Weekly Meeting: The Never List

Weekly Meeting

I am trying a new format this week.  Why? Because I am getting bored with things and I want to shake it up.  With that in mind, this week I read The Never List.

Challenges:

This book was something I grabbed at Book Expo a few years ago.  I have finally finished reading the books from that year.

5 Things You Should Know:

  1. This is a suspense/thriller novel.  Think Gillian Flynn or something like Patterson’s Kiss the Girls.
  2. There is discussion of torture and BDSM, especially the difference between the two.
  3. You are dealing with a narrator who, while not reliable, is recovering from being held prisoner for many years.  She reveals information as she can, but sometimes she doesn’t see a full picture.
  4. The audiobook is fantastic!  The reader was subtle with her voice changes, but each character was distinct.
  5. This book moves quickly, but just when you think you know the answer, the gears shift again and you realize you aren’t finished yet.

161585255 Things I Enjoyed:

  1. Our narrator, Sarah, is living with a ton of guilt about the death of her best friend Jennifer.  Not just the guilt that Sarah got away and Jennifer died, but that she failed Jennifer by allowing them to get caught.  Her goal becomes to simply find Jennifer’s body (which they never did) and make things right.
  2. Sarah is not the only survivor.  Caroline and Tracy were also held captive.  Each woman has tried to deal with her trauma differently.  One hides, one denies, and one has embraced as her mission.  I thought Zan dead a great job explaining how different people deal with trauma.  Not everyone reacts the same way.
  3. I called the ending, but I enjoyed every moment of the confirmation.  A few times I questioned if I was right, but there is a formula to thrillers and it is often difficult to surprise people.  I like when I can guess it, but question my guess as things progress.  Thrillers are not always about solving the mystery, but more about what people are capable of doing (both good and bad).
  4. I thought the BDSM was handled well, at least from my POV and limited knowledge of the sub-culture.
  5. I appreciated the tongue-in-cheek inside information about academia.  I know this world far better than BDSM, but the similarities are quite humorous.

5 Things I wish were different

  1. This is the problem with calling the ending, I am not sure if I just am that good or if it could have been done better.
  2. I wanted to know more about their kidnapping.  I wanted to know more about what the women talked about when they were together.  Sarah talks about how she was hated by the others, but it’s only at the end that we get any clarity as to why.  What had happened to Jennifer to get her separated from the other 3 women?  There is no discussion of sex or rape, but was this part of it?
  3. I love suspense and thrillers, but I don’t read enough of them.  It’s often because the covers don’t inspire it.  This book is included.  While I don’t think it’s a bad cover, I just let it sit on the shelf for a few years because it didn’t scream READ ME.
  4. I wish they had dealt more with the recovery of the three women.  I wanted more of  the hatred directed at Sarah by Tracy and Caroline.
  5. I wanted more of Tracy and Caroline.  We just get the surface of their stories and only Sarah’s interpretation.

Other Books Read This Week:

  • Little Scarlet – This all took place in 1965 LA right as the Watts Riots were ending.  I know things are not great when it comes to race relations, but they are far better than 50 years ago.  Clearly, we have a lot of work to do to keep making things better, but damn… racism.
  • One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich – Lesson here: the USSR sucked, but at least you were taken care of.

Next week: Welcome to Night Vale!!!!

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