#bookreviewfri – Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

This week @kitzdunphy reviews Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn:

Nick Dunne’s beautiful wife Amy disappears on their wedding anniversary and police immediately suspect Nick. A hidden diary comes to light revealing a less than loving husband but he denies it was him. Clues are revealed as a trail of anniversary presents leads Nick closer to the truth…

Gone Girl is more than just a thriller. As more of the two characters are revealed, we meet people who are not heroes, intriguing for their flaws and identifiable by their failures. As the novel takes us back through their relationship, we see the effects of modern life and the failed American dream take its toll on romance and idealised love.

It’s a tale of a toxic marriage told from two unreliable perspectives. As you move further into the story, every possibility and outcome of Amy’s disappearance is suggested but the ending is far more terrifying than anything you’d expect.

I am not a fan of thrillers but I was hooked on this book from the beginning. Gillian Flynn is an accomplished writer in both narrative and character making this an exciting and involving read. If you haven’t got your holiday fiction sorted, get this now.

Gone_Girl_(Flynn_novel)

Check out the rest of the reviews under the Friday Book Review tab.

Happy reading!

Writing Challenge: the Devil is in the Details

This week’s writing challenge is to focus on details:

No matter what you’re writing, whether it’s longform non-fiction essays, poems, short stories, novels, or memoirs, your powers of observation are critical to creating a scene in the reader’s mind, setting tone, and evoking the mood that helps to tell the story.

Your challenge this week is to practice your powers of observation. Take any person, place, or event, and write three paragraphs describing your subject in great detail:

A boy plays in his front yard. You have three paragraphs to help us imagine this boy. What country are we in? Which details help communicate this? Is there an elm tree or an olive tree in his yard? Maybe there is no tree at all. How old is this boy? What color is his hair? What is he wearing? You get the idea.

James sat cross-legged on the grass and took out his iPhone. No text. He angrily stuffed it back into his jean pocket. What has he supposed to do? Text her? No. She can text him. He went back to his football and continued to kick it against the side of his house. He’d already been out for the past half hour. The heat of the sun was making him feel slightly faint but he was agitated. Bloody, bloody Laura.  He could feel the sweat trickling down his back, his blond hair sticking to his face. He felt a mess, but he didn’t care.

The blood coursed through his veins. Actually, it was more than coursing. It was pounding through, like an angry river determined to destroy everything in its path. He glanced down at his arms. The scars were starting to heal. The shame washed over him. He didn’t know why he did it – the pressure of the exams, Laura, his best friend – or rather – his ex-best friend. His only friend. At 6’4, he stood out like a sore thumb. He hated that. He wanted to feel… normal.  He didn’t want to feel awkward at gatherings. Words usually failed him. He would stand there feeling like a lemon – the girls looked at him with pity him and the boys, well, the boys at school are arseholes.

He kicked the football harder and harder and harder. Bang, bang, bang it went against the brick wall. His black Green Day t-shirt stuck to his back. Maybe he should change out of his jeans. They too were sticking to him and they felt heavy in the sun. ‘Fuck it,’ he thought, picked up his ball and walked to his back garden. Standing on the patio, he took off his black Etnie trainers, his black socks and dark blue jeans and started to run with the ball, barefoot in his Superman pants, onto the cool grass. ‘Man of Steel’ was written on the elastic. He was a man of steel. Nothing could knock him down. Not even bloody Laura. He thought about taking off his t-shirt. He kept it on. He didn’t want the neighbours to think he was completely crazy. Besides, he could deal with sunburn on his pale legs – he could slap aftersun on it. Sunburn on his back? He didn’t fancy a painful night’s sleep.

He heard the sound of a text message from his jeans.

HTC phone

Waiting for *that* text message sucks

Writing Challenge: Starting Over

I have emails from WordPress to prompt bloggers like myself to write posts when all inspiration has dried up. This one caught my eye:

For some of us, blogging is personal. Others are trying to educate or entertain; many more are hybrids. Yet we’re all storytellers. Creative Writing Challenges help you to push your writing boundaries, show off your blogging chops, and, hopefully, spark more post ideas.

In this week’s writing challenge, we’re asking you to write a short piece of creative writing (fiction/poetry/prose poetry/freeform mindjazz/whatever floats your boat) on the theme of Starting Over.

This is what I came up with:

I stared down at the frame that I was clutching in my hand. Inside was a picture of two laughing  faces. I remember that picture being taken very clearly. Anton and I had gone to the park to take some photos. As there was no one around, we had put the camera on a timer. At the precise moment the picture was taken, two dogs appeared out of nowhere. The smaller of the two (I think it was a dachshund) decided to hump the hind legs of a golden labrador who didn’t look too impressed but had let it get on with it.

The owner waved at us before bellowing: ‘For god’s sake Trevor. Would you pack it in? Come here, you dirty, dirty mutt!’

Trevor ran over, with the golden lab bounding after.

I put the picture in my special ‘Anton’ box and looked around the lounge. It was weird. It was so empty. The TV was still there as were our settees, but our pictures, our wall hangings and furnishings had been taken away – boxed or sold. This house was someone else’s. Life as I knew it was dead. The happy times, filled with laughter were just hazy, distant, painful memories that I kept locked away in a vault inside my head.

I felt a sob rise up through me. I pushed it down. Today was not the day for tears. Today was a day for starting over. I have a new life waiting for me, just beyond my… the… front door.

I wandered from room to room, checking to make sure that I hadn’t forgotten anything. Anton had moved out a few days before. I watched him go from our bedroom window. He left without so much of a backwards glance. There wasn’t a fight or an almighty row. He simply told me one day that he didn’t love me anymore, and that was that. My relationship of five years, packed into a few boxes.

The almighty row came a few days later when I discovered a hotel receipt for one room, two names. Of course it was his secretary. It was a bloody, cheesy nightmare which goes like this: Husband works nights, wife suspects, unanswered calls, random ‘work’ trips away, the gifts, the smiles, the reluctant sex, the unreluctant sex, the insanity of the wife, the rows, the tears, the apologies, and finally, the proof.

Deep down I knew. I just didn’t want to face up to reality, but here I am. Today is a new day to start over.

I just need to walk out that door.