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!