I know there's drama in another sphere when it spills over into my fairly dull Twitter feed. I mean, I like my Twitter feed but it's pretty much news, politics, world news, world politics and science. So if literary or make-up or video game stuff gets big enough and spills onto my feed it's because it's gotten much larger.
The latest "thing" is Shane Dawson and Jeffrey Star being...themselves? Which, having seen enough of them both, is a seemingly racist, misogynist, nasty personality set. I guess Dawson was pretty nasty about children, including Jada Pinkett Smith's child (who was very much a child at the time, not sure how old she is now). Jada is not happy about it (perfectly normal) and responded on Twitter. Star always seems to be involved in drama (sometimes seemingly inserting himself). I don't have the time to even follow along with this one, but I'm team anyone who isn't team-Star.
On to the book! This book also has a movie, but I haven't seen it. I like Anna Kendrick (one of the main characters), Blake Lively is okay but not exactly my cup of tea, and Henry Golding is hella hot. Which uh...I mean, he's more than that of course. I do believe the movie has a different ending than the book.
I thought the book was alright. It wasn't my absolute favorite mystery but some aspects really stood out to me as exceptional. I have this a solid good book. Decent writing and nicely plotted structure. I figured out parts of the "mystery" whilst reading, which is always a bit of a bummer.
Title: A Simple Favor
Author: Darcey Bell
Page Number: 304 pages (paper back)
Genre: fiction, mystery, thriller, contemporary
Publisher: Harper (Harper Collins)
It starts with a simple favor—an ordinary kindness mothers do for one another. When glamorous Emily asks Stephanie to pick up her son after school, Stephanie happily says yes. Emily has a life that would make any woman jealous. She is the perfect mother with a dazzling career working for a famous fashion designer in Manhattan. Stephanie, a widow with a son in kindergarten, lonely in their Connecticut suburb, turns to her daily blog for connection and validation. Stephanie imagines Emily to be her new confidante and is shocked when Emily suddenly disappears without a trace, leaving her son and husband with no warning.
Stephanie knows something is terribly wrong. Unable to keep away from the grieving family, she soon finds herself entangled with Sean, Emily’s handsome, reticent British husband. But she can’t ignore the nagging feeling that he’s not being honest with her about Emily’s disappearance. Is Stephanie imagining things? How well did she really know her “best” friend?
Stephanie begins to see that nothing—not friendship, love, or even an ordinary favor—is as simple as it seems.
A Simple Favor exposes the dark underbelly of female friendship in this taut, unsettling, and completely absorbing story that holds you in its grip until the final page.
The reason I mention the movie isn't because Henry Golding is hot (but he's hot) but because the entire time I was reading the book, I thought it would make a better movie. Sometimes I feel this way about a book when it's written by a screenwriter because they tend to write in a very dry, dull style where they tell you there's adventure/romance/mystery but it's just so very flat on the page. Bell's book didn't have that same style of writing but I did have the movie thought. To be fair, the movie rights were bought before the book was even published so...
I think the book/movie came out after Gone Girl (by Gillian Flynn) and gets lumped into that sphere of "women/wife seeking revenge" or as Vanity Fair writes, "housewife who escapes her old life and goes on a villainous tear." I would say there are some similarities but overall (and especially in the second half, like Vanity Fair claims, the book goes on a different path.
I didn't find many characters to root for as they're all a bit unlikable but near the end I was rooting against Stephanie (for being pretentious and annoying) and Sean (useless). I don't think book will stretch a reader at all. Perhaps, dare I say, the movie is better?
I had bought the movie-tie in version (cover wise) from Target on a whim. I thought the color scheme of mint and pink was stunning and didn't even realize that Anna and Blake were the cover models. I gave the book three stars but barely three stars because the plot is convoluted and quite frankly a lot gets thrown at the wall. It works if you don't think about it too much but parsing it out seems a bit much (some spoiler plot points include: extra murder and cover-up, incest sub-plot, and, hidden deus-ex-machina siblings, stalking/stranger in the woods watching issues Stephanie has). This seems to be a divisive book via the Goodreads reviews but I didn't think it merited a one or two star review to be honest. It's a fun little weekend read but I doubt I'll re-read it.