so well. You could have known who was speaking without being told.
No, it ended so badly that I follow up would be torturous.
If you would like a great book with great characters and fantastic twists try anything by Lisa Gardner. "Love You More," was excellent.
It was so slow. I kept listening thinking it would get better but never did.
Not likely. But I will listen to a little of it before I use a credit on another one.
None that I found!
The reviews were so great for this book, maybe it just wasn't my cup of tea. The story line was slow and it seemed to go on and on with nothing moving forward.
This was the best audiobook I've listened to in ages. The narration was perfect -- I really felt like the two characters were actually telling their stories (book is written in first person). The plot just kept getting better and more compelling. The author is a wonderful writer -- I'm surprised I haven't discovered her before. The plot, the writing, the narration, all of it added up to a delightful read. I cannot recommend this title highly enough.
By the way, this is the first time I've felt compelled to write a review.