I hesistated to read this book because I didn’t want to feel sad. This is a book about teenagers with cancer, so I’m thinking, great, young kids with no hope, I don’t want to read this. But everyone was going on and on about it, so I decided to start it with the option to stop if it got too much. I finished it in two days. The book is about teenagers with cancer, terminal cancer, so, yes, the subject matter is sad. But the book is not depressing. If anything, I found it inspiring. The kid’s accept their fate with wisdom beyond their years and also frustration at how unfair life is. The two main teenagers form a special bond and embark on a make-a-wish-like-trip that challenges their perspective and beliefs.
After I read Gone Girl, I had to read the rest of Gillian Flynn’s books. I started with Sharp Objects, and I finished it in about three days. It was that good. In my opinion, a smidge better than Gone Girl. Sharp Objects follows Camille Parker, a troubled, recovering psych patient/reporter at a second rate paper, as she travels back to her hometown to cover a story about the murders of two preteen girls. This story is c-r-e-e-p-y. So very creepy. Totally capivating. One of those where you gasp every couple pages. I am not one for horror – and this isn’t horror- but it definitely gave me goosebumps. While I can’t relate to Camille, I felt for her, worried for her, and desperately wanted her to be okay. This was my favorite out of all the books I read this month.
After reading Sharp Objects, I moved onto Dark Places. I wanted to like it as much as Sharp Objects and Gone Girl, but, to me, this book is definitely in third place. It was a good read and full of Gillian Flynn’s signature twist and turns and I-didn’t-see-that-coming. But I didn’t feel as into the characters. And at one point I forgot what the mystery was. What is the mystery? This book follows Libby Day, the only survivor in her family’s mass murder, besides the brother, Ben, believed to have killed the entire family. The book picks up with grown up Libby, broke, down and out and in need of cash. She decides to investigate her family’s murder in exchange for payment from a group desperate to exonerate her brother as the murderer. The book flips between current day and the past and alternates with chapters from Libby’s perspective, Ben’s perspective, and Libby’s mother’s perspective. Usually, I like books like this. But towards the middle, it lagged to the point where the book failed to hold me in suspense. It picked up at the end and definitely made me gasp in shock. But it wasn’t my favorite.
I didn’t know anything about Cheryl Strayed when I read this book. Again, I’d heard good things and decided to give it a try. I worried it would be a little to documentary like as the book chronicled Cheryl’s trek along the Pacific Crest Trail. But while this book contains nuggets of information about the terrain and the trail, this book is all about Cheryl’s journey from lost to found after the death of mother. While this book has all the trappings of being trite with it’s odyssey-like tones, this book is far from cliched. Cheryl beautifully layers her tortured past with her current tortuous conditions on the trail, connecting her past to her present in such a lovely way. While the book follows her along the trail, it is as much about how Cheryl processes the death of her mother and her troubled past as it is about her epic journey. I loved this book because Cheryl could easily complain and moan and act like a martyr. But she never does. This book is honest and compelling without being the least bit too much.
For more of the books I’m reading, check me out on GoodReads. What books are you reading? What should I add to my “to read” list?