Page vs. Screen: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I have finally watched the movie adaptation of Gone Girl starring Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck and I’m utterly pleased with it, mostly because it followed the book rather closely. That’s not surprising at all since Gillian Flynn herself wrote the screenplay. But as you may very well know already, it’s still inevitable that some changes be made to fit the story in the alloted screentime of the film. So in this post, I have gone geek and listed eleven differences I have identified between the book and the film.

WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS BOTH FROM THE BOOK AND THE FILM. Check out my spoiler-free book review of Gone Girl here.

  1. In the movie, Nick was talking to his twin sister Margo about how it’s their fifth year anniversary that day and how he will most probably be “forced marched as an oblivious and uncaring husband” AGAIN for not knowing the answers to the customary anniversary treasure hunt riddles/clues of Amy. Nick related last year’s riddle that said, “When your poor Amy has cold, this dessert must be sold.” Nick said that he never found out the answer to that riddle and Amy got pissed because of that.
    Sibling goals

    In the book, Nick was also talking to Margo abut how it’s their fifth anniversary and he has no plans laid out for the celebration yet. While Margo is suggesting a wager on how pissed Amy is going to be, Nick’s thoughts wander off to Amy’s first year anniversary treasure hunt riddles. Nick remembered only two out of the seven riddles Amy prepared and the riddle in the movie was not one of them.

    Although we all know by now that Amy’s diary in the book is unreliable, it’s interesting to note an entry about their first anniversary which related a riddle (maybe one of the seven Nick did not remember in the book?) that is closer to the one Nick mentioned in the movie:

    “Whenever my sweet husband gets a cold
    It is this dish that will soon be sold."
    Answer: tom yum soup from Thai Town on President Street

  2. I did not check the other riddles mentioned in the movie but I'm pretty sure the one that I identified was not the only one which was modified a little. So what I'm trying to say is, riddles in the book are slightly changed in the film.

  3. In the book, Carl Pelley, a retired drunk salesman who lives across the street was the person who called Nick at The Bar over the phone to inform him that the front door of his house was wide open. 
    Watchful Walt is watching you.

    In the movie, the neighbor accoss the street who called Nick was Watchful Walt. The change in name was maybe to emphasize that this person constantly reports things to Nick while he’s away at work. Also more catchy name than Carl Pelley.

  4. In the book, amateur cops Officers Velasquez and Riordan were the first to arrive on the scene after Nick reported his wife missing. The two officers then called in Detectives Boney and Gilpin when they saw that the scene of the crime was way above their rookie abilities.
    Detective Boney: Have you seen Amazing Amy?
    Cat: Meow.

    In the movie, these two amateur cops were understandably cut off from the story and Detectives Boney and Gilpin were the first to respond to Nick’s call.

  5. In the book, Nick was not present in Amazing Amy's book launch party. According to Amy’s diary, they met serendipitously again on a street in New York the day after the book launch when Amy was particularly feeling low from last night’s turn of events.

    In the movie, Nick was present in Amazing Amy’s book launch party. He was very supportive of Amy, protective of her when book bloggers/media people asked snarky questions and eventually proposed to her that night.

  6. In the book, both Amy’s parents were more friendly-looking, always seen comforting and cherishing each other. Both of them liked, supported and believed Nick at first although they withdrew their fancy of Nick during the latter part of the investigation.

    In the movie, Amy’s parents were not shown as hug-loving people as they were in the book. Amy’s mom in particular was made to be a stronger character than her book counterpart. She did not speak in the book in the press release of Amy’s missing case but she spoke in the movie. There was also this movie scene when he called out Nick’s demeanor as being too friendly and too fun-looking while his wife was still missing. She even called her a “godamn homecoming king”. I don’t remember any of this instance with Amy’s mom in the book. 

  7. In the book, Detective Gilpin accompanied Nick in the junior college he was teaching at to retrieve the second clue in Amy’s treasure hunt. Also, Detective Gilpin of the book was less judgmental of Nick.

    In the movie, Detective Boney accompanied Nick. I guess this is to make the underwear clue more awkward?

  8. In the book, Nick did not try to convince that annoying Shawna Kelley woman to delete their out-of-place photograph. Instead, he was just regretful that the photo was taken and was silently hating on her for "trying to get an ego stroke from the husband of a missing woman". After four days, they met again in the volunteer center with Shawna flirtatiously bringing him some frito pie which Nick dismissed and which offended Shawna.
    "Say chicken frito pie!"

    In the movie, Shawna Kelley was this touchy frito-pie offering woman who loves to take selfie with people and shares it to whomever she pleases. And then she got offended when Nick asked her to delete their photo. What I'm pointing out is that Nick's encounter with Shawna was cut-off from two to one. A very minimal change.

  9. In the book, the abandoned mall search party was conducted by Nick, Amy’s dad, Stucks Buckley (Nick’s old school pal) and the burly Hillsam brothers. They went there because they felt that the investigation by the police was insufficiently done. The police conducted their investigation during the day when they thought that the abandoned mall should be searched at night.

    In the movie, the search was conducted by Detectives Boney and Gilpin.

  10. In the movie, when Nick visited Desi Collings, he was outright antagonistic against Nick and he seemed to believe that Nick has something to do with Amy's disappearance.
    Not so legendary Desi with Avenging Amy

    In the book, when Nick went to Desi’s St. Louis mansion, he was weirdly nice because he thought that Nick was just trying to raise for a reward fund. Desi also asked Nick where Amy's dad was when the incident happened. It was later revealed that Amy lied to Desi that her father raped her and Desi was this guy who has a hero complex and has a deep need to rescue and protect Amy. Then Nick met Desi's mom whom he noticed as a woman with eerily the same features as Amy. Desi's mom seemed to be protective of her son and dismissed Nick saying that the next time Nick wants to talk to Desi, he should go through their lawyer. So Desi's outright hate towards Nick in the movie was maybe to compensate with the lack of Desi's mom's character in the film.

  11. In the movie, Nick’s high-powered lawyer,Tanner Bolt is portrayed by Tyler Perry. His gorgeous wife’s character was omitted in the film. 

    In the book, Tanner Bolt has a spray-tanned face so that means he was white in the book, right? His gorgeous six-foot tall black wife, former TV anchor turned lawyer, Betsy prepped Nick in his interview with prominent TV personality, Sharon Schieber. The gummy bear throwing of Tanner in the film was actually done by Betsy in the book so I guess in the film, they melded Tanner and Betsy’s character into one.

  12. In the movie, Nick’s drunken impromptu interview with writer and crime blogger, Rebecca was cut-off. The film focused only on mainstream media personalities such as Ellen Abbot and Sharon Schieber.

    In the book, when Nick has turned into a pariah because of all the piled-up evidence pointed at him as the suspect of Amy’s missing case plus the news of Amy’s pregnancy, this crime blogger, Rebecca recognized him at a bar and approached him and told him she’s on his side. Nick was hesitant at first but gave in when he realized that this was his chance to lure Amy back in and redeem his public image. Nick's interview turned viral, swayed the public opinion on his side and affected the hiding Amy when she saw it.

How about you, guys? Were you able to read the book and watch the film as well? Do you have anything to add in my differences between the book and the film list? Were you also pleased with the movie adaptation? What’s your favorite movie scene? Mine was when Amy was driving her getaway car on the day she went missing and throwing out all those fancy pen of hers through the window. It's like she is shedding snake skin there. Let me know your thoughts in the comment section.

Guest Post + Book Excerpt + Giveaway: In The Beginning There Was Us by Ingrid Jonach

I am beyond thrilled to bring this awesome post today because it’s packed with all good things bookish: an author guest post, a book excerpt and a giveaway! A bunch of thanks to Dianne of Oops! I Read A Book Again for organizing this blog tour. Without much ado, I give Ingrid Jonach to you:

Why I love writing sci-fi YA

by Ingrid Jonach

I love writing for young adults—mainly because I like reading young adult novels, so I guess I feel like I'm writing for myself. And, even though I’m now well beyond the traditional age bracket, my favourite contemporary author remains Sarah Dessen (who has just released her twelfth novel Saint Anything. Yay!).

When I was writing books for kids, I used to get asked all the time whether I had kids myself. I somewhat sheepishly replied,‘No,’ as if this somehow disqualified me from being able to entertain and educate that age group. After all, I was a kid once myself.

And that’s exactly how I look at my obsession with young adult novels. I was—not too long ago—a teenager and it left an indelible mark on me. I think what really appeals to me about writing for young adults is that you’re exploring the transition to adulthood, which gives you some really heavy themes like the loss of innocence and search for identity, coupled with characters who vary vastly in maturity.

I've always been a big fan of fantasy—more so than science fiction. The books I adored growing up were mostly supernatural (for example, anything by Australian author Victor Kelleher). I particularly adored the horror genre. I devoured anything with vampires in it (WAY before Twilight) and cut my teeth on R.L. Stine.

When I started pitching my first young adult novel—When the World was Flat (and we were in love)—to agents, I actually described it as a fantasy novel. Embarrassing as this is for someone with a writing degree to admit, I wasn’t a reader of science fiction and thought of it largely as stories set in space (hard science fiction). When I finally pieced together that Albert Einstein and his Theory of Everything were science and NOT fantasy (duh!), I started describing my story as science fiction fantasy and then soft science fiction and now science fiction romance and sometimes speculative fiction. The genre,however, that I think really sums it up is the non-existent genre of urban science fiction (a hypothetical counterpart to urban fantasy).

My follow up young adult novel, In The Beginning There Was Us, is also urban science fiction (I’m just going to go ahead and coin it as a genre). Both of my young adult novels look at re-imagined histories and possible scientific explanations for the inexplicable in a contemporary setting. For example, scientific theories I have developed (or dreamed up) about ghosts and luck. I use the term ‘scientific’ loosely, of course. The theories are only based in science – the rest is based in what if?

You know how kids go through the ‘why?’ phase. They ask what you’re doing and when you tell them they want to know why. And when you tell them why their next question is inevitably,‘why?’ I think I’ve never left that phase behind. I enjoyed maths at school until my teachers stopped being able to explain to me why I needed to understand trigonometry and calculus. Then I dropped it (something I somewhat regret, but that saw me pass my final exams with flying colours!).

This insatiable curiosity has led me to the science fiction genre. The romance that’s spread throughout my novels is just the icing on the cake. Couple both of those with the young adult demographic and I have so much scope for my imagination!

About In The Beginning There Was Us

What would you do if you were God? If you had the power to not only give life, but take it away in the blink of an eye? These are the questions that haunt fifteen-year-old Abbey Baxter after she resurrects a boy, long lost to the ages.

The achingly beautiful and eternally melancholy Cole not only serves as a welcome distraction from her long-time crush, Elwin, but also eases the heartache that persists since the sudden passing of her younger brother, Junior, four years earlier.

As the intrigue of her relationship with Cole deepens, so too does the mystery that surrounds a growing phenomenon sweeping through her small West Virginian town, transforming the lives of its residents. Around her, two bedroom cottages are transforming into mansions without explanation and residents are waking up to bank balances that have tripled overnight, all under the watchful gaze of the sinister American Laboratory for Particle Physics, located on the outskirts of town.

As Abbey searches for answers in a bid to solve the mystery in partnership with Elwin, she’s forced into a realization that that some things are better left buried, including her newfound love, Cole.

This cautionary tale of heartache and obsession explores the endless possibilities of the universe and its devastating impact on two young lovers from different worlds. (Add In The Beginning There Was Us to your Goodreads TBR here)

Genre: Young Adult, Science fiction
Date of Publication: April 28, 2015
Purchase links: Amazon | Smashwords

About the Author

Ingrid Jonach writes books for kids and teens. Her young adult sci fi romance novels When the World was Flat (and we were in love) and In The Beginning There Was Us are available now. She is also the author of the picture book A Lot of Things and the chapter books The Frank Frankie and Frankie Goes to France published by Pan Macmillan Australia. Ingrid has worked as a journalist and public relations consultant, and has a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing with Honors in Communications. She lives down under - in Canberra, Australia - with her husband Craig and their pug dog Mooshi.

Find Ingrid on: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Youtube

Major bonus

Excerpt from Chapter 1 of In The Beginning There Was Us

I WAKE TO the sound of sirens and a bedroom lit up, as if by fireworks on the Fourth of July.

I blink owlishly at the ceiling for a moment or two, before I throw back the covers and crawl across my bed to peer through my window at the blue and red flashing lights of a police car and a fire engine. They’re followed moments later by an ambulance and two more police cars.

The five vehicles careen around the corner, like clown cars off to throw confetti on a fake fire, and I realize that they’re headed in the direction of the Lab.

The American Laboratory for Particle Physics—as it’s officially called—is located on the outskirts of our small town and employs at least a third of the population, including my dad.

The Lab has also put our town on the map as the least visited town in the country, unless you count the protesters that camp on the outskirts of Albert Falls. No one else wants to be within a hundred mile radius of the largest particle accelerator in the United States.

I watch through my window as the surrounding houses light up one by one, like fireflies at dusk. It’s more like dawn though. I glance over at the digital clock that sits on my chest of drawers. Yep. 3.46am.

I open the sash and a warm breeze ruffles my curtains as I strain to hear the now distant sirens, which intermingle with the sound of screen doors slamming and neighbors yelling at barking dogs.

I’m suddenly blinded by the bedroom light above my head.

“Pack your bags, Abbey.”

“What?” I ask, turning and rubbing one of my eyes with the heel of my hand.

“Now,” my dad says. I hear his shoes clomp down the hallway and it registers that he’s already dressed.

I remember to place my right foot on the floorboards before my left as I climb out of bed. I may as well go back to bed and pull the covers over my head if I start the day on the wrong foot—so to speak.

It’s just one of many symptoms of my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which my best friend Mali Kendrick had helpfully diagnosed via Google three years ago.

I have a couple of other rituals—including one for walking through doorways and another for putting on seatbelts.

There are others that I make up on the spot. For example, deciding that if I close my eyes for two minutes and thirty seconds I’ll pass an exam, or if I hold my breath through a television commercial my mom won’t need her medication anymore.

I rummage through my wardrobe for my overnight bag and start filling it, not knowing how many pairs of underwear to pack, or whether I need to take my swimsuit.

I shake my head as I stuff it back into my drawer. This isn’t a holiday. It’s an evacuation, I remind myself and the hairs on the back of my neck prickle at the realization.


The excerpt sounds exciting, right? Well, Ingrid is so awesomely providing two of her ebooks to one lucky winner!

1. In The Beginning There Was Us
2. When the World Was Flat (and we were in love) Hint: Dianne of Oops! I Read A Book Again adores this book. Check out her five-star review here.

Giveaway is open internationally! Enter below:

***Good luck!***

"Waiting On" Wednesday: Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone (WoW #1)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week (it’s my very first WoW post) I am featuring:

Series: Standalone
Publisher:  Disney-Hyperion
Expected publication date : June 16,  2015
Pre-order here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can't turn off.

Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl
by Gillian Flynn

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife's head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media--as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents--the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter--but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn't do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

(cover image and summary lifted from Goodreads)

Series: Standalone
Publisher: Crown Publishers, a division of Random House
Publication date: January 1, 2012
Source/Format: Bought/Paperback

My Thoughts:
This book deserved the heaps of praises it received. I feel so unworthy posting anything about it. So I’ll be quick here and just basically give a walkthrough of my reading experience.

I learned about the book because of its movie adaptation. I am more of a watch the movie before read the book kind of person. For a change, I want to be able to read the book first. I remember reading the summary at the back when I picked up a copy from the bookstore shelf. I thought how seemingly ordinary the premise was: a mystery-thriller involving a missing wife with the husband as the primary suspect. Also, I am initially daunted when I saw that it’s over 500 pages long because I am no good with lengthy novels. Honestly, I would not have bought a copy if not for all the hype surrounding it.

It took days before I finally summoned the will to read it. The book was divided into three parts. I did a quick flip through the pages first because that’s what I always do with thick books. It was a major folly that I did that because the titles of the three parts gave me a general idea of what the plot will be. I’m still hating on myself a little for what I did. For spoiler-haters, consider yourself warned: be patient and do not go scanning unread pages like me.

Each chapter is narrrated in the alternating points of view of Nick and Amy, which for me is a brilliant way to engage the readers to analyze both characters intimately. Both main characters felt so human: with their own faults and biases, background relationships with parents, thought processes when making decisions, etc. During the first part, the author made a wonderful job of making me feel torn on whose side to root for. The second part, well I couldn’t say much without spoilers, so let’s just say was when all my sanity bolts turned loose. It’s craaazy. I am in deep pensive mood in assessing all that happened by the time I was in the third part. After I turned the last page I couldn’t contain all the crazy anymore and came to Twitter to sum up all my feelings for the ending:

The hashtag says it all. Now time to watch the movie adaptation.

Review: The Fine Art of Holding Your Breath by Charity Tahmaseb

The Fine Art of Holding Your Breath

Secrets--like war--have their own casualties

MacKenna's mother died when she was a baby, a casualty of the first Gulf War. Now seventeen, MacKenna has spent her life navigating the minefield of her dad's moods, certain of one thing: she is destined to follow in her mother's combat boots. But when she pursues an ROTC scholarship, she finds herself at war before even enlisting.

Her father forbids her from joining the military, inexplicable considering he'd raised her to be a "warrior princess." MacKenna turns to her grandmother--who arms her with an ammo crate containing her mother's personal effects from the war. Hidden in the crate's false bottom is a journal, one her mom stashed there hours before her death.

While MacKenna untangles the secrets of her parents' tragic love story, her own life unravels. Dad's behavior becomes erratic, her best friend grows distant and even hostile, and a boy from her past returns--with a life-threatening secret of his own.

If ever a girl needed her mother, it's now.

The pen might be mightier than the sword, but are a mother's words strong enough to slice through years of hidden pain? Can those words reach through the battlefields of the past to change MacKenna's future?

(cover image and summary lifted from Goodreads)
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Collins Mark Books
Publication date: November 26, 2014
Source/Format: I received an e-copy of this book from the author as part of the 2015 YA Spring Fling. This in no way affects my views.

Purchase links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

My Thoughts:
MacKennna Meyers is a seventeen-year old girl who is part of the swim team in Black Earth High . She was raised by her war veteran father who is still deeply affected by her mother’s death. Her reclusive father did not want to talk anything about her mother making MacKenna long for her even more. MacKenna secretly applied for an ROTC scholarship in her desperate attempt to somehow have a connection with her mother.

Meanwhile in school, her relationship with her bestfriend Nissa is falling apart for some strange reason. And Landon, a boy who left five years ago without any explanation, is back in town and wants to continue what they had from the past.

This book tells a wonderfully woven story of how having secrets destroy relationships. The tagline on the book cover said it aptly, “Secrets , like war, had their own casualties.”

It's really a simple story but the simplicity is mainly the reason why I related to it and enjoyed it thoroughly. The book is told in MacKenna’s point of view and her words and thoughts feel real to me. I can understand when sometimes she thinks that she needs to fly under the radar and be in stealth girl mode. Her longing for her mother and her confusion about her father not talking about it grips me. When MacKenna is being swept off her feet by Landon, I am also beside myself in swooning. Her transformation from the girl who thought at the start of the novel that, “Eveyone had secrets.” into “But the time for secrets are over.” in the end is so well-written.

One of my favorite parts of the book is how MacKenna randomly remembers her father’s opinion on things. Examples of these are:

"Dad on his old clothes: About time they were put to good use."
"Dad on staying late: Mission first, princess."
"Dad on free stuff: Nothing’s ever free, princess. Remember that."

It just shows how MacKenna thinks highly of what her dad might think of her actions. I like how MacKenna's father is not an absentee parent in MacKenna's life despite his depression/trauma.

Another nice touch in the book are the free verse poems on a journal written by MacKenna’s mother. It’s a brilliant way of giving us a glimpse of how MacKenna’s mother was.

I enjoyed reading this book and I highly recommend it to readers of the young adult genre.

Review: The Blemished by Sarah Dalton

The Blemished

A beautiful world comes at a price...

In a world filled with stunning clones Mina Hart is Blemished. Her genes are worthless and that takes away her rights: her right to an Education, her right to a normal life and her right to have a child.

Mina keeps a dangerous secret which she never thought she could share until she meets Angela on her first day at St Jude's School. But their friendship is soon complicated by Angela’s adoptive brother Daniel. Mina finds herself drawn to his mysterious powers and impulsive nature. Then there is the gorgeous clone Sebastian who Mina is forbidden from even speaking to…

The Blemished is a frightening take on a fractured future where the Genetic Enhancement Ministry have taken control of Britain. It will take you on a ride filled with adventure, romance and rebellion.

(cover image and summary lifted from Goodreads)

Series: Blemished #1
Publisher: Createspace
Publication date: September 11, 2013
Source/Format: I received an e-copy of this book from the author as part of the 2015 YA Spring Fling. This in no way affects my views.
Purchase links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

My Thoughts:
The premise of the book has immensely intrigued me. There is this fifteen-year old girl, Mina, who is among the Blemished. She is new in town (Area 14) and in School (St. Jude). She and her dad escaped from their previous place because, a great secret about Mina that will get her more ostracized was revealed. She was born just as Britain’s government was overtaken by people who want nothing but perfect genes to run on humanity. The Blemished, who are born from the natural way, are required by the new sinister government to serve the GEMs, who are genetically modified clones. There are lots of iniquities going on in this dystopic world, among them are having to wear tunic and headscarves for Blemished girls and having no right to go to school for Blemished boys.  Also, the Blemished girls are operated on by the government upon reaching the age of sixteen so that they lose their capacity to reproduce. This Operation has something malicious to it because it has resulted in women going a bit haywired. Most of the Blemished children are orphan or with parents who are not capable of taking good care for them.

All of these unfortunate circumstances made me root for Mina at the start. But as I was traversing along my read, I got really annoyed with Mina’s character and I doubt that the author deliberately made her an unlikable heroine. There were these tight situations where Mina has wounded into because she made a bad choice but she always gets saved at the last minute. And the ways she got out of trouble was always too-convenient and felt contrived for me.

Another thing that I don’t appreciate is the shallowness of Mina’s relationships. First, she got instantly close friends with Angela after she was betrayed by one supposed friend from Area 10. Second, I didn’t find any moment with Daniel or Sebastian swoon-worthy. I guess it’s because these moments were less romance and more teen hormones. Just like Daniel said, Mina is just curious. Third, there is this uncle whom she have known for only a matter of hours and then got captured by the Enforcers. (if the author is trying to pull a Sirius-Harry relationship here, it failed miserably). I will reserve my judgment on Mina’s relationship with her dad until I finished the series because he is a totally cool guy (Gandalf-cool) and I got the feeling that he has a major revelation on why he did what he did to Mina. Lastly,  I wish that Mina’s feelings for her mother, who left her for The Resistance when she was young and is now presumed dead was delved into deeper.  The narration is from Mina’s point of view so at least I was expecting  that in her late night thoughts she is either pining for her mother’s love or she is in rage for what her mother has done. But none or little of that in this book.

And speaking of the narration’s being in the first point of view, I wish that Mina’s insecurities as a Blemished and her fears of looming dangers are expressed more in her thoughts. But I guess, Mina ain’t got no time for deep ruminations like that because just as I said this girl is busy courting dangers like it’s her mad business. If there is one thing good that I can say about the book, it is the fast-paced, action-packed narration. It is the thing that kept me reading. I’ll pick up and read the sequel just to find out if Mina’s character will grow but not for now. There are book series where you want to immediately pick up the sequel but this book is not that for me. I guess I need to take a bit of a break from Mina’s streak of senseless trouble-making antics but I still want to see her succeed in the end.

Review: The Shack by William P. Young

Mackenzie Allen Philips' youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation, and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his "Great Sadness," Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend.

Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack's world forever.

In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant The Shack wrestles with the timeless question, "Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?" The answers Mack gets will astound you and perhaps transform you as much as it did him. You'll want everyone you know to read this book!
(cover image and summary lifted from Goodreads) 

Series: Standalone
Publisher: Windblown Media
Publication date: July 1, 2007
Source/Format: Bought/Paperback
Purchase links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository | NationalBook Store | Fully Booked

My Thoughts:
This is one of the books which I picked up and did not like at first then after a long time picked it up again then came to love it. I guess my reading mood was to blame. Looking back, I think the first time I tried to read it, I was looking for something intense and this book is not that. It is more a book for reflection and healing.

While reading, I was envious of the main character because he got to talk one-on-one with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and this woman called Sophia. He also got to eat home-cooked meals of The Father, got to tend the garden with the Holy Spirit, and got to try walking above water with the Son. Somebody might say that the idea of having a weekend retreat with the Trinity is too far-fetched but the author found a way to make it the reader be the judge if the events actually took place or not. A little kind of what Yan Martel did in Life of Pi's ending.

Another thing that I like about it is the abundance of inspirational quotes. I couldn't help but post some of them in my Goodreads status updates. Some are a little too long so I just highlighted my paperback copy so I can get back at them when I want to. Also worth noting is the chapter titles. I like it when the book has apt chapter titles.

Last thing I'm commenting on is the resolution of the main character's conflict with the abductor of his daughter, which was beautifully written. What I don't like is the resolution of the main character's conflict with his father. It felt a little contrived.

This book is all what it says it is and more. My main takeaway from it was how to have a forgiving heart both to myself and the others. Check it out if you are searching for some soul tranquility.

Sidenote: I don't believe in the Trinity but I was surprised how that did not affect my reading enjoyment.

My Rating:

Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow.

Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, for fifteen-year-old Christopher everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning. He lives on patterns, rules, and a diagram kept in his pocket. Then one day, a neighbor's dog, Wellington, is killed and his carefully constructive universe is threatened. Christopher sets out to solve the murder in the style of his favourite (logical) detective, Sherlock Holmes.

What follows makes for a novel that is funny, poignant and fascinating in its portrayal of a person whose curse and blessing are a mind that perceives the world entirely literally.

(cover image and summary lifted from Goodreads)

Series: Standalone
Publisher: Vintage Contemporaries
Publication date: May 18, 2004
Source/Format: Bought/Paperback

My Thoughts:
First, let me exclaim, “Yay, first blog post!” Maybe later I’ll relate in a separate post why I finally decided to create a book blog, but for now, let me whet your curiosity for this beautiful book.

I’ll begin by explaining how I came knowing about this magnificent piece of work. A few weeks back, I was snooping around my sister’s Instagram feed (because I don’t have my own account), adoring book photos and stuff. One of the pictures that really caught my attention was this book with a cute dog beside it. The next thing I know, I was picking up a copy in our local bookstore.

Bless that cute dog in Instagram, because this book did not disappoint. I am a slow reader but I flipped through the pages and finished my copy in no time. It’s that good.

The book was written in Christopher Boone’s point of view. His peculiar thoughts made Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory flash through my mind many times. For those who are familiar with the show, we all know how funny Sheldon Cooper is. He does not intend to be funny in his ways and yet we find him funny. That’s also how Christopher Boone is for me. I chuckled loads of times while reading, but I also tried to hold back my mirth because I felt that Christopher Boone would not appreciate me laughing at his thoughts. When he was feeling lost and out of control despite his genius, I would love to hug him and tell him it’s gonna be okay but I know that he would not want me to do those. See how confused this book made me feel? I love how this book messed me up.

Aside from confusion, there’s a whole lot more this book stirred up in me: like making me want to read all Sherlock Holmes literature; making me feel inadequate in math; making me understand autism a little; and making me inspired to be courageous. Christopher Boone is by all means a hero in my books for all the times he continued on in his truth-seeking adventure/detective work despite being uncomfortable and scared.

If you are still not convinced to check out this book by now, I will add that I really love the ending. It was not over the top but still heart-warming.

I can’t think of anything that I disliked about the book. Some folks might get intimidated by Christopher’s genius talk but it did not deter my enjoyment at all.

I am so glad that this book is my first review post because it’s a must-read. 

If you happen to have read the book already, I'd love to know your thoughts in the comments section.