Tag Archives: Books

The Norm

I admit, this post is a premature one considering I have not finished reading this novel yet. However, in that being said, I am already struck with the idea that suspicion surrounds Nick because of his persona and actions during his wife’s (Amy’s) disappearance. Granted the police have to start somewhere and of course, it is those closer to the victim who are always suspected first. But, the concept just got me thinking of how people are perceived and how important those perceptions really are in certain situations.

“The news reports would show Nick Dunne, husband of the missing woman, standing metallically next to his father-in-law, arms crossed, eyes glazed, looking almost bored as Amy’s parents wept. Then worse. My long time response, the need to remind people I wasn’t I dick, I was a nice guy despite the affectless stare, the haughty douchebag face. So there it came, out of no where, as Rand begged for his daughter’s safe return: A killer smile” – pg 64

Not going to lie, that killer smile makes him seem pretty guilty right? So what does this all have to do with the title, “The Norm”? Well think about it, if we don’t act/react the way society dictates us to, we’re perceived as weird and depending on the situation, guilty. See, the thing with Nick is that he was taught to hide emotion, to hide it from his father and the world because quite frankly, emotion was a sign of weakness. So maybe his way of dealing with it is to not show his inner turmoil. So is it fair to deem people as scrupulous in nature if they do not meet our reaction standards? I mean you have to admit, categorizing people based on their reactions/actions is a well-oiled survival mechanism allowing us to instantly distance ourselves from a potentially shaky individual. But again I say, is it fair?

As I said before, I haven’t finished the book yet, so the question of whether Nick is guilty or not still hovers over me. However, I have a sneaky suspicion that no matter how guilty he appears to be, a Red Herring will be thrown in and give an unexpected twist. I’ll just have to find out for myself now won’t I.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
©Farrah Merza

Before I Go To Sleep, the Novel

What would you do if you woke up in unfamiliar surroundings due to sever memory loss? Waking up next to a complete stranger who is apparently your husband and found the old person staring back at you in the mirror is you? Then, upon glancing at your journal you’ve kept in hopes of remembering the memories you’ve lost (which was given to you by a doctor whom you’ve been apparently seeing), you see the following words that you’ve written in bold.


Ben is your husband.

Now then, tell me, what would you do?

What a question! Well, I have been confined to my room for the past three hours, severely engrossed in this brilliant novel by S.J. Watson in hopes of finding out how the protagonist, Christine Lucas, deals with her unfortunate situation… I have the backache to prove it (due to sprawling out on my one seater couch intent on reading). The further and further I dived into Christine’s life, the more fervent I was to finish her story. Ben, oh Ben. What to say about Ben? She catches him lying about certain events in her life and about the people she knew and boy, do his lies stack up day by day. To think that she would have never caught on to them if she had not started recording her fleeting memories on paper and without her secret sessions with Dr. Nash… and yet her husband Ben is so ingrained in her mind (with constant reminders of pictures, letters, and his utter devotion to her) that she loves him over and over again. He’s been taking care of her so he can’t be bad, right? She’s conflicted and she doesn’t know who to trust. However, as events unfold and are brought to her attention through her treasured journal, Christine realizes who she can trust and who she can’t… but will it be too late?

Yes, needless to say, this book hooked me right from the beginning. I literally got chills while reading through the climax and I still get chills just thinking about the end. It was Christine’s vulnerability that really got to me. Without her memories, she was just a sitting duck, completely oblivious to the dangers that lurked around her. Her situation definitely made me ponder on the nature of memory and how memories define who we are; we depend on them so much that we never think of how different life would be if we could not retain them. It’s something we take for granted… well at least I do. I’m not going to lie, I definitely started to contemplate a scenario like her’s, but with me playing the lead instead and I did not like it one bit. To be at the mercy of others and their versions of your life is just to much to bare, especially with such scrupulous characters prowling about.


©Farrah Merza: The book in question that I just could not put down! I’ve linked the amazon.ca link to purchase this book… that is if I’ve swayed you enough to pick it up!

A Fine Balance, the Novel

Are we but helpless victims to our own circumstances? Are we defined by our actions, judged but not even attempted to be understood? These were the questions that floated about in my head while reading A Fine Balance, the questions that I knew I just had to write about. But, before I dive into them, maybe a brief synopsis of one of the character’s life is in order.

Dina Dalal (maiden name is Shroff) is a stubborn and cynical woman, which means she’s the perfect character to be annoyed with and hate, right? Well, I couldn’t. Knowing about her tumultuous and tragic life starting with the death of her father at a very tender age was enough for me to understand why she was the way she was. She was a bright and ambitious girl who dreamed of being a doctor. Unfortunately, her life spiralled out of control with the passing of her father, everything unraveling right before her eyes. Nusswan was a troll of a brother, without a clue in the world of how to handle a little sister and a slowly disintegrating mother. However, Dina found solace seated in the theatre, listening to musicians playing away at their instruments. It was the perfect place to meet her love, Rustom Dalal. He was her escape, but he was only a temporary safe haven as he too died in a fatal accident. Now, she struggles to pay the bills on time and scrambles to keep her life together. With the other characters (Maneck, Ishvar, and Omprekesh) woven into her life, we see her grow… but I wont go further, as I’ll just be ruining the book for you. But, as you can clearly see, Dina has lead a tough life.

“Everybody’s got a story that could break your heart” – Amanda Marshall

It’s true. Even though Dina is a fictitious character, there are people in this world that have had similar lives, that have faced similar trails and tribulations like those of Dina’s. Some of us are victims of our situation. Remember, there are variables that one cannot control; the most infamous and revered is death. A death of a loved one could severely alter your life, just like what happened with Dina’s life void of her father and husband. It’s difficult to conceive if you haven’t gone through struggles like these, but they happen. However, in that being said, how many of us actually take the time to think about that upon contact with another person? How many of us empathize and get to know them as opposed to immediately judging them and staying away? Knowing people’s struggles puts them into context, thus enabling empathy to take root in our hearts.

So instead of leaving you with a question, I’ll end with this: A world without empathy would be a cruel world indeed.