Monthly Archives: May 2019

Review: The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton

The Perfect GirlfriendThe Perfect Girlfriend turns the “crazy ex” thriller on its head a bit by taking us inside the mind of one of the craziest ex’s you’ll ever meet.

Since Nate asked Juliette for some time and space, she’s been more than willing to give it to him. Eventually, he’ll realize what Juliette has known since they first met — they are meant for each other. In the meantime, Juliette still has Nate’s keys, his passwords, and multiple social media accounts to keep up with all his moves. She wants their paths crossing again to look completely natural and not planned down to the last detail.

Karen Hamilton’s debut novel puts us inside Juliette’s head, getting to know her motives and justifications in her lifestyle makeover and pursuit of Nate. Early on, Juliette hints there may be things from Juliette’s past in play that make the whole game to win Nate back a bit more twisted and devious than it might appear at first. Hamilton walks a fine line between creating sympathy for Juliette and readers being horrified at the lengths she will go to in order to win Nate back.

The first three-quarters of the novel unfolds with a growing sense of dread, tension, and growing horror at just how far Juliette is willing to go. But in the first quarter of the book, things begin to slowly break down as revelations surface and narrative threads come together. And it’s at this point that the book begins to lose a bit of its momentum and comes to a close that isn’t satisfying. The actual ending of the book is a bit abrupt and really left me wondering if there wasn’t an extra chapter or two somewhere on the cutting room floor.

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Top Ten Tuesday: The Movie is Better

 

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Time again for Top Ten Tuesday hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week,  we have an adaptation from novel to screen freebie.  It’s easy to say the book is better and in many cases it is. But there are times when the screen adaptation ends up being more enjoyable than the source material.  Here are a few:

  1.  The Godfather by Mario Puzo.  Given the iconic status of the movie version, it’d be easy to assume the book is awesome too.  After all, Puzo did adapt his novel for the silver screen.  And yet, reading the book, I wasn’t overly impressed with it in quite the same way as I was with the movie.
  2. Jaws by Peter Benchley.  Another iconic film that you’d assume the source material is awesome.  The screen versions hones the book down to its essentials and it’s much better for it.  The book has so many unlikeable characters that by about halfway through it, I was rooting for the shark to just eat everyone already and be done with it.
  3. Forrest Gump by Winston Groom.  If you love the movie, avoid this book at all costs. Forrest goes to outer space, is lost on a deserted island, and becomes good friends with a space chimp.   Oh, and the reason Jenny loves him in the book has less to do with the size of his heart and more the size of something else…
  4. The Spy Who Loved Me by Ian Fleming.  Even Fleming knew this was a terrible book.  When he sold the screen rights to the Bond books, one of his demands was that while they could use the title from this book, the book itself couldn’t be adapted.  And it’s a good thing since this one is a first-person narrated story by a woman, trapped in a hotel with some killers until Bond shows up in the last few pages to save the day.
  5. Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle.  The movie takes the basic premise and runs with it in an entirely different direction. Thank heavens. This one tries hard to have a twist, but it’s so silly.
  6. The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R..R. Tolkien.  Before Fellowship of the Ring hit theaters, I joined a Barnes and Nobel on-line read-a-long of the books, hoping this was the time I could slog through them all.  I left the group when some participants were posting long diatribes that the movies were leaving out small details from the books and, thus, ruining them.  Again, this was BEFORE the movies came out.  I’ve tried hard to enjoy the books but find them a bit of a slog.  The movies eliminate page upon page of walking around and simply get us there.

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Throwback Thursday: Pet Sematary by Stephen King

Throwback Thursday is a weekly feature hosted by Tenacious Reader to highlight books from the past. It can honestly be anything as long as its not a book that is a current release. Maybe its a book that I read and reviewed and just want to highlight, maybe its a book I read before I started reviewing or maybe its a book that has a sequel coming out soon or maybe its a backlist book from my TBR that I just want to revisit and decide if I will make the time to read. Pretty much, anything goes. 

StephenKingPetSemataryI “discovered” Stephen King in my teens, starting with Firestarter. While that one didn’t do much for me, I quickly moved onto Cujo and that one scared the fool out of me.  From that point onward, I was hooked and I’ve been an avid fan of King ever since.

Somewhere along the way, I read Pet Sematary.  Like Cujo, it unnerved me while reading it and parts of it have stuck with me to this day.  I think King has never tapped into fear more than in the scene when Louis tries to keep his toddler son, Gage, from running into the road.  It unnerved me then and it unnerves me today.

I’m re-reading the book via audiobook and finding that it’s still as intense and riveting as when I first read it.  I just got to the sequence in question when Gage dies and it’s still unnerving as all get out.  And I’ll admit that part of me finds irony in the fact that a lot of my listening is during runs, pushing Shortcake in her stroller.  We run on the sidewalk on a busy road and I’m a bit worried at times when I can see the large percentage of people paying more attention to their cellular devices than watching the road.

In his new introduction to the book, King admits that this novel is one that scares even him and that he wasn’t planning to publish it.  But he had to fulfill a contract and so he took it out of his desk drawer and published it.

I’ve seen the original movie version and, quite frankly, it didn’t bother me nearly as much as the novel did.  I’m intrigued to see the new movie, even though they made some changes, and see if it can capture the blood-chilling nature of the book.   I’ve seen articles that call the book unfilmable and I have to admit part of me thinks this may be true.

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