Recently, there was a drama on Channel 4 starring David Tennant called Deadwater. I was really excited about it because, you know, David Tennant but I only ended up watching the first episode. It just didn’t grip me but that’s okay. The reason that I bring it up is that I read a review about it that revealed a big plot twist. The review talked about how great and unexpected it was. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. The twist was so obvious that you could tell from the trailer. It’s infuriating. Am I seeing something different from other people? Or are they just unwilling to see what’s right in front of their face? Maybe I’m just too cynical to take anything at face value? I don’t know but what I do know is that psychological thrillers never surprise me these days. Just look back at all my book reviews for this genre and you’ll see the phrase “painfully obvious” crop up plenty of times. I just don’t think anyone has any original ideas anymore. All psychological thrillers try and do is be darker and sexier than the last one. And, though I’m happy for those things to exist in a book, they shouldn’t be the only reason for a novel’s existence. There is no substance in novels like that. It’s just a writer trying to shock but not being good enough to hide their intentions. It makes me angry to see so many shit books being published and then praised by so many people. Of course, I also never learn and continually get drawn into them. Most recently with this one.
I don’t really remember buying this audiobook on Audible but I think it was one of the Daily Deals that sounded good. Or at least sounded like something that would be interesting. And I admit that it makes me something of a hypocrite. How many times have I declared that I’m finished giving psychological thrillers another chance? Possibly thousands. Yet, I continually get sucked in by them. I’m a mug who always ends up annoyed that she’s just finished another stupid book. So, I went into this never expecting it to be good but to be something that would be an easy listen. To be fair, it was a pretty easy read. I didn’t do a great deal of reading last weekend so I wasn’t sure that I’d finish this in time. But I managed it. I regretted it horribly but I managed it.
After finishing two audiobooks last weekend, I decided to keep the good times rolling and listen to another one during the week. As I mentioned in my Sunday Rundown yesterday, I still haven’t been able to pick up a physical book so I decided to keep going with audiobooks. I’m hoping that it will stop me falling ina to a slump. The book I chose was something I bought ages ago on Audible. I imagine it was a deal of the day because it really isn’t my usual kind of book. I was intending to listen to it before I went to bed, on my commute, and on my lunch break at work. In the end, I listened to it for most of Tuesday as I got on with my jobs. I work in an office with 4 other people and it’s super quiet. Most of the time, we’re all just plugged into our music and getting on with stuff. I know it sounds really unsocial but it means we all just get on with things. There is still enough chat but it means we just do our individual thing. It also means that, on days when I don’t have as much writing to do, that I can listen to an audiobook. It’s quite effective.
I picked up this book because it claimed to be perfect for fans of Black Mirror. Now, being a fan of all things Charlie Brooker, I decided to give it a go. I mean, it calls itself a “taut psychological thriller about obsession, fame and betrayal”. How can you ignore claims like that? When I picked it up, I hadn’t realised that it was a YA book. I’d not read anything from Tom Pollock and I never really look into the books that sound interesting to me. So, I started reading what I thought was an adult book and I hated it. I thought it was super shit. Then I realised who this book was intended for and I realised I had to look at it differently. Turns out, once I lowered my expectations, I found it much easier to read this book and I got through it super quickly.
I genuinely think it’s impossible to hate Blake Lively or Anna Kendrick. Thanks to their sensational personalities and fun social media accounts, the pair are the kind of women that you really want to be friends with. The effortlessly cool and funny people who you wish you were more like. Or, at least, I do. So, when I first saw the trailer for A Simple Favor I was intrigued. The two together seemed like a winning combination and director, Paul Feig, has the ability to come out with some fabulous stuff. He’s surprised me in the past with his films. I was absolutely sure that I would hate Bridesmaids, The Heat, and Spy but each time I ended up filled with joy. He quickly became one of my favourite film makers which is why I was able to forgive him the dodgy Ghostbusters reboot. Do I have a long list to send him about things he should have done differently? Yes. But did I still enjoy it? Yes. So, this trio seemed like the kind of thing I would definitely love even if it did seem to be going a bit too far down the Gone Girl or Girl on a Train route. Surely if anyone could make me love a femme fatale focused psychological thriller then it would be Paul Feig, right?
I don’t tend to pick my reads based on anything other than random choice. As I’ve discussed before, I’m not the kind of person who sticks to my TBR at all. I also don’t really tend to pick seasonal reads either. Well, I guess aside from reading Christmas/Winter related novels in November and December but that’s just common sense. Still, there is something about Summer time that just gets me wanting to read some trash. And I’m talking full on trash. Like the worst of the worst. There’s just something about reading in the sun that requires something absolutely outrageous. So, this year, when I went on holiday recently I took a piece of trash that I’ve been wanting to read for ages. I was so desperate, in fact, that I bought a cheap hardback copy despite already owning it on my Kindle. The reason I was so desperate? It was about twins. I’m a twin (something I’ve mentioned way too often during my 30th birthday year) and am always interested in narratives that relate to twins in some way. So a trashy novel about twins? It was the only thing I was looking forward to reading this August.
Dear Gone Girl,
A few years ago, I lent you to my sister and you have been sat on her shelves ever since. At least until last weekend when she finally brought you back. I can’t say that I was very pleased to see you. Really, I only wanted you so I could take a picture to accompany this post. I’ve never liked you. I didn’t finish you. You annoyed the shit out of me and, if I’m honest, I was glad to get you out of the house. You have a ton of hype surrounding you even to this day. But I don’t get it. I feel like I’m the lone survivor of some awful disease that makes you love shit books.
You’re constantly being praised for being clever but you’re not. What you are is super obvious. How anyone can read the first half of the novel and not realise that it’s all bullshit is beyond me. I didn’t even finish the first half because I couldn’t be bothered waiting for the inevitable. And before you start crying and saying “but how do you know if its obvious if you didn’t finish it?” Bitch, please. I have Wikipedia.
I’ve put off writing this letter for ages because I just didn’t want to come face-to-face with you. I’ve never met a book that deserved its reputation so little. Even 50 Shades of Grey was acknowledged as being shit despite its massive success. But you. You fooled everyone. You continue to fool everyone and you’ve started an endless parade of increasingly poor psychological thrillers. Girl on a Train? Urgh. It was even more obvious than you were but at least I fucking finished it.
Whether it admits to it or not, at least Girl on a Train knows its place. It knows it’s trash. You have the audacity to think you’re better than trash. You suffer from the Dan Brown complex: a trashy novel that thinks it of great literary worth. Just because you put on a fur coat and some fake diamonds it doesn’t make you different. You’re still Jenny from the block.
So why am I writing this letter to you? After all, this is supposedly a list of the books that “changed my life”. Well, in spite of everything, you did change my life. You were the first book I ever purposefully did not finish. Before I met you I struggled through every shit book I picked up no matter how hard it was. No matter how long it took me. I mean, yeah, there are books I stopped halfway through with the intention of picking up again that still sit, unread, on my shelf. That’s not the same. See, I genuinely hated you. You made me angry. I was so annoyed by you. I couldn’t do it. I don’t know how you’ve managed to fool everyone else but I see through you. I see what you really are.
There is a lengthy and oft-praised passage inside you which discusses the idea of the “Cool Girl” and how it doesn’t really exist. You know what? You’re the ultimate Cool Girl. You pretend to be this clever and refreshing new type of thriller so everyone will like you. But it’s all just bullshit. It’s all just pretend. Your tagline is “there are two sides to every story”. Well, there is: mine and all the idiots you’ve managed to trick.
We complete each other in the nastiest, ugliest possible way
The line “Sleep is like a cat: It only comes to you if you ignore it.” is the biggest piece of bullshit I’ve ever read. This isn’t good prose. This is nonsense!