In my first semester of college two years ago I took English 101 which is general English. Our teacher had us annotate many many articles and stories and we would discuss them in class. One article in particular still crosses my mind today. It was entitled “Marriage Is An Abduction” and it was written by Elif Batuman of the New Yorker (fyi, it may have spoilers). In it she infers that women are often pressured to get married more so than men. And when a woman does marry she pretty much loses her identity. In the article she quotes from the book Gone Girl, which at the time was really popular with the upcoming release of movie. She also compares Gone Girl with another book that was written in the early 2000s, We Need to Talk About Kevin. Batuman had really interesting points of view on the subject of marriage and therefore I knew I had to read these two books. I read Kevin a couple of months later and I just finished Gone Girl last night. So, with that being said I want to take some time to review both books.
We Need to Talk About Kevin is about an intelligent, succesfull, married woman named Eva whose husband thinks the ultimate answer to life is to have a baby. Although Eva doesn’t want children she has a baby anyway named Kevin. But Kevin is not like any other child. He is smart as well as manipulative, conniving and overall sociopathic which results in a tragic incident that changes Eva’s life for good.
This book is a total mind screwer! But they make the best stories, right? At first I couldn’t really get into it because there was a lot of vocabulary and philosophical circumstances that were used and I didn’t understand them. So that made the book a little slow. But as soon as Kevin came along it got really interesting. He wasn’t interested in playing like normal children, he was in diapers until he was five and even as he grew up to become a teenager he still chose to wear clothes from when he was a kid. And considering he didnt eat much food, he fit into those outfits almost perfectly. As stated before Eva didn’t want children so she was very indifferent and nonchalant during her pregnancy which begs the question: could her feelings towards her child turned him into a killer? Answer: not necessarily. Of course you can form your own opinion but for me just because your parents didn’t love you or cherish you in the way parents should doesn’t make you a killer. And looking at it from a biological standpoint, there’s no way to tell if a certain gene or chromosome or whatever could’ve affected Kevin. The author Lionel Shriver does a great job of giving us suspense without giving away a lot of mystery. I also liked the way she potrayed Kevin. A stubborn, demanding yet eerily quiet child who grew up to be a brilliant and mulnipulative teenager. Sociopath, anyone? The one person I was really mad at was Eva’s husband Franklin because he just couldn’t believe that his son was…”different”. Because of Kevin’s constant and fake admirations towards his father, Franklin just couldn’t see past it. I give the book a 5 out of 5. Go check out the movie too with Tilda Swinton and John C. Reilly.
Gone Girl, as most of you know, starts off with the disappearance of Amy Dunne. Of course everybody thinks that her husband Nick killed her and with the stony and calm way he is handling the situation you can’t blame them. But Nick swears he had nothing to do with his wife’s, now abduction and he must prove his innocence. But clues lead Nick to believe everything is not as it seems.
Just like Kevin, this book is full of mysteries, suspense and surprises you do not see coming. I already read the Wikipedia synopsis so I knew how the story ended but what I didn’t know was just how weird, tense and overall sick the Dunne’s relationship was. The biggest surprise of course was Amy’s character. This woman was, excuse my language, fucking crazy. Insane! Just like Kevin. She created a situation that almost destroyed her husband and had enough incriminating evidence to make him stay with her when the whole ordeal was over. Just like Shriver, Gillian Flynn did a great job of creating the perfect balance between mystery and suspense. Just when you thought the book couldn’t get any crazier, you are mistaken. It does start off a little slow, even when Amy goes missing. But it gets interesting towards the end of part 1. But as soon as part 2 comes along. Oh, boy! I also give this book a 5 out of 5. I haven’t watched the movie yet but it’s on my to-do list.
One a different note, here are 33 books you should read based on the movie. I know. It’s backwards. But enjoy!
Until next time!