Amy Dunne disappears on her and her husband Nick’s fifth anniversary. Nick is the prime suspect in the case. Gone Girl is both a portrait of a marriage and a study on how the media horns in on high profile crimes.
Gone Girl may the best adaptation of a book I’ve ever watched. Perhaps because Gillian Flynn herself adapted it. I’ve seen it twice already! Of course the movie had to be condensed from the book, otherwise it would have been five hours long. Flynn has done this masterfully. The timeline of events had to be tweaked just a little and some minor plot points left out but the meat of the book is definitely there.
Ben Affleck’s Nick was great. The only thing he could have done better was looked a little more slovenly. I’m from Kansas City and loved that he wore a Boulevard Beer T-shirt for one scene – my home town brewery! Tyler Perry wasn’t as tacky as his character in the book but it worked. It would have taken away from the dark atmosphere of the movie if he was wearing loud suits. And wow, he impressed me as a dramatic actor. No trace of Madea in sight.
The real star of this movie is Rosemund Pike. Her portrayal of Amy is spot on. Truly fantastic. I can’t say anything more about her without spoiling the movie but I will say that you will not be disappointed.
My husband hasn’t read the book but he still thought the movie was great. He said he judges if whether or not a movie is good if he is thinking about it days later and this movie haunted him for a while. We’ve discussed the movie with each other several times.
Whether you’ve read the book or not, you must run, not walk to the theater and see this movie immediately.
My review of the book Gone Girl which includes an account of a book signing of Gillian Flynn’s that I attended.
October 14th, 2014 in
Page to Screen
Neve: Mommy, will you play with me?
Me: After I have my coffee.
Neve: But you had coffee yesterday.
Me: That’s not how coffee works, Neve.
Neve: How did I get in the other Mommy’s tummy? Did she swallow me?
Neve: Can you play the song they sing in the jungle?
Me: What song is that?
Neve: You know, it’s the “La Surfer Face” song.
Translation: The Monkees (jungle animals) I’m a Believer “then I saw her face…”
West: There’s a boy on my bus who’s really mean but his name is Christian so I thought he would be nicer.
Neve told me that she went to the store with Daddy and saw piggy rabbits. Translation: Guinea pigs.
October 12th, 2014 in
The tattered copy of Fox In Socks from my childhood
Fox In Socks is one of favorite children’s book. Written by Dr. Seuss and published in 1965, it’s the rhyming story of Mr. Fox and Mr. Knox. Mr. Fox spends the book trying to get Mr. Knox to repeat his tongue twisters. One of the reasons I love this book is because it’s so fun to read. It was the one book I didn’t mind reading to my kids over and over and over and over. At nine months old, my oldest son would crawl over to me, with the book clunking along in one hand so I could read it to him. My favorite part to read out loud is the tweetle beetle section. So fun!
Another reason I love this book is because my grandma, who died when I was 12, gave it to me. I still have my copy.I had to buy another one eventually to read to the kids because mine was falling apart.
Fox In Socks is classic Dr. Seuss and should be in every child’s library.
The first Thursday of the month, I host Throwback Thursdays. If you you’d like to share a post from the past week about a book from “back in the day”, feel free to grab the button for your post and and link up below. Be sure and link directly to your post, not your blog’s home page. Thanks!
This Is Where I Leave you is adapted from Jonathan Tropper’s novel of the same name. I loved the book and since Tropper himself wrote the screenplay for this movie, I had high hopes for it. I have to say it did not live up to my expectations. What made the book great was the mix of drama and dark humor. The movie didn’t really have any darkness at all. There were sad sentimental moments but since the characters weren’t very developed, it was tough to conjure up empathy for them. It’s not that I didn’t like them, I just thought they were really bland compared to their book versions.
For instance, in the book there is a very serious and tragic reason that Paull (Corey Stoll) and Judd (Jason Bateman) don’t get along. That incident isn’t included in the movie, making Paul a different person, not the angry man he is in the book. Also what Alice (Kathryn Hahn) does to Judd in basement is considerably toned down.
Judd’s inner monologue is one of the best parts and the majority of the book. Understandably, that is hard to translate to the screen. I thought a voice-over for Judd would have added a lot to understanding him and the other characters, since a lot of his inner thoughts has to do with them. Then I read this from a Hollywood Reporter interview with Tropper:
[Voice-over] becomes a crutch, …you have to be able to convey your story visually. If you’re using your narrator to do that, you’re pretty much writing your book in movie form.”
I must respectfully disagree with Tropper on this point. This movie would have benefited from Judd’s voice-over.
In the book, Wendy and Judd’s mom Hillary have the most hilariously inappropriate lines. Wendy is droll and unintentionally insensitive but her intentions are good. Tina Fey, who plays Wendy in the movie, would have been awesome delivering Wendy’s lines. Unfortunately, she didn’t get the chance. The movie Wendy is softer and not as funny as the book Wendy.
Judd’s mom in the book is cheerful and clueless. A child psychologist, she continuously makes her children uncomfortable talking about sex and other taboo subjects. Movie Hilary (Jane Fonda), does get to say some of those lines but not nearly enough. She does do a good job wielding Hillary’s Unbelievably large fake boobs.
Bottom line: This film played it safe and left out most parts of the book that had any emotional weight. You may enjoy it if you haven’t read the book but if you have, prepare to be disappointed.
The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar
Release Date: August 19, 2014
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
An experienced psychologist, Maggie carefully maintains emotional distance from her patients. But when she meets a young Indian woman who tried to kill herself, her professional detachment disintegrates. Cut off from her family in India, Lakshmi is desperately lonely and trapped in a loveless marriage to a domineering man who limits her world to their small restaurant and grocery store.
Moved by her plight, Maggie treats Lakshmi in her home office for free, quickly realizing that the despondent woman doesn’t need a shrink; she needs a friend. Determined to empower Lakshmi as a woman who feels valued in her own right, Maggie abandons protocol, and soon doctor and patient have become close friends.
But while their relationship is deeply affectionate, it is also warped by conflicting expectations. When Maggie and Lakshmi open up and share long-buried secrets, the revelations will jeopardize their close bond, shake their faith in each other, and force them to confront painful choices.
The Story Hour is about the relationship of Maggie and Lakshmi and their journey from patient/therapist to friends. It’s also about their individual personal lives, especially their marriages. Both women have secrets which were shocking to me as a reader and to each other when they are revealed. At no time was this story predictable, which I loved.
I liked that Maggie and Lakshmi were both flawed. There was no good guy/bad guy juxtaposition. They were both so well-drawn. Everything they did was organic and authentic. I sympathized with them at times and at other times I wanted to reach through the pages and shake them.
Because I loved The World We Found, I had high hopes for The Story Hour. I was not disappointed – it’s an amazing book.
(I received this book courtesy of the Amazon Vine program.)
September 24th, 2014 in
All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood by Jennifer Senior
Publisher: HarperCollins and Blackstone Audio
Release Date: January 28, 2014
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Thousands of books have examined the effects of parents on their children. Award-winning journalist Jennifer Senior now asks: What are the effects of children on their parents? — In All Joy and No Fun, award-winning journalist Jennifer Senior isolates and analyzes the many ways in which children reshape their parents’ lives. She argues that changes in the last half century have radically altered the roles of today’s mothers and fathers, making their mandates at once more complex and far less clear. Recruiting from a wide variety of sources, she dissects both the timeless strains of parenting and the ones that are brand new, and then brings her research to life in the homes of ordinary parents around the country. Meticulously researched yet imbued with emotional intelligence, All Joy and No Fun is original and essential reading for mothers and fathers of today — and tomorrow.
All Joy and No Fun isn’t a traditional parenting book. It’s not going to give you a new system to disciple your child. Part of it is a fascinating look at how parenting has changed through the years. Up until child labor laws were enacted, children were expected to work or to be seen and not heard. Senior takes the reader up through present day. She explains the evolution of parenting that has led to the present day where children can be overscheduled and more and more parents are “helicopter parents”. She’s not critical, just informative. Interspersed throughout are personal examples of parents that she interviewed. She spoke to a wide variety, including a grandmother who parented her own children in the 1970s and is now parenting her grandchildren, a mother living in an affluent suburb, and a single working mother.
I found this book to be incredibly interesting and insightful as well as meticulously researched. I listened to the audio book which is narrated by the author. I’m usually wary when an authors narrates their own book since they are not usually experienced narrators. Senior did a great job and the book was pleasant to listen to.
I highly recommend this book to parents of kids of all ages.
September 23rd, 2014 in
I know today is Thursday and that is usually Throwback Thursday. However, I’ve decided to change Throwback Thursday to monthly feature that will be on the first Thursday of the month. I look forward to reading your Throwback reviews on October 2!
People I Want to Punch in the Throat: Competitive Crafters, Drop-Off Despots, and Other Suburban Scourges by Jen Mann
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: September 9, 2014
Jen Mann doesn’t have a filter, which sometimes gets her in trouble with her neighbors, her fellow PTA moms, and that one woman who tried to sell her sex toys at a home shopping party. Known for her hilariously acerbic observations on her blog, People I Want to Punch in the Throat, Mann now brings her sharp wit to bear on suburban life, marriage, and motherhood in this laugh-out-loud collection of essays. From the politics of joining a play group, to the thrill of mothers’ night out at the gun range, to the rewards of your most meaningful relationship (the one you have with your cleaning lady), nothing is sacred or off-limits. So the next time you find yourself wearing fuzzy bunny pajamas in the school carpool line or accidentally stuck at a co-worker’s swingers party, just think, What would Jen Mann do?
Jen Mann has a popular blog which is also named People I Want to Punch in the Throat. She rails against stuck up suburban super moms on her blog and this book is more of the same. Each chapter is an anecdote about something crazy that has happened to Jen, from how she met her husband online to wearing pajamas to drop her kid off ant school and then unexpectedly having to get out of her car and walk into school. She is very snarky as you might expect from the title of the book. Sometimes I felt she was over the top. I don’t have a problem with swear words but I don’t like it when comedians use them excessively. They don’t always make a joke funnier and can be used as a way of getting cheap laughs. I think she used them to liven up a story but now and then she ended up coming across shrill.
Most of her stories were amusing but not laugh out loud funny. However, I think most moms will find at least one chapter that they can relate to. I chose this book for review because Jen and I live in the same metro area. I hope she doesn’t read this review and then hunt me down to punch ME in the throat!
(I received this book courtesy of the publisher.)
September 18th, 2014 in
Landline by Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: July 8, 2014
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
When Georgie McCool tells her husband she can’t spare the time away from work to visit his family at Christmas, she never expects him to pack up the kids and go without her. Maybe she should have expected that. Maybe Neal, who’s always a little bit mad at Georgie, has finally had enough. Alone with her memories and unsure of their future, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but it might be her opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts…But what if Georgie and Neal would be better off if they never got married at all?
Oh, how I love Rainbow Rowell. I’m sure if I knew her personally, we would totally be BFFs. Landline is funny and heartwarming at the same time. I could relate to both Georgie and Neal. Georgie is an over-worked, stressed out television writer and Neal is a stay-at-home dad. The story was primarily set in the present day, showing Georgie and Neal’s strained relationship but also flashed back to the back to when they first met so the reader gets a clear idea of how they ended up in the state they’re in today. Even the secondary characters, like Seth and Georgie’s mom and sister are well drawn. And they have the most hilarious lines. I was laughing out loud several times. I love Rainbow’s sense of humor.
Georgie and Neal could have easily been caricatures. I’ve seen the working spouse vs. the stay at home spouse many times in other books and in TV and movies. But this book is a fresh and original take on that storyline. There is not much more I can say about the plot that I can say without spoiling it. There is one device that requires a heavy suspension of belief but it’s worth it and I didn’t have a problem doing that at all.
Call me Rainbow. Anytime. We can hang out.
I’m pleased to be able to givaway one copy of Landline to a lucky reader with a US mailing address. Just fill out the form below. I will take entries until 11:59pm CST on Sept 22, 2014. Good luck!
Other books I’ve reviewed by Rainbow Rowell:
Eleanor and Park
(I received my review copy of Landline courtesy of Amazon Vine and my giveaway copy from the publisher.)
September 16th, 2014 in
Cash: Mommy, next year I want you to be an active member of the PTA instead of checking your email and chatting on Facebook.
West: When I’m 18, I’m going to live with you and say cuss words.
Neve: I know that dog’s a boy because it doesn’t have a shirt on.
Cash: In the olden days, did you have to type in the https when you were typing in a web address?
West: Daddy is not the boss
Me: Daddy and I are co-bosses
West: I know who the real boss is – SANTA!…and God
Cash: No, the president is
September 14th, 2014 in
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: May 1, 2012
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.
Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.
***This review will have spoilers for the first book, Divergent, but not for this book.***
This book finds Tris dealing with the emotional aftermath of mortally shooting her good friend. It weighs on her conscience so heavily that she can’t even pick up a gun. She’s also processing the grief of losing her parents. The plot picks up right where Divergent left off. Tris, Tobias and what’s left of Dauntless that is still good seek refuge among the different factions while they formulate a plan to find and kill Jeanine Matthews, leader of the traitor Dauntless.
This book was definitely not as good as the first. The story was confusing at times. Tris and her group moved around so much, I kept having to refer back to see where they were. Also, she and Tobias had their mitts on each other all.the.time. Every other page they were hugging, kissing, holding hands. It was too much and too mushy. I know that they are young and in love but they are also on the run for their lives! I kept thinking about what my college psychology professor taught me. No one thinks about sex when his/her life is in danger. My final criticism is why did Tris and Tobias have to lie to each other so much? I know that the purpose was to insert some conflict into their relationship since there is no love triangle. But the reasons they were lying didn’t seem justified.
This book did have some twists and turns that I didn’t see coming and kept the story exciting. In between Tris and Tobias making out it was action packed. And the secret that is revealed in the end is definitely enough to make me read the third and final book in the trilogy, Allegiant.
Classifying Insurgent as a throwback book is dubious but since I’m the last person in the world to read this book, it counts!
Every Thursday I host Throwback Thursdays. If you you’d like to share a post from the past week about a book from “back in the day”, feel free to grab the button for your post and and link up below. Be sure and link directly to your post, not your blog’s home page. Thanks!
September 11th, 2014 in