Ranked: Gillian Flynn

New blog category time! Introducing Ranked, where I rank books by the same author in descending order of least favorite to favorite. First up is Gillian Flynn, who’s published only 3 book thus far; however,  last week she released The Grownup, a short story with the usual twists and turns we’ve come to expect from Gillian Flynn. The combination of her style and the short story structure made for some reading whiplash, but it was a fun, quick read! Especially if you’ve been eagerly awaiting more from Gillian Flynn.

So for the inaugural post of Ranked, there are 3 contenders: Sharp Objects, Dark Places, and Gone Girl.

sharp objects-book coverMy least favorite was an easy pick: Sharp Objects. This book was Gillian Flynn’s debut, and frankly, I’m glad I read her other books first because I don’t know if I would’ve picked them up based on my reaction to Sharp Objects. The plot just leaned too heavily on the dark side–coupled with the fact that I could tell right away who the villain, a villain that was so twisted, creepy, and unsympathetic, was so it just wasn’t worth it to me to finish this book. I know a lot of folks love this book, but eh. Sharp Objects just didn’t take for me. To each their own!

Next up is…..

8442457Yep. Smack dab in the middle, Gone Girl. Do I need to tell you what Gone Girl is about? Surely you’ve either read the book or seen the excellent movie with all the hype this book has received. At this point, whenever GF is referred to as “author of Gone Girl,” I just want to roll my eyes and say “we know!” but hey, that’s marketing for you. Gone Girl sits right in the middle for me because while the plot was excellent with its twisty turns and unreliable narrators, the ending was extremely frustrating. Also, I found both Amy and Nick to be extremely grating (although A+ casting of Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne, because Affleck’s best “acting” is when he plays smarmy douches!), but the plot more than makes up for obnoxious characters.

dark places 2So, by now, you can tell my favorite Gillian Flynn book is Dark Places, which also was made into a movie, but did not get nearly the hooplah as Gone Girl did as it went straight to direct TV and streaming video. I rented it from Amazon a couple months ago, and the movie was just ok. Charlize Theron was pretty good as Libby Day and it was neat to see Christina Hendricks play someone else post-Joan Holloway Harrison, but aside from that, meh. The movie did handle well what I loved about the book: the jumping between the 80’s and the 00’s and telling different perspectives of the Kinnakee Massacre.Structurally, I thought this novel was a lot more interesting than say, Gone Girl. Also, a biggie: Libby Day is no saint, but she’s certainly more sympathetic than other main characters in a Gillian Flynn novel. Granted, she has the “sole survivor of family massacre” story, and you’d have to be pretty heartless to not feel sympathetic towards a character who’s experienced the worst.

But what I like about Gillian Flynn’s books is best captured with this quote:


Admittedly, while some of these dark sides I am not a fan of, I give Flynn credit for writing interesting female characters who don’t necessarily adhere to the tropes we’ve come to expect for any character that just happens to be a woman. And for that, I’ll keep reading her books, regardless of the order in which I like them!


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