I’m going to go a little out of order, because I’d like to end on a high note.
The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe – In the midst of his mother’s terminal diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, Will Schwalbe, a writer and publisher, spoke with his mother about what he always spoke to her about, books. They started a book club of two. Mary Anne Schwalbe didn’t just read. She suggested books, she kept up with her charity work, she kept up with her children and grandchildren. She led a fulfilling life and career, and never stopped going even while being treated for cancer. It’s not all rainbows. Schwalbe is candid about his mother’s discomfort during her treatment, but it was delicate. I love reading about books and book discussion (obviously). But I also appreciated the thoughtfulness in Schwalbe’s memorial to his mother, and the conditions of grieving and facing your life. I thought he tied the books well into the story, and I now have a few books to add to my reading list. 5/5
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – After hearing all the hype, I knew I had to give this one a try. Nick wakes up to his wife, Amy, making crepes for their fifth anniversary breakfast. After getting to work, he gets a call from a neighbor and rushes home to find Amy gone. Gone. But Nick doesn’t seem to leap to action or emotion. And when it becomes a question of foul play, there Nick sits with all fingers pointing to him. Interspersed with Nick’s account of current events and their rocky marriage, are Amy’s journal entries chronicling their relationship. Then comes the twist, and it’s CUH-RAZY. But I will say, that twist takes over one hundred pages to set up, and it’s really hard to like either Nick or Amy leading to it. And I won’t say that Nick or Amy become more redeemable after the twist. I can see how the book was exciting to people, but I was frustrated by it, and more than upset. The twists and story were cool, but it’s hard to get over characters you don’t like. And I’m not a huge fan of the end. 3.5/5
The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes – Because I devoured Me Before You, I put my name in immediately to get my hand on Moyes’ recent release. In a little village in Northern France during The Great War, Sophie Lefevre manages her family’s inn and restaurant. Although, restaurant is a loose term since the war. Sophie’s husband, Edouard, an artist, is fighting in the war, but to show her pride, she hangs her portrait in the inn. The Herr Kommandant is quite taken with the painting and quickly decides to keep an eye on Sophie and her family. Sophie can’t tell if this is a good or bad thing. Sophie’s portrait now hang’s in Liv’s house that her late husband designed and built. It remains her favorite part of the house, even years after he is gone, something she won’t let go of. Her debt is amassing, she has little work, and she doesn’t even like her house much. Liv meets Paul, and sparks start flying, but things get complicated when his work may take away the only thing Liv prizes most in the world: Sophie. In a desperate race to find out what happened to Sophie, Liv uncovers the rest of Sophie’s story. I loved this book! I sped right through it and didn’t want it to stop, even when I sat weeping at the very end. I think Moyes is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. 5/5
What did you think of Gone Girl? I know you read it.