Rating: 3 Stars
Grit by Gillian Flynn is a book about small town workings, the bonds of family, and the importance of learning from out mistakes. This book was middle of the road for me at best. While I enjoyed the authenticity of the author’s voice and I was vaguely intrigued by the premise nothing about this book was as gripping at it should have been. And don’t even get me started on the ending.
This book takes place over the course of one very hot, very sticky, very dramatic Maine summer. Our main character Darcy has a reputation as the town slut which she does nothing to dispel. She is flanked by her sister Mags and her special ed cousin Nell.
The three of them work together at the same summer job of harvesting the local blueberry patches in their small town. Tensions run high as last summer a girl went missing and never returned and Darcy and her innocent cousin seem to be keeping secrets from everyone in their lives.
It sounds intriguing but it really wasn’t. Darcy is the sort of character who never learns from her mistakes. She takes beating after beating, mostly to her reputation and self image but refuses to do anything about it. She refuses to change or stand up for herself. She’s a masochist in the worst sense of the word because she claims to be doing it all to protect her innocent little cousin. Also, despite her claims of not being the slut everyone says she is the poor girl has no self respect and is actually shocked when a guy treats her well. I pitied her while at the same time I kind of hated her and frankly that didn’t make for the most enjoyable read.
In this book Darcy goes out of her way to protect her delicate little cousin who’s in special ed. She essentially throws herself on the proverbial pyre to keep her cousin’s reputation spotless and while I admire her desire to stand by family I disagree with her reasons. Her cousin is in special ed yes but that doesn’t take away her own accountability for her actions. Everyone, especially Darcy, goes out of their way to coddle her without ever taking into account that if she has enough will to make the same mistake over and over again she has enough will to be blamed for her actions. They don’t treat Nell as a person but rather like a particularly stupid child and no one deserves that.
This book was pitched as a gritty thriller but while I spent the book curious for the twist at the end I wasn’t desperate for it. The way the story flowed had me assuming all the wrong things and instead of that making the twist all the more shocking it made it sort of lack luster. The twist wasn’t shocking, I didn’t care by the time it was revealed because I had lost touch with the characters, and there was no satisfactory resolution to the story overall.
Now I do want to say that I’m not trying to be terrible with this review or insensitive. I know that people with mental health issues and disabilities truly face problems that people without those same circumstances can never fully understand but I don’t believe that’s what this book was really about. It was about two girls with weak wills and massive egos who refused to trust even the closest people in their lives and made the same mistakes over and over again expecting different results.
Some would call that insanity.
So while this book had a unique colloquial voice and a strong sense of small town and family it was dark without redemption and at times whiny. I couldn’t relate to the characters or their actions, try as I might, and without that understanding and connection the story fell flat for me. This book was middling and my personal recommendation would be that if you’re going to read it know what you’re getting into before you start.
Until next time, stay passionate and excelsior!
Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jointhedots/