I have a crush on Gillian Flynn.
There, I said it. Not personally, of course; I’m married. But she’s a heck of an author.
Granted, I’ve only read 1 ¾ of her books, but I can’t get enough of this woman. Has anyone else had this experience?
I read Gone Girl, because I’m a student of pop culture, and I didn’t want to be the only one at the table unable to discuss this pretty awesome read. Alright, read is a stretch. Did I mention I’m a father of three kids to raise with a couple of jobs to hold down and two dogs to walk and a wife to keep happy and bills to pay and house to maintain? I don’t get to READ as much as I used to. Thankfully, I discovered Audible.com, and download audio copies of books to my iPhone. I get to listen on the hour-long drive to work on the weekends, and while I’m walking the dogs at night, or even while I’m cleaning out the cellar. This isn’t meant to be an ad for Audible, but I happily hand over my cash each month.
Back to Gillian Flynn. Gone Girl, as the name suggests, is about a girl who turns up gone. Nick, her husband, is the likely suspect. We spend a good portion of the book from Nick’s point of view, which gets progressively further from “the incident,” and another healthy chunk of the book seeing things through Amy’s eyes, which we’re able to do from her journal that Nick finds. This starts a year or so BEFORE the incident, and keeps getting closer. I love it. This way, chapter 12 fills in some of the details you’ve been wondering about since chapter 2.
My favorite author, Uncle Stevie King, does a bang up job of using flashback and reminiscing to tell his stories. Not everybody likes King’s meandering storytelling approach, but I’ve been a fan since I started reading adult literature. Flynn does this too, just in a slightly different way.
In Dark Places, Flynn’s second novel (Gone Girl was her third), she’s telling the story of the Day family massacre. This time, we’re revisiting the case through the eyes of the sole surviving daughter Libby in present time, 25 years after the murders. We’re bouncing back and forth between this reality and her mother’s and brother’s points of view from just before that fateful day. Again, she’s using this back and forth technique that has me riveted. It’s a 10 hour listen (again on Audible), and I’ve got 2 ½ hours to go, so I don’t yet know the truth. I literally am thinking about taking a long drive to Waterville and back just as an excuse to get to find out what happened that night.
Somehow, I’ve discovered her books backwards (something I don’t usually like to do), but I don’t often read two books by the same author and still crave a third. Chevy Stevens’ Still Missing was excellent, but Never Knowing kept me from seeing what else she’d written. I know that the Millennium Trilogy (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series), as well as the 50 Shades of Grey, Hunger Games, and even Divergent series were meant to be delivered in three servings, but I got bored after the second book in all three cases. I don’t think the third edition in any of those sets was worth its cover price. I further understand that Ms. (Mrs.?) Flynn’s books aren’t part of a wider arcing storyline, but her style is infectious, and I love her voice. Not only that, but by listening to these presentations from Audible, I get to actually hear the characters’ voices, as they’re presented in multi-reader format.
So, I guess I bring it up because if you haven’t read Gillian Flynn, do so. She began with Sharp Objects in 2006, moved on to Dark Places in 2009, and finally made her breakout into big fame with Gone Girl in 2012. Both Gone Girl and Dark Places are being made into films, and I think both are premiering this year.
Has anyone out there read Sharp Objects? Does it follow the back/forth style of her later books? Do you recommend it? Dark Places might not be “quite” as tight as Gone Girl, but I’m certainly enjoying myself.