I remember all the praise this book was getting a few years ago but still didn’t expect to like it quite as much as I did. Usually, I need likable characters to like a book but I’m willing to call this a special exception. I didn’t really like anyone or anyone they were pretending to be. But I did like the concept that every single character was sort of playing the person they knew they were supposed to be in a situation such as this. I think that was my favorite thing about the book. Aside from that, I loved that it left me uncertain of who I want to come out on top which in turn made it so that any outcome was satisfactory in it’s own way.
Given its previous popularity, I don’t think I need to go on about how good it was, I’m a few years too late for that. Instead, I’m going to take a minute to look through the feminist lens. There are several types of women represented in this book and I love the way that they are discussed. No one is presented as perfect. They are all presented through the perspective and judgement of the point of view characters, but the POV characters also rationalize their judgement or argue against it. It leaves no one as perfect and no one as better, even though the POV characters clearly think they are better than the people they are judging. It makes them getting caught up in this or that scenario that much more entertaining too. So, big picture wise, this applies to all the characters, men and women. As far as the feminist goes, these things play into that women can be really unlikable characters too and not just for being “catty” or “bitchy” or whatever other word that people like to use to sideline our issues with the world or each other. Some people are just bad people and sometimes they zero in on each other instead of the innocent. Of course, there were probably innocents along the way as well.
The story plays out in a seriously distorted way and I was about halfway through when I realized how much I didn’t like any of these characters but how much I wanted them all to get it in the end. And then the end happened and it was all the things that I have hated about some people but I still really enjoyed them going miserably through it. It felt like people getting exactly what they deserved while looking like it’s not. Some of these characters do every single thing that I hate, not just the lying but the lies they tell, and it’s so satisfying to see them end with what they end up with. I even like the way the “winner” wins despite how much I really don’t like them or their tactics.
I did watch the movie shortly after as well and was surprised by how few changes were made to such a long book. I liked the movie just as much and adore the casting choices. I remember thinking that Affleck had to be the most perfect choice for Nick but then Neil Patrick Harris as Desi was amazing. I wasn’t so sure about Rosamund Pike at first because I never really saw her so eager to please as the diaries make Amy seem, but she made it work a lot better than I expected.
Altogether, I was pleasantly surprised by it all.