Saturday, 22 June 2013

BOOKS: Gone Girl is Awesome and Dan Brown is a Sellout

GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn is friggin awesome! Proof? I have not yet slept since starting the book yesterday afternoon. I've finally finished its 466 pages after a marathon reading and I am stunned. Absolutely amazing. Gillian Flynn, I shall buy your other books as soon as I finish my remaining stash!

The premise: a wife disappears, the husband becomes the primary suspect. Shades of a John Grisham/Scott Turow/David Baldacci plot, right? That was exactly what I told myself. I grew up reading courtroom novels and legal thrillers every single day, thanks to a parent who loves them, so really, even while I was buying this from Amazon, I was skeptical. What effing twist can there be in this oft-used plot?

Well, well, well! Can I just say that this book is such a surprise! In a fabulous Ahhh! So that's why people are talking about this book! I get it! I totally love it too! way.

It is hard to tell why this book is a must read without giving some of the plot away, but let me say these:

This book is a thriller, but it is not written like one. If you read Grisham and Turow, know that most often, the viewpoint taken is that of the lawyer. But here it is both the victim and the perpetrator who narrate the story. The husband, the wife. Which one is which? That's the twist!

Do you love Milan Kundera? The great Czech writer who so eloquently portrays relationship issues in his novels? Well, I used to love him. Or at least tried hard to love his books, because, first he is a great writer, second, because I used to be a reading snob, like, No trashy novels for me thank you very much! and bought only "good" books from "good" authors with my limited funds. But then I grew up, shed my crazy illusions of becoming a literary snob and got a life. But anyway, the point is, as much as I loved reading Milan Kundera, I also found it difficult to read his books, what with all the subplots of emotions, and philosophical references. Reading Kundera was taxing to my limited brain power and I reserved reading his (expensive!) books when I had the disposition to be patient and existentialist.

Apropos, Gone Girl is what Kundera might have written if he took a happy pill and fashioned a thriller. This book is simply awesome, intelligent, and unputdownable. And one more thing, shoot me if you want, but this book should be made into a film! All the elements are there --- thriller, romance, double cross, and a close study in human relationships. Please, please, option this book into a movie!

INFERNO by Dan Brown
Perhaps it helped that I read Gone Girl a week after I reached the conclusion of Dan Brown's hellish book. I say hellish not as a compliment. This was what I felt while reading it: Damn it, when will I ever finish this lousy book!
First let's clear up some things. I am from the Philippines, born and bred. I lived and studied in the "gates of hell" for most of my first twenty years (that's Manila for those poor uninitiated souls). So I was curious what was so wrong with Dan Brown's depiction of Manila that have earned him the ire of the MMDA (Metro Manila Development Authority) chairman.

This is what I have to say: Seriously, dear MMDA chairman? You took time to raise a ruckus for what? Two short, descriptive paragraphs of Manila's seedier parts? WTF?! We don't have slums in Manila? We don't have tambays who take drugs? Rape doesn't happen in the slums? Eh if you buy tabloids nga, yan ang laging balita? I say, thank Dan Brown because the fact is, he still showed a slim yet redemptive angle in his description of Manila. Seriously, someone should tell him to eff off, stop being sensitive and focus on his job. Dear honorable chairman, go do your job and stop picking on authors for describing something that's true in Manila (and in other parts of the world).

So really, if anything, that was the best part of the Infernal reading experience for me. If you've read any Dan Brown novel, you know how this will end. One of Robert Langdon's enemies will help him, and one of his supposed "accomplice" is actually the antagonist. The only difference is, in this book, the antagonist had a change of heart, and she and Dan Brown sails off towards the sunset with hope for the future. Really?! I paid 10€ for a hardcover version of this crap?

I now realize that truly, Dan Brown is such a sellout. I should have stopped with his equally-crappy Lost Symbol. But I am a loyal reader who gives her authors chances, so here was the fourth chance (because the Digital Fortress and Deception Points were also subpar for me), and now I give up, no more chances.

But all is not lost in my reading list, thanks to Lost Girl and Gillian Flynn. If you find this book, grab it, no hesitations.

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