• Thank you for visiting Buffy-Boards. You obviously have exceptional taste. We just want you to know that:
    1. You really should register so you can chat with us!
    2. Twelve thousand people can't be wrong.
    3. Buffy-Boards loves you.
    4. See 1 through 3.
    Come on, register already!

Pt1: Now: Boxing day December 2016 - Then: Tuesday December 20th (afternoon)

Taake

Prophet of the Lord
Staff member
Joined
Jan 1, 2010
Messages
15,896
Age
34
Location
Stockholm, Swe
Black Thorn
This is the place to discussion the first part of the book. Feel free to post.

I'll tentatively start this one with a generic question: what is your first impression of the book and its characters?
 

Taake

Prophet of the Lord
Staff member
Joined
Jan 1, 2010
Messages
15,896
Age
34
Location
Stockholm, Swe
Black Thorn
Positives: I think there is an interesting set up here with the whole “sometimes I lie”, it suggests that Amber is an unreliable narrator and that we can’t really trust anything she says. This is tricky as we only get her perspective and, I, think kind of makes this story. At least for me who, already, so throughouly dislike Amber that I can’t say I care whether she lives or dies. Yes, I’m terrible.
I enjoy the writing, though sometimes it feels overwritten (not everything needs to be described in extreme and poetic detail) there are moments when Feeney really strikes home with descriptions like how a body is propelled out of the front window of a car “wearing a cape of a thousand shards of glass”, which really paints the picture. I expect that Feeney will become a brilliant writer as she goes along, honing her skills. Again, the writing isn’t bad now, I just feel that it sometimes lacks a “natural” flow.

That said, just like the shards of glass there are other moments that feel very scenic. Like the dead robin. I can “see” it on screen already. No wonder this is being turned into a series 😉

Negatives: Amber.
First of all, she’s quite the Negative Nelly, like this overly verbiose self-deprecating wet-blanket with severe narcissim and a victim mentality to boot. Her thoughts are like an endless pity party about how her husband doesn’t pay attention to her, what a bitch her boss is, how her parents don’t love her enough (or how they forgot her when her sister was born), and how perfect her sister is and how she fits into these tiny outfits that Amber could never fit into.
This combined with the fact that she’s horribly judgemental, seems to think she’s more important than she is (she’s offended people at the hospital don’t know who she is at her radio job when she’s only been there six months?), and that she seems wholly self-centered, makes for a terrible character.
Like her husband likes to call a shed in their yard a cabin, and she’s all “I like to call things what they really are”. Not to mention her running into her ex and thinking “Of course he’s moved on” … seriously?! Of course he’s moved on, the married woman thinks about a man she dumped ten years ago... ehm, yeah? Was he supposed to pine for you forever?

She also thinks that no matter how hard she tries to keep her and Paul together, the more they drift apart, but like... so far she doesn’t seem to be working in the least to keep them together?

I don’t really mind flawed character, but I need something that’ll make me interested in them. Like plenty of the Game of Thrones characters are interesting even though they’re, almost, objectively terrible people. So far, the only Amber has going for her is that she has suggested that she is a liar so I can’t trust any of her assessments of what’s going on.

Now, if that wasn’t long enough. Prepare for a rant that you’re free to skip.
I hate Amber’s background. It literally pisses me off. The whole she has some kind of OCD ticks and she comes from a troubled / poor / possibly abusive home. As someone who did come from one of those, I feel like this and mental trouble is becoming far too much of a gimmick in media. It seems to be the case now that a character can’t be “complex” unless they’re also dark and troubled. People seem to think that dark and depressing = good (and might get awards). Wanting in on that Gone Girl – Sharp Objects – Eleanor Oliphant etc action I suppose. Sorry for being a bit of a negative Nelly myself, just feel like this is becoming a trope that’s reaching over-saturation.


All that said, what are your impressions so far?

Who’s the girl from her dream?
What do you think of her sister and husband?
Also, what do you guys think about her schemes to get her job back?
Do you like Amber so far?
 
Bluebird
Bluebird
That trope bothers me too, very gimmicky like you say. Cheap tactics used a lot with mental illness in general, which doesn't match reality, and probably does a lot of harm in stigmatising certain illnesses.

Foxy

I am cookie dough!
Joined
Dec 15, 2014
Messages
965
Age
23
Location
Usually the Netherlands
Sineya
I just read the first part and have to say I am quite enjoying it so far. I don't read a lot of these types of books, so it is a nice change of pace.

@Taake I personally don't mind Amber so far, I do agree with your point about her being a negative Nancy a bit. Although, it hasn't bothered me as much as it has bothered you.

I have to say this book is a really easy read. I will speed through this in no time.

I have to say I like Jo and I hope we get to see more of her.

I do enjoy the unreliable narrator, because I am constantly questioning what is a lie and what isn't.

One thing for sure, I can totally see SMG playing this character. I already picture her while I am reading this.

Off to read more now :)
 

Taake

Prophet of the Lord
Staff member
Joined
Jan 1, 2010
Messages
15,896
Age
34
Location
Stockholm, Swe
Black Thorn
Glad you’re enjoying it! I agree that it is an easy read :)

This makes me wonder if I would’ve like Amber better if I had read it myself (rather than listened to it). I think about that some time, how narrators effect your experience of a book. This narrator is fine but sounds very whiny all the time... she is also British so I can’t picture SMG in the role just now, lol
 

Buffy Summers

Yataro
Staff member
Joined
Nov 20, 2001
Messages
31,618
Location
The City of Angels
Sineya
I don't feel like they would have her do a British accent. They seem to do US tv like Americans don't understand them lol - I don't feel like they would have this set in England.

I don't hate Amber, but I don't like her either. I guess I'm a bit over the whole, "I was so pretty in my twenties and now I'm 35 and the Cryptkeeper" thing. She has a heck of a lot going for her but acts like her life is terrible. Having said that, there are some things she says that resonate, like when she talks about how she's perfected all the roles other people have cast her in, suggesting the person she presents is not the real her.

I wish they'd left out the OCD stuff. Not that I know very much about it, but I feel like it's not being portrayed accurately, and if you aren't going to do it right, you shouldn't put it in. I'm sure the other is trying to say something about Amber's state of mind with it, so I don't think she put it in for no reason, but I'm not sure it's needed. We see into her thoughts, we don't need the physical manifestation of them.

I did like the idea that things she's saying might be lies.

Like Foxy said, this isn't the type of book I would normally read, but I am enjoying reading it. It would be nice if the glaringly obvious "Paul & Claire are having an affair" has an unforeseen twist to it though.
 
Foxy
Foxy
About the OCD thing, it is totally irrelevant to the story. I don't get why it's there in the first place.

Spanky

Scooby
Joined
Aug 12, 2008
Messages
20,004
Black Thorn
I don't feel like they would have her do a British accent. They seem to do US tv like Americans don't understand them
I think its funny on some of the shows where a person from the UK talks and they have subtitles as if they aren't speaking english.
 
Foxy
Foxy
We do that in the Netherlands too though. All them farmers getting subtitles!

Grace

Destructo-Girl
Joined
Mar 23, 2017
Messages
1,788
Black Thorn
I’m enjoying the book so far too! I agree with pretty much everything so far in the thread. The concept is cool, being put on alert for a unreliable narrator is a great element, and the writing is good.

I also agree that I don’t like Amber all that much so far, but I’m still interested in her. Having a terrible family and a failing marriage and a looming job loss seems like a little much, but I suppose we need a lot of whodunnit fodder. And who knows what might be true or not.

I’m especially interested to see how the misinformation campaign against the radio host goes. I’ve had some experience with people like that (and obviously so has Feeney, working for the BBC), so it’s a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. ;) I’m guessing something will go wrong, though!
 

Taake

Prophet of the Lord
Staff member
Joined
Jan 1, 2010
Messages
15,896
Age
34
Location
Stockholm, Swe
Black Thorn
Almost, almost feeling bad for my hatred of Amber now. Almost.

Having said that, there are some things she says that resonate, like when she talks about how she's perfected all the roles other people have cast her in, suggesting the person she presents is not the real her.
Good point, once upon I studied role theory (in a religious context) but it adresses things like this and how difficult it is to break out of a role you've been cast in/adopted because the people around you will not easily allow it. So you're kind of trapped.

But I do really like that she's an established liar, but mostly that we see the difference between Amber outwards and what she's thinking... cause let's be honest, we all self-censor a bit what we say and what we think, lol.

I’m especially interested to see how the misinformation campaign against the radio host goes. I’ve had some experience with people like that (and obviously so has Feeney, working for the BBC), so it’s a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. ;) I’m guessing something will go wrong, though!
Lol, really? People are scheem? That's hilarious. That was what seemed the most far fetched to me, haha, guess I'm not in enough of a cut throat business ;)
 

Grace

Destructo-Girl
Joined
Mar 23, 2017
Messages
1,788
Black Thorn
Lol, really? People are scheem? That's hilarious. That was what seemed the most far fetched to me, haha, guess I'm not in enough of a cut throat business ;)
Ha, no. I mean I've worked with people who are very talented and pleasant on air but divas behind the scenes. I find the scheming more entertaining than realistic, I would say.
 

Taake

Prophet of the Lord
Staff member
Joined
Jan 1, 2010
Messages
15,896
Age
34
Location
Stockholm, Swe
Black Thorn
Ha, no. I mean I've worked with people who are very talented and pleasant on air but divas behind the scenes. I find the scheming more entertaining than realistic, I would say.
Slightly disappointed, I was hoping for some stories about backstabbing and drama! :p
 

Puppet

Actual size.
Joined
Aug 1, 2017
Messages
5,827
Age
30
Location
Denmark
Black Thorn
Wow, do I not agree with many of you :D

I'm already really enjoying this book and there are two things I love; one is Amber. Her character is just great, I love that she is not so much a likable character/person, and clearly has so many flaws. I also like what @Taake mentioned about keeping in mind while reading that sometimes she lies. The other thing I love is that Amber has OCD. So to answer the one who brought it up earlier, yes, it's being portrayed correctly.

I was diagnosed with OCD at 18, but have probably lived with it for most of my life. I noticed it less than a page into the story, I read that passage about turning knobs and instantly thought, with excitement, 'does she have OCD?'. For me, it feels like representation, which is beyond awesome. On top of that, it's very real. It doesn't take up all of her thoughts, just happens now and then. My favorite part about it, so far, is that she hasn't thought the words. My wish is that, by the end of the book, the word OCD won't have been mentioned once. I want it to just be this minor thing that doesn't need to be discussed because it's not something Amber thinks about anymore, it's just there. Much like what it's like to live day-to-day with OCD.

My only real issue is that speech is in ' brackets, when I'm so used to ". But that's a small thing, really.

So here's my vision of that night; Amber comes home and finds something (I thought affair with Claire first, but now I'm not so sure) fights with her husband, runs away and takes the car. She says she never drives it, but she could've been so upset she just wanted a quick getaway. Then there's Paul's bruised hand, but it seems too obvious that he is directly responsible for her injuries. Perhaps indirectly...we'll see.

I'm enjoying it and I agree that the writing occasionally gets really good. I'd say my favorite example is the last few pages with the bird.
 

brinkster130

Riley's BFF
Staff member
Joined
Oct 28, 2010
Messages
6,223
Location
Los Angeles
Sineya
Finally starting the book.

The first part was ok, I'm not hooked but I think there is potential.

Amber's diary entries were probably my favorite part. Oh, and I enjoyed her and Jo's plot against Madeline.

I'm not a fan of parts about Claire and Paul. I just don't enjoy the whole is my husband having an affair with my perfect sister thing.
 
Taake
Taake
The my sister is so perfect thing gets tired fast, agree

nightshade

Your grandfather is a cat
Staff member
Joined
Mar 13, 2009
Messages
8,521
Location
England
Black Thorn
First thoughts:

I didn't think I would get into it this quickly, but it's an easy one to read.

It does feel kinda repetitive in places.

I'm curious about the diary entries, they mention moving a lot, but not Claire.

I do like the idea of Jo and Amber scheming to get rid of Madeleine
 

Mylie

Scooby
Joined
Dec 1, 2016
Messages
2,064
Age
31
Just started the book!

I can't say I'm a fan of the writing style but I'm definitely intrigued about where this is all going.

I don't find the characters likeable so far but I think that's the point. They all seem very jaded and I'm not sure yet if that's good or not (for my enjoyment of the story), I just hope that it won't be too one-note.

I already don't find Amber a reliable narrator so I'm hoping that there is more to the story than that. That said, there are numerous things intriguing me at the moment (the Paul/Claire thing, Amber/Madeline, how Amber got injured before the "accident", is it really an accident or a murder?, etc." and I'm looking forward to getting some answers.

So overall,
Writing : 7
Characters : 5
Intrigue : 8
 
Top Bottom