I did a thing, you guys. I read a book! An actual book. Front cover, back cover, back to back pages in between-the real thing. And the best part of this unnatural phenomenon is that I did it in five days. This may not sound like a great feat to most people but, with two kids, it is for me. Think back to my harping on and on about Audible. But I was at the airport for the first time in ages, and nothing compares to an airport bookstore (when you're me, at least). And there it was, the latest international bestseller-The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani, with its cover of a blue blouse with a Peter Pan collar and purl buttons. How could I pass by it? It won a fancy Prix Goncourt prize in France and was heralded as this year's Gone Girl on the back cover, which is only my favorite book.
This entry can be about a whole lot of things. It could be about the awesomeness of the resort that allowed me to do all this reading in the first place or about the fact that I wound up not really liking the book despite its publicity and high critical appraise. In my opinion, many important themes were raised by the author, and it was all meant to be profound, but the brevity and the point of view left the whole thing a bit too superficial. I could talk about how I don't like being told everything about the characters and their feelings when I'm shown very little. I could mention how there was barely any character development of note for my taste. I could try to put into words just how heavenly and addictive it was to turn physical pages of a physical book. But this isn't a book review and I don't want to consider eating my words about Audible being my lifeline. I want to talk about Gone Girl.
Every year, at least once a year, we get "this year's Gone Girl" on the bookshelves. And I keep falling for it, every damn time. I fell for it with Reconstructing Amelia and with The Girl on the Train. But, six years later (has it been six?!), I'm yet to find the real deal. Why? Because I'm sure it was a singular, wildly successful and brilliant book. Just one of many! I liked The Girl on the Train but it wasn't Gone Girl. It didn't want to be. Critics and reviewers labeling this book or another "the new Gone Girl" can only mean shooting that book (and the author) in the foot. For a book to be good it doesn't have to be Gone Girl, as brilliant as Gillian Flynn is (seriously, everything the woman writes is gold). At the mention of Gone Girl, the expectation is set. And it's a high one and a specific one. The language, the commentary, the character development. If you think the book is good, just say so; give it five stars and move on. Don't attach it to a legitimately admired title in the effort to make this one more successful by association. It's not fair. Not to the book you're reviewing, not to Gone Girl.