Girl on the Train

Gone Girl meets Rear Window? Sign me up.
Sadly, this book was neither Gone Girl or Rear Window, but it was an entertaining romp. It’s a nice beach read for when you don’t need or want to think that hard because the ending is fairly obvious. Due to it’s references to Gone Girl and a twist, I was looking for the twist the entire time. My favorite of my own twists was (spoiler alert!) that Rachel had a psychotic break, creating an entire second world for herself. There is only one couple, Tom and Scott are the same person. They basically are the same character, nice, good looking guy to the outside world, secret devil when pushed. Their houses are exactly the same layout therefore Rachel knows where everything is in Megan and Scott’s. Come on! Of course Megan must be missing, because she can’t compete with herself. Rachel consoles Scott, right. See what a golf club hole in the wall and being blamed for a marriage’s demise can do to a person? I think this would be a more interesting book, but alas, it was not so.

I found it challenging to endure Rachel making one self-destructive choice after another. Get yourself together, girl! You have at least a friend and your mother who will help you. You had a bad life blow, things didn’t work out the way you wanted, but are you going to let that ruin the rest of your life. How much lower can you go than getting fired, sleeping with a missing woman’s husband and going to see the same missing woman’s shrink? You never met her. How could involving yourself possibly be the sane choice. Spend your time in AA! But then we wouldn’t have this novel would we? And an alcoholic stabbing someone with a cork screw… come on. 10 on the obvious meter.

Despite my description above, I liked this book. If Gone Girl had never existed, I may have loved it. But the gauntlet has been thrown and standards are higher now. I enjoyed my own imagining of what could be more than the actual book, however it was the book that inspired those dreams. So.. enjoy this at the beach, the plot will keep you interested.

O’re the Ramparts We Watched

Today, on the 200th anniversary of Francis Scott Key writing the poem which would one day become the national anthem of the United States, I write my thoughts on the best book I’ve read this year: All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr. This novel is the only place I have ever seen the word ramparts used aside from the national anthem, and it must be used 25 times over the course of the book. So many times that I finally looked up what it meant (how embarrassing to not know!).
Rampart:
noun
1.
Fortification.
a broad elevation or mound of earth raised as a fortification around a place and usually capped with a stone or earth parapet.
such an elevation together with the parapet.

2.
anything serving as a bulwark or defense.

Got it? No? Here are some ramparts right on the cover of the book:
All The Light We Cannot See

Ramparts play an important role in the book, as one primary setting is a town in France nearly surrounded by water, definitely invaded by Germans, during WWII.

But I digress. I adored this book. I learned new things. I saw things through the perspective of others, including a blind girl, not a pun. And yet, the light we cannot see is not a reference to her blindness, that would be too obvious for such a multifaceted novel. I thought the novel was describing the German occupation of France from two perspectives: a French girl and a German boy. I thought that was a fantastic framework to use, one character from each side, one from each sex, children – so they “see” the war through less jaded eyes or perhaps become jaded as a result. The short chapters from each to really show the contrast in their lives. Each of them, in addition to being children, has lost at least one parent, so they are less protected than other children How terrifying that must of been (and yet Marie will tell us she is not brave, she gets up and lives her life, as she must). The light they cannot see is the good in others, the life of a child who does not grow up terrified by war? Oh the many perspectives on the same historical events, making one think of all the other untold stories we will never know. Fantastic.

Then I heard the author speak on the novel. The above wasn’t what he set out to write. No, he was writing about the use of radios in the war, the transmissions the light we don’t see (I think). The children were the framework to tell that story. And I thought how people look at the same thing in so many different ways To me, the radio was a minor character, not the point, to the author, something else. It’s his work, perhaps he should drive the meaning, but I’ve learned that what we perceive is how we view reality. So for me, it’s about these two characters and their perspective of the war. And I’m not wrong, and I feel I’ve gained from reading it and thinking about the story long after (especially the occasional end of chapter shocker which felt like it cut me).

Minor Spoiler alert
The only part I that was a bit much for me was the diamond story, which would vanish for long segments of the book. Let’s say the diamond ends up in the ocean. I could almost hear Celone Dion singing my heart will go on and Marie whispering that Werner saved her, looking back on it from 2014. No ‘you jump, I jump’, but still.

Read this book immediately. The story, the writing, the detail, you will not regret it.

So I’m Back to the Blog

I’ve been away lo these many months, but I do want to get back to blogging. I’ve still be writing, journaling, and more. The need to put something out there publicly, to drive something to be ‘published’ is strong. I’m trying to decide if I want to commit to writing something here every single day (come on, I must have at least one thought worth sharing every day.. or at least I hope I do) or a few times a week, but perhaps for longer or maybe both. hmm….
I recently read Decisive by the Heath Brothers, they recommend expanding ones options. Try not to get into this OR that. Could it be this AND that? So for this blog, does it matter which thing I commit to doing, as long as I commit to something? So yeah, my goal is three longer (and by longer I mean 500 words, not dissertations) blog posts per week, but at least a quip let’s say 5 times a week. It’s good to have goals. It’s good to stretch..