Girl Last Seen (Nina Laurin)

Two missing girls. Thirteen years apart.

An intense psychological thriller for readers of I Am Watching You, The Luckiest Girl Alive, and All the Missing Girls.

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Girl Last Seen is a fascinating thriller told from the perspective of an unreliable narrator… sidenote: that phrase is so funny. When I first saw it on my reading challenge list I was perplexed over what it meant. I could only think of the narrator of an audiobook … one who wasn’t so good at his/her job, who mispronounced the characters’ names? Then I realized, it is the character telling the story, s/he is the narrator. And Laine(y) is a perfect example of this.

Annnd, getting back on topic…

Lainey is a mess. She had a disastrous youth, even before her kidnapping, but she has not healed or adapted well at all. She has abandonment and trust issues, intimacy problems and is a drug addict. Although not recognized as an alcoholic in the story, she also uses hard liquor to drown out her inner demons. She believes she is a fuck-up and that she can never be good because of what happened to her.

Lainey experiences severe emotional and behaviour disorders. As the main (and only POV) character, she is difficult for most readers to relate to but her past trauma is very easily believed as a result.

I’m not sure what it was that bothered me, but I had the hardest time getting through this audiobook. Halfway through I switched to the physical book and finished it in one sitting!

Always remember that if you are having trouble with a novel, maybe something so simple as changing the medium will help.

In Girl Last Seen, Laurin takes a very commonplace core idea of a thriller and writes it from a completely new perspective – one that I haven’t seen anyone else approach before. This helped keep the book fresh in a genre that is exploding with bestsellers right now. I can’t get into the specifics without spoiling it so I will leave it at that.

I did know who was behind the mystery in the end, and there was no one else I ever seriously considered. I wish it had been written with a few more levels to make it harder to discern the identify of the person.

Girl Last Seen is a easy-to-read gripping thriller that is written by a stellar new Canadian author.

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xx

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The Handmaid’s Tale (2017)

A few months ago I mentioned in my review of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale that I was hurrying through the book to be able to watch the new series on Bravo.

Tonight was the season finale and it was amazing.

This is one of the few shows that – in my opinion – has far surpassed the depth and entertainment value of the novel.

I love admire am in awe of the world of Gilead that the show’s creators have created, from the descriptions in Atwood’s novel. It is not a place I would want to live in, though I very much fear that it is the direction some parts of the world are headed in (you listening Missouri?!)

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I don’t want to talk to much about the plot and ruin it, but I will say that the show has built on the base structure provided by the book and made it better. You see the Mexican and Canadian approaches to the collapse of the United States and even though villains abound in Gilead, there are few characters I cannot empathize with, or feel sorry for, at some point in the tale.

Even Mrs. Waterford.

I find myself bouncing between disgust at her actions and pity for the world she has trapped herself in, one partially of her own creation.

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Nick is the most difficult character for me to pin down. He seems to be a decent guy but he isn’t a bystander in Gilead. He is an active participant. An undercover Eye. Nick was a member of the coup that took down the government of the United States of America. He knows June has a daughter and he isn’t helping them. He isn’t the good guy as much as we I may be rooting for him to be.

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The most exciting point in the finale for me, was the first glimpse of Hannah in Gilead and I cannot wait for the second season to begin airing!

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xx

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(or, as seen on Bravo if you’re Canadian)

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

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Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…

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Well I finally finished reading The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.  I had read part of it years ago as a pre-teen, when I was lured in by this evocative cover, but it was too heavy and intellectual for me at the time.

I was motivated to read it again now because of the tv show airing on Bravo. Once again, it was the visuals – in this case the trailer – that drew me in, but book nerd that I am, I had to read the book first. I read it in two sessions, but those sessions were a couple of months apart.

I loved the premise behind this story, the post-apocalyptic world that Atwood imagines, and its beginnings eerily reflect some of the current news circling the world.

Unfortunately, I didn’t love her writing style. And I really detested the end of the book. This story was largely character-based, but it is the plot that drew me in. In effect, essentially nothing happens throughout most of the story, and the ending felt like a huge cliffhanger. I felt as if I should only be halfway through the book when in actuality I was finished.

If you are a reader who likes to delve into the nuances of a character and reader the minute internal emotional journey they undergo, this is probably a great book for you. If you are more of a plot-based fan who wants things to move along at a faster clip, try the show instead. I am loving it much more.

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xx