Monday, May 25, 2015

Book Reports: The Farm and The Girl on the Train

So, remember how much I loved the Silo Saga, by Hugh Howey?  Well, the reason I picked up the first one is because I saw an ad for it, sort of like a billboard, but in the tube station. So when I saw one for The Farm, I snapped a pic of it to remember to read it, but it wasn't until I saw a preview for Child 44 (because I love all caps LOVE Tom Hardy) that I remembered I wanted to check it out.  In case anyone is ever wondering how I choose books...completely at random and based on movie previews for OTHER books.  Weirdo.

Anyway, The Farm by Tom Rob Smith was a winner for me, I loved it.  After I read it, here's what I had to say: I dunno, I just really liked it! It wasn't extremely well written, in fact I sort of hated the mom's narration parts, and it wasn't a mind blowing plot, but I couldn't put it down! Just a super fun read. Well, as fun as it could be, considering the horrific subject matter...

I don't often read crime drama (unless you consider Jack Reacher crime drama...) but I think this was pretty standard crime drama fodder.  It was fast paced, it kept my interest, I figured out the plot ahead of time but that didn't really spoil the experience for me, I was completely satisfied with the ending...just an all around fun time.  Which is odd because... the subject matter gets sort of dark.  But hey, it is what it is, I had fun reading this book.

Now Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins? PASS.

Big. Fat. Pass.

Anyone who says it was better than Gone Girl? Stop being her friend.  You don't need that in your life right now.  Here's my quick and dirty review right after I finished: Huh. I keep trying to think of something polite or positive or constructive to say but... all I am is underwhelmed. People liked this better than Gone Girl? Why? I'm not being sassy, I'm curious. I loved Rachel but I don't think Tom was well written. And Anna was fabulously nasty. I'm still confused though- was Megan sleeping with the shrink or not? Ugh. I'd have to say three stars. Not even three and a half. Sorry lady.

Then I went back and changed it to two stars, and honestly, if I wanted to bother, I'd go change it to one.  Just no. I did NOT like this book at all. And I feel like the end was a total cop out, sort of like the end of the first season of Broadchurch.  Like, the surprise wasn't well laid out and just so well written that you don't guess at it, it's just totally made up and not plausible at all. 

Now, for a more in depth look at The Farm, from the back of the book: If  you refuse to believe me, I will no longer consider you my son.

Daniel believed that his parents were enjoying a peaceful retirement on a remote farm in Sweden. But with a single phone call, everything changes. 

Your mother...she's not well, his father tells him. She's been imagining things - terrible, terrible things. She's had a psychotic breakdown, and been committed to a mental hospital. 

Before Daniel can board a plane to Sweden, his mother calls: Everything that man has told you is a lie. I'm not mad... I need the police... Meet me at Heathrow.
Caught between his parents, and unsure of who to believe or trust, Daniel becomes his mother's unwilling judge and jury as she tells him an urgent tale of secrets, of lies, of a crime and a conspiracy that implicates his own father.

It was just a good story, I don't know what else to say. Again, I sort of found the mother's narration jarring, and much more than half the book is told by her.  She's sort of rehearsed what she wants to say, so it's very robotic and almost emotionless? I don't know.  I can see why Smith wanted to go that route, it just didn't work perfectly with me.

That being said, I devoured it.  I was invested in ALL the characters, I thought they were all gorgeously written, three dimensional, very real.  Very believable.  Nothing that happened came out of left field, nothing defied belief, and I thought the ending was just about perfect.  All in all, just a great read.  I'll definitely be reading more Tom Rob Smith, even if he doesn't get anymore tube station billboard ads ;)

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