The Lying Game – Ruth Ware

I have not read Ruth Ware’s other two novels but when I went to Columbus Metropolitan Library I saw the title and I felt that I heard it or I have seen the cover somewhere so I took it and read. Honestly, I completed this book in a day just because I knew the reason and the secret I just wanted to know what else was there.

The lying game picture

About the book:

It is a story where women walking in a beach finds a human bone. That women texts her 3 friends three words “I NEED YOU”. Then the three leave everything and come to the “Mill House”. These four friends are Isa Wilde, Kate Atagon (who texted), Fatima and Thea. These four girls were a tight nit clique in a boarding hostel called Salten House”. Kate and Thea knew each other, and Isa and Fatima were new comers and roommates. Kate’s father is their arts teacher who mysteriously disappeared and for unknown reasons they left Salten house a year or two before their year ended. These four played a game called “The Lying Game”. It had four rules they are:

  • Tell a lie
  • Stick to your story
  • Don’t get caught
  • Never lie to each other
  • Know when to stop lying

The book is narrated by Isa Wild. After 15 years Isa is a mother of 6 months old baby and is living with her boyfriend. She lies to him the moment she gets the text and leaves to meet Kate. Fatima was a Muslim but never practiced the beliefs and not she is a devoted surgeon and practices her religion where she has left drinking and prays five times a day. She has two kids and as soon as she is out of surgery she leaves to meet Kate. Thea then troubled now has a gaming license and she comes to meet Kate as soon as her shift ends. Kate who is still in the same town although scorned by most villagers still lives in her old house and paints. They all meet and although love each other are not comfortable at first.

The story moves back and forth how Isa first met Fatima on the train and they became friends and then how they met Kate and Thea and how they all became friends. Then the story moves to today and how they know that the discovered body is of him. Isa had a crush on Kate’s brother Luc and how he had rejected her and how he is still in town. After attending their high school reunion, they come back and everyone leaves. But, once they leave back in few days’ time they get  a blackmail photo. Isa contacts Fatima and Thea and they meet and shocked to know that all three received it and they decide to go back and confront Kate. To their dismay they go back only to realize that Kate was being blackmailed since long time ago and she has been paying the blackmailer off. They come to know someone knows the truth. In the end there is a lot of twists and turns and the book comes to an end.

My Review:

It was an okay book. I found the plot weak and to why did the book was named The Lying Game? First thing is that the four best friends lying was a game. However, the incident that happened and how they lied and have buried inside them is not a lie. They lied to people around them for fun but the incident is not something that was a result of one of their lies it was a complete different thing.

Second when Kate found the body why did she call all her three friends? She could have just let that thing remain like that.

Third, I don’t know why Thea is there in the first place. Kate and Thea knew each other and they were friends but she did not have a strong storyline. Kate is one of the central character as it is about how everything is related to her house and her. Isa is the story teller and she had Luc. Fatima can be considered important as she has a special close relation with Isa. But, Thea stands out. She just had close relationship with the other three but except that losing a job and being like how she was it makes no difference. If you remove that character and just consider Isa and Fatima meeting Kate on the train the story still works.

Fourth, while reading few chapters you come to know about what the secret is and there is honestly only one twist and I just read the book to get it over with. While reading the book “The Passenger” I came to know the significance of the title but the title for this book makes no sense.

The End.

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Into The Water – Paula Hawkins

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The story:

There were once two sisters who were nothing alike in their mannerisms. The eldest one is called Danielle Abott or Nel Abott. The younger one is called Jules Abott. The elder one is care free slim and loved by all boys and is dating the hot one. While the younger one is fat and chubby and considers herself as the black sheep of the family. They both are estranged now. Jules gets a  call from the detective that her sister was found dead and she needs to come back to her home town.

In their home town there is a famous suicide spot a cliff. Nel has always loved waters and was obsessed with it since she was a child. She always felt that water speaks to her. The story is said from mainly three peoples view post Nel’s death. First is form her sister Jules who sometimes seems jealous and at times despises her sister and recalls events that happened in their parents house. Then there is Lena Abott who is Nel’s daughter. Then there is Lena’s best friends brother Josh who knows something about his sister’s death. Josh’s family mostly his mother is very happy over the news that Nel is dead as she blames Nel for Katie’s death.

The story revolves around the fact that who killed Nel at the same spot “the cliff” where teenagers party all summer and since 1679 there have been deaths of women where some were sacrificed because they were wrongly accused of being a witch, or people committing suicide to get rid of their fears. Some even say that the cliff is where you dump unwanted womens. What led to Libby Sleton’s death in 1679, Lauren (1983), Anne Ward (1920), Lauren (1983), Katie’s death and Nel’s murder.

Will Lena and Jules come in good terms? Will Nel’s uncompleted draft book explain all of the question surrounding Jules. Will Jules come to know that during their childhood there were many misunderstandings? Finally will she understand Nel’s love and fascination with water?

Throughout the book you will meet many characters like Sean Townsend, Patrick Townsend, detective Erin Morgan Beckford form London, teacher Mark, Nickie Sage a local washed out Psychic and Mark Henderson. Someone or the other is somehow related to the whole story.

My View:

I liked this book more than the Girl on the Train. It has more flow to it and a reasonable explanation to things. I liked how each character mentioned has a personality and it fits well unlike Girl on the Train where the main character was not relatable at all for me. Better than the other book. You should give it a read.

The Girl On The Train – Paula Hawkins

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Story line:
Rachel is the girl on the train who travels through the same train at the same time every day. She observes two houses every day. One house has a husband, wife and a toddler. Second house is viewed by Rachel as a perfect couple where the husband and the wife are happy. The first family is her ex husband (Tom) and his new wife(Anna) for whom he left Rachel. The second family is Scott and his wife Megan. One day Rachel wakes up covered in blood and cuts on her face and head. She finds her clothes in a pile covered in blood. She was so drunk that she blacks out and doesn’t remember what happened to her. Rachel visits hospital and lies about the cuts and bruises and there she comes to know that Megan is missing. She knows somehow she is related to the matter but doesn’t know how.

Rachel:
In her 30s divorced unemployed and a drunk who blacks out easily. Her husband left her for some other women. She is a heavy drinker and blacks out constantly. But the night Megan disappeared she knows something and she was involved but doesn’t remember anything of that night. Anna is afraid of her behaviour and her roommate and landlady Cathy is very worried about her.

Anna:
She is the mistress turned wife to Tom. They have a beautiful toddler daughter and she is happy with her life. She is suspicious over Rachel. She hired Megan for a while as her daughters baby sitter.

Megan:
Megan is the missing women. She has a past that no one knows. She seems like a nice person form Rachel’s point of view but what lies is something very deep and something very strong and dark.

Tom:
The ex and current husband. Who has a wonderful life and still at times does care about Rachel.

Scott:
The IT husband and the man whose wife is missing.
The story follows where Rachel still not over her ex husband notices the two families. Then the story is said form Megan’s point of view where the story dates back a year 2013. Then Rachel’s one blackout night turned into the day Megan disappears. By the time story of Megan comes to the day she was missing there are so many things that happen. Rachel trying to find out what happened that night and how is she connected. Anna worried about Rachel’s erratic behaviour. All character is shady and has something to hide they lie all the time.
My opinion:
I found the book a good read but it did not live up to my expectations. I would like to say it did not live up to the hype the book had. It might be because I loved Gone Girl. There are not many suspense and twist and turns in the book. If I read this book before I read Gone Girl then I would love this book no doubt. Towards the end there was no surprise I knew who did it. There was no shock. Overall an okay read.

Dark Places – Gillian Flynn

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“I was not a lovable child, and I’d grown into a deeply unlovable adult. Draw a picture of my soul, and it’d be a scribble with fangs. “

 

Background:

Libby Day was seven years old when her brother killed the whole family. She was a prime witness and due to her testimony her Brother Ben Day is sentenced to prison. Since then she has moved on from living with one cousin to another and mostly with her mother’s sister Diane. Then she has received money and celebrated her birthday like a celebrity and even written a book about the massacre. When after 24 years there are no money senders and her case goes cold she is in need of cash. She opens a letter that day where she comes to know about someone who is willing to pay her money for her appearance. She contacts Lyle Wirth. He agrees with her and she comes for the meeting of Kill Club. Here she comes to know that most of them believe that her brother is innocent. They have their own theories. This leads to her doubting of what must have happened. Then the story starts.

What Libby saw the night of massacre.

She was asleep but wakes up and hears noises in Ben’s room like some argument. Then she goes to her moms room and sleeps with her mom only to wake up where her mom is not there and when she peeks down Ben is holding an axe saying why did you make me do this. Then she runs away and escapes where someone says just stay there sweetheart.

Story:

It is amazing. Kill Club helps her understand if her brother really did it or not. Slowly, uncovering everything that happened that day. Was her brother really a Satan worshipper? Was her brother really a molester? Did her brother really kill her whole family? If he did why was she spared?

My View:

I absolutely love the story. The story moves on where they show what Libby Day is doing in the current time. Then the book goes back to what happened since January 2 from the point of view of her mother Patty Day and her brother Benjamin/ Ben Day. As the story unfolds it is amazing. Who is the culprit? How Libby, Ben and Patty come together at one point. Who did commit the murders if not Ben? The evidence that Kill Club brings are amazing where they make her realize how the murders was seen as done by two different people. How her big sister of 12/13 Michelle Day was laid gently on the bed and how her second big sister Debby and Mother were brutally murdered. What she saw was it real? Or it was coerced by the lawyers and she said that. I loved the twist of what actually happened. Was Ben falsely accused? Ben has so many secrets that will shock Libby.

Overall:

Amazing read. Want to see how the movie turns out. If Gillian Flynn writes more similar books my interest might get lost in reading her novels. M tired of Vindictive, Vengeful Female characters. I love her books but like Gone Girl if she doesn’t surprise me then the next book of hers might be my last. Although it starts slow but once it grips then you speed up

Sharp Objects- Gillian Flynn

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“This Family Isnt Nuclear Its Toxic”

Story line:

Camille Preaker is a journalist based on Chicago newspaper. Her boss Curry is very fond of her and always encourages her. Curry finds out that in Wind Gap Missouri there are killings taking place. One girl was abducted and killed and the second one went missing just now. So as it is Camille’s hometown he asks her to go and write up a story for the paper. Camille agrees and head back to her hometown where she has estranged relationship with her mother and has a step sister named Amma who is 13 now. She goes to investigate the crime and ends up entangled in her past and her present. Camille lost her sister when she was 13 years old on her birthday. Since then she has been avid cutter. She starts cutting her body with words and being popular starts casual sex. She is glad to have left her hometown. Coming back investigating the case of two murdered girl she unveils so many things about her past and her mother and that leads to uncovering the death of her sister.

My opinion:

The debut novel of Gillian Flynn is amazing. It describes how the mother has Münchausen syndrome by proxy and the dangers of it. Being unloved by her mother Camille starts cutting herself. How her teenage step sister is popular and is into drugs and is physically active. She rules the school and kids are afraid of her. Then the town people and how small town are on their own and don’t accept the outsiders. As the story unfolds more and more things come to limelight that makes Camille question her behaviour and her love and care for her little sister. A drug and party out with her sisters makes them close. But, really? The consequences of everything lies somewhere inside her. There is a twist in the end where the culprit is found but the last few pages clears that it was not the case and someone else is responsible for the crime. How humans can be deceiving. How much attention does one want? How far can you go to feel the pain? How much can you take?

Reading the book made me question does it run in the family? Does your behaviour towards others is a form of feeling good yourself or you are doing something that your mom did? Sometimes you know deep inside something is wrong and you tend to not accept them coz accepting them can make you face the truth and slap reality across your face. It will only make you realize you were blind eye towards some facts.

I have read gone girl (got the book in Delhi during my trip not knowing it was going to be adapted into a movie). The neon orange color and the summary at the back appealed me. This book got it few days back along with Dark Places. Wanted to read this as its her debut novel. Awesome and simple read.

Gone Girl

Spoilers!

As the book says there are two sides to every story. The book is divided into 3 parts. First part is through Nick Dunne’s view after the disappearance and Amy Elliot Dunne’s diary entry of past couple of years. Second part is well Amy’s side of the story. The last part is the present and future of the two.

Background story: recession hits and both of them lose their jobs. They live in New York for a while until Nick gets a call from his twin sister Margo that their mother has cancer and has short time to live. So they leave the apartment and go and to Nick’s. Amy is the only child and her parents are famous author of the book series for children called “Amazing Amy”.

Part 1- Narration of Nick Dunne and Amy’s diary

The story goes on where on the fifth wedding anniversary Nick Dunne’s wife goes missing. The house shows struggle and blood being wiped out. Then the book portrays how Nick whose real name is Lance Nicholas Dunne. He is very laid back during the investigation and the story hints how he could be the killer. As the body is not found so the police cannot term it as a homicide. The first clue :

I picture myself as your student,

With a teacher so handsome and wise

My mind opens up (not to mention my thighs!)

If I were your pupil, there’d be no need for flowers

Maybe just a naughty appointment during your office hour

So hurry up, get going, please do

And this time I’ll teach you a thing or two.

 

This leads to Nick going to his office. There the police find underwear but not the size that Amy wears. There is a candlelight vigil being held. In the press conference before that Amy’s best friend claims that Amy was pregnant. No one knew she was pregnant. Then he gets the second clue in a blue envelope:

 

Picture me: I’m crazy about you

My future is anything but hazy with you

You took me here so I could hear you chat

About your boyhood adventures: crummy jeans and visor hat

Screw everyone else, for us they’re all ditched

And let’s sneak a kiss… pretend we just got hitched

 

He visits the place without police knowing and finds an envelope stuck in the benches. Meanwhile Nick has support from Amy’s parents and there are two kind of groups formed. People who believe that Amy was killed by him and who believe that he is innocent. Then the third clue states:

 

Maybe you feel guilty for bringing me here

I must admit it felt a bit queer

But it’s not like we had the choice of many a place

We made the decision: We made this our space.

Let’s take our love to this little brown house

Gimme some goodwill, you hot lovin’ spouse

 

When he enters the shed all he screams is no. The way he keeps telling a lie made me doubt him. It is because he does not even know his wife’s blood group, Amy’s insurance was bumped up to 1.5 million, he has purchased a lot from many credit cards and for the past one year he has been cheating with a 23 year old his college student named Andie. Andie is persistent on meeting him all the time. He also is in dilemma if he loves Andie or not. Then With the poems that Amy left he feels that old magic returning.

While Amy’s diary entry keeps on proving that how the married life was so blissful and she can see that Nick is not bothered with his wife and her priorities. The diary entries show that gap in the marriage and how she wants kids but Nick gives his parents death and illness as an excuse. She talks about Nick becoming violent and she is so scared that she has decided to buy a gun.

In the meanwhile Nick has a lawyer. He also comes to know through the lawyer that Amy was date raped by her boyfriend in between the time when nick met Ay for the first time and second.

 

Part 2: Amy’s confession

This part of the book shows how Amy knew about the affair and she made it look like all is Nick’s fault. From getting her purse to increasing her insurance and buying all the goods that was in the shed (credit card purchases) was all Amy’s doing. She was never pregnant. Ashe was tired of being “Amazing Amy”. The way she explains she is done pretending to be someone else. Guy’s love her because she puts on a different personality. But those guys never see the real Amy. She was the eight and miracle child of her parents. Her parents lost 5 children due to miscarriage and 2 due to still birth. So Amy was a miracle. The diary that police found was also fake accounts.

 

Nick seeing the items on the woodshed realizes that Amy is playing with him after all. He also comes to know all the places that Amy send him was nothing of importance to them but those are the places where he met Andie. It was indirect way of saying to Nick that she knew all along. Nick meets with Tommy o hara and he comes to know that he was also framed of the rape. They had consensual sex and after she leaves police show up saying Amy has ligature marks and she was raped. Police also find the ties under Tommy’s bed. Later Amy drops charges and sends anonymous message to Tommy (who started seeing someone else so Amy did all that). Then h also meets Hilary Handy who confesses that how Amy wanted her to be Suzy of her book. She also made Hilary go and tell Amy’s parents that she is Amy as a joke. Then made Hilary dye her hair and look like her and indirectly frame Hialry as a crazy obsessed over Amy.

 

Amy’s side of the story is something that is parallel to what was happening to Nick on the first part of the book. Amy changed her appearance. She has cut her hair short, suntanned her body and gained a little weight. All of them is opposite of what Amy looks like. She befriends two people at the lodge where she is staying and they end up doubting Amy and steal all the money she has. She calls her college boyfriend Desi. He takes her to the lake house. So she feels trapped and she wants to find a way out but she cannot and she starts watching the web videos of Nick where he wants Amy back (lie). Then she has few sleeping pills left and she seduces Desi to her bed and has sex with him. She makes martini for him full of sleeping pills and he dozes off. She kills him and escapes.

 

Part3: Together forever

 

Here Amy returns to Nick. Everyone is happy. Then Nick asks her what the story is. Then she makes him strip so that he is not wired and takes him to the shower so that when the shower is on even if the house is bugged no one can hear. The police find that Ay was indeed raped and kept as hostage. She flawlessly tells a false story of how she was abducted and she did everything as self defense that led to Desi being killed. They live as if nothing happened. Meanwhile Nick is meeting with his sister and the officer and tells then she confessed and fake pregnancy. But somehow they cannot prove it. Then Amy getting a book deal ticks Nick. So every night he goes and writes his version of the story. Amy knows about that but she cannot crack the code. One fine morning Nick completing his manuscript gives them to Amy saying he is going to publish no matter what. But Amy tells nick that she is pregnant. He is shocked that nothing as such has happened between them. But he is too foolish to even doubt her. She shows that she really is pregnant by peeing in a stick in front of Nick. So knowing that it’s a boy he throws away his script and accepts Amy. He does all that for his son as he knows that everyday Amy has to live by pretending to be someone she is not.

 

It is one of the good books that I have read this year. The movie is also coming out and they said the story line will deviate from the book. But I want to see the twist and how they pull it off. My view is that once you get so addicted to one person you somehow find a way to be with that one. No matter if the person is crazy and a threat to the society. You know that the other person gets you totally inside and out.