This was so underwhelming and it makes me so mad.
Oh, and there are some spoilers.
I first heard of the book around the time the movie came out. I never got to see the movie in theatres, but I love Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, and Henry Golding—a dream cast come true!
I saw the book in the book store and without much thought, placed a hold on an ebook version through the library and promptly forgot all about it.
If it wasn’t automatically checked out to me, I’d probably never read it.
Turns out, I could have lived without reading it.
The book’s description compared it to The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl and after reading the book, I have to say that’s pretty inaccurate. I mean, it’s technically a thriller, but it didn’t really feel like one. I was tempted to just return it, but it was only 300 pages long and a pretty quick read.
For me, the most frustrating part about the book was how aggressively ‘meh’ it was. The story was really compelling—it’s what kept me hooked throughout all 300 pages—but the writing and story structure basically stripped away any potential.
When I started the book, I loved how the author used Stephanie’s blog as a narrative device—it was a cool way to frame the story and show Stephanie’s public face while still revealing important plot information. If the author continued using this device for the part one, I think it would have kept the tension high and maintain interest in the story.
Instead, any intrigue with Stephanie’s character was gone in the first third of the book, and I didn’t end up caring about her for the rest of the book—which is a real bummer when you’re supposed to feel some sympathy for her later on.
Which brings me to my next point—the characters. I ended up not caring about or connecting to any of the three main characters. All of their motivations were either nonsensical or ridiculous. With Gone Girl, the characters may not have been good people, but I could understand them and sympathize with them to some extent—especially with Nick prior to the big twist.
With Sean, Emily, and Stephanie, I disliked them for being bad and/or dumb people from the beginning and the more I read, the more I disliked them. I mean, the person you’re supposed to feel the most sympathy for had a years-long affair with her brother (technically half-brother, but she refers to him as her brother in several instances) and conceived a child with him.
She may not have deserved what happened to her, but it’s hard to feel good feelings about someone whose true love was her brother.
Even though the story had so much potential, actually reading the book was pretty painful. It wasn’t a bad book, but it definitely didn’t live up to its potential.
That being said, I’d be interested in seeing the movie version—maybe the story would be better served in a retelling. It could be the first book-to-movie adaptation I actually prefer over the original book.