Friday, April 10, 2015

Most annoying genre tropes - the unreliable female narrator

I didn't tap Gillian Flynn's "Gone Girl" until after the movie came out. I downloaded it onto my Kindle, read the book, and then watched the movie. Even after all the hype, the book "Gone Girl" was terrific. I spotted the initial twist, but the book spread out in many different directions afterwards that I was just rapt. It was a terrific read, with excellent characterisation. The movie was pretty much exactly the same, but still highly engaging. I believe that the character of Amy will be remembered as a classic character for some time to come.

Around about the same time, "Before I Go To Sleep" was released to similar fanfare. It was an obvious story, contrived and highly unlikely. The movie was similarly stupid. It was like a bad Lifetime TV movie, except with some bad language and Nicole Kidman's bare butt.

Because of the success of these two novels, there is now a neverending flurry of "thrillers" and "suspense" novels in which the main female character can't entirely be relied upon. In "Before I Go To Sleep", it was because the main character woke up forgetting everything from the day before. I read some piece of rubbish called "Look Behind You" by Sibyl Hodge in which the main character had conveniently forgotten her memory. Now there are books like "The Good Girl", "The Girl On The Train", "Remember Me This Way",  "The Girl With A Clock For A Heart" (really?), "The Headmaster's Wife"....the list just goes on and on. Most titles invariably manage to fit "Girl" into the title, hopefully to latch on to readers who thoroughly enjoyed "Gone Girl".

Even worse, even the established authors are getting in on the act. "Crash & Burn" by Lisa Gardner has a central female protagonist who had a bad, unreliable memory because of three bumps to the head throughout her life. She claims to have a daughter that doesn't exist. The awful, diabolical "Cold Cold Heart" by Tami Hoag also has a main female character who has suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Even worse that that, because of whatever it is that makes them unreliable, they are usually utter and complete drips.

I'm over it. What was once a fresh take on the genre has now become the norm.

1 comment:

  1. Good news book worms, The Girl On The Train Audio Book is now available on AudioBooksNow.