Monday, September 02, 2013

The Other Typist Stuck In My Craw (a review)

Do you guys remember when everyone was lovin' up on Gone Girl and I read it and hated it? Well, many bloggers I love and adore have given this one lots of 4- and 5-star ratings in my good ole Goodreads feed, and guess what? I hated it. #duckandcover 

It just didn't work for me. And it SO didn't work for me that there was cursing afterwards and much flailing of hands as I lamented. 

This was the August choice for my in-person book club, and it's a choice I very much supported. And then someone told me it reminded them of The Great Gatsby and Gone Girl if they got together and had a fun but dysfunctional baby. And the Gatsby part sounded really promising and the Gone Girl part really didn't. 

Set in the 1920s, during Prohibition, The Other Typist centers on Rose--a typist (whoda thunk?) in a police station. She's mousy and plain and a great typist. Then Odalie comes to work in the precinct and she's everything Rose is not: glamorous, daring, beautiful, seductive, and not the greatest typist, but she makes up for it in looks and wealth. And the girls become friends and move in together and all boozy hell breaks loose. 

And that all sounds fine and good, but it is made known from the beginning of this book, by our narrator herself, that she is POSSIBLY CRAZY and THERE IS A TWIST COMING. Because she drops these non-hints every chapter or two and OMG, I GET IT ALREADY. 

So there was this "twist" ending that was really a non-twist. And while it seems Suzanne Rindell was really going for SHOCK VALUE and CLEVER AMBIGUITY it just pissed me off. Why? Because as much as I loved the setting and as much as I kind of enjoyed the craziness of these characters, there was very little surprise in the BIG SURPRISE. And I didn't even think the ambiguous, discussable ending was all that well written in comparison to the rest of the book.

You see, when I read Gone Girl I felt like Gillian Flynn was just trying to cram in as much dysfunction and shock value as she could fit. That goal took a toll on the whole experience of the book. While this book wasn't quite on that level, I just felt like Rindell was working so hard to impress that she lost her way. In short: all show and no go. Too much flash. It felt gimmicky, and that, for me, is one of the ultimate disappointments. 

This book could've been satisfying. But it wasn't. I know SO many people have loved it, so you should still try it. If you love it, WIN! If you don't, come back here and bitch with me. 

This is my first book for RIP VIII because I think I can safely say it falls into the mystery/thriller'ish category.


Pub. Date: May 2013
Publisher: Amy Einhorn/Putnam
Format: E-book
ISBN: 9780399161469
Source: Bought it. My debit card cried a little when it was all said and read. 

38 comments:

  1. Well that was awkward. Guess you didn't like it huh? Well I must confess. The last time I was in WH Smith shopping I almost boutght it but something told me not to bother so I didn't. It really doesn't overwhelm hearing people talk about it. So no I'm not going to run out and buy it just yet maybe in a year or 2. Hope you're enjoying Jane Eyre. It's one of my favorite books. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL, not so much. Let the hype die down and see whatcha think. And Jane Eyre is rocking my socks.

      Delete
  2. Haha! "Come back and bitch with me..." totally got me giggling this morning. You actually made me want to read my copy a little more now, just to see how all this works out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL, glad to make you giggle. I wanna know what you think of it!

      Delete
  3. I hate when a "twist" isn't surprising. Now I'm wondering how I'll feel about this book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right?? I hate that too. And I'm curious what more of my bloggy peeps think of it. Read it so we can talk about it!

      Delete
  4. Hmm, an author whose working too hard and who has a twist that really isn't a twist? Meh. But, you're right, so many people have read it that I suppose I'll still be tempted. On the other hand, with so many books on the shelves already, I may not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Be tempted so we can discuss it. ;)

      Delete
  5. LOL, this is the best review ;) FLAILING!

    At first I wanted to read this. Then I didn't. Then I did. Now? I don't.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I haven't read it yet, but I'll have to pick it up and see for myself.

    -Rebecca @ Love at First Book

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hahahahaha, aw, sorry this wasn't any good for you. I get really frustrated when books drop ALL THE HINTS about what is coming. It's fine if they want to tell you in advance what the terrible thing was (indeed I am strongly in favor of that since it is how I always read anyway), but it's maddening when they just say stuff like "Little did we know that something DREADFUL was coming." :p

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I have reasonable intelligence and ALL THE HINTS is annoying. Annoying even moreso when they practically say, "This is a hint."

      Delete
  8. This does sound like a frustrating read. I like the setup of the novel but I really dislike a narrator who's continually dropping hints.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, me too. It would've been much more successful if it hadn't been for that part of it.

      Delete
  9. "she drops these non-hints every chapter or two and OMG, I GET IT ALREADY"

    I hate hate hate that when I'm reading. HATE IT!!!!!!!! I'm glad to read this review because basically everything that annoyed you are things that would do me in. LOL Sorry it was a disappointment though, that's never fun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YESSS! Insults my intelligence. Urrgh!

      Delete
  10. I'm glad I never had a huge interest in this book to begin with. Loved reading all your snark, Andi. Snark is the best.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, thank you. Some books deserve THIS MUCH snark.

      Delete
  11. Well, I really enjoyed the book, but loved your review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL, thanks, Joann. Different strokes for different folks. :)

      Delete
  12. Considering I hated GONE GIRL with the fire of one thousand angry suns, I will pass on this one. But thank you for the warning!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh gosh, I'm so glad someone else hated it with fiery sun passion.

      Delete
  13. That reminds me of the first time I saw The Sixth Sense. Before watching it I heard for weeks about the OMG TWIST! 5 minutes into the movie I go .....oooohhhh It is like Ghost. It ruined the movie for me. I need a subtle twist, not a giant showy pile-up twist. Also, I think Patricia Highsmith and Hitchcock has spoiled me; I expect damn fine twists in my books and movies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL, subtle is preferable. We've read too many good endings to stand for the sucktastic ones. ;)

      Delete
  14. I haven't read this book, and I have seen many reviews that got me interested in picking it up myself.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi! First time reader here. Had to comment because, while I didn't HATE the book, my feelings overlap yours in a couple of ways, particularly here: "I just felt like Rindell was working so hard to impress that she lost her way. In short: all show and no go." It's one of my pet peeves of fiction to have the plot depend entirely on a twist. Twists should enhance and add new meaning to what is already good. Plots should not be wholly dependent on twists to make sense. Good twist: The Sixth Sense. Bad Twist: Every other M. Night Shyamalan film.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well put, Jen! Well put! Subtlety really seems a key element here. Or if subtlety isn't the right word, maybe nuance??? So glad you decided to comment!

      Delete
    2. Nuance works. :) There's a lack of depth to the book that disappoints, especially because I actually liked quite a bit of it.

      Delete
    3. Agreed, completely. It could've been so much better. I think Rindell has promise for sure. Will be interested to see what else she writes.

      Delete
  16. This is me steering clear. lol I have the audiobook too, unsolicited. Maybe I will give it a try, but not a hard one.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Yes, yes, and yes. I didn't like this book either. I hate when you close the cover and wish you had spent the time reading something else...le sigh.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Well, since I also hated Gone Girl, I am never gonna pick this one up. It drives me crazy when authors think they need to throw EVERY SINGLE THING into one novel. Why can't they just be happy with ONE bit of crazy?

    ReplyDelete
  19. MMm, so, it's about a typist? Imagine. I feel like there was a big hint somewhere....
    I haven't read this but your review almost makes me want to do so just to see. We can't all like the same books all the time which is a good thing!
    Lynn :D

    ReplyDelete
  20. I disliked "Gone Girl" and felt from the beginning this was similar. Unreliable narrator, etc. But this one, oy the hints. Enough already. I keep imagining it with a less flashy plot, because I like the characters and the setting. Oh well. It's her first book and she's in a doctoral program. She's a good writer, I am very hopeful that she'll settle down and write something more subtle next.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Over a year later, Andi, and I'm stopping by! LOVE the characterization of the novel as dysfunctional baby of Great Gatsby and Gone Girl.

    I really liked the book but understand why others might not and completely agree on some of your points. I did feel that Rindell got so caught up in her own twistiness that she went way too far with the ambiguity. It was almost on a level with that dream season on Dallas- enough to piss a lot of people off. I would have liked it even better if she had played it straight and just made Rose a straight out bitch.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to comment! Blogger has been a beast lately, so I hope you do not have any troubles leaving your thoughts.

 
Images by Freepik