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The Literary Rants: The Next Gone Girl

January 24, 2018

That’s it!  I really was trying not to rant for a while.  There’s a lot of stuff going on in my life, and I’m enjoying my current routine of reading books and reacting to them on my blog.  That’s usually enough to keep me going.

But then the two novels The Wife Between Us and The Woman in the Window came out within a couple weeks of each other.  Both books are getting compared to Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train.  Both books are said to have lots of unexpected twists.  Both have received hyperbolic positive reviews.  And both start with an intro where the narrator is watching a female in the distance.

It’s not necessarily the fault of the authors that The Wife Between Us and The Woman in the Window seem so similar.  These things happen.   It could be coincidental, but it does seem strange.

I also thought it was kind of odd that a novel like The Woman in the Window written by unknown author A.J. Finn would skyrocket to the top spot in its first week.  It’s almost like the system was rigged to help this book out, but I know things don’t really work like that.

I mean,  the author who writes as A.J. Finn actually works for the publishing company that bought his book (you can read more about that here), but I’m sure that didn’t have anything to do with his novel starting off at the top of the bestsellers list.  I know word of mouth about a book’s high quality can travel really quickly.

I’m guessing that The Woman in the Window and The Wife Between Us won’t be the last books to get compared to Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train either.  If we already have two at the top of the bestsellers list in one month, then publishers aren’t going to stop.

If I had a choice of my book being compared to Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train, I’d say Gone Girl.  I don’t think The Girl on the Train was even the next Gone Girl.  I didn’t think The Girl on the Train was anything like Gone Girl.  If I had written a novel that were about  to get compared to Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, I’d probably ask the reviewers and publicists not to mention The Girl on the Train; just compare my book to Gone Girl please, I’d say.

It’s not that The Girl on the Train was bad or anything; I just liked Gone Girl a lot more.   I don’t know if reviewers listen to author requests, though.

The more I think about it, the more I wonder: Why even try to be subtle?  I’m just going to title my latest book The Next Gone Girl.  I’m allowed to do that.  You can’t copyright a title, even if it is Gone Girl.  I just have to make sure my novel has some originality.  I’m not sure what the book will be about yet.  The protagonist will be female.  There will be a frame up or a scam of some kind.  And there will be twists and shocking turns.

I can’t promise that the twists and shocking turns will make sense, but they’ll be there.

When I publish the book, I won’t even have to convince reviewers/publicists to use the phrase “the next Gone Girl.”  I’ll have cut out the middle man.

We already know that comparing The Woman in the Window and The Wife Between Us  to Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train has paid off because both new novels  are bestsellers.  Let’s see.  In a few years, will any novels be called the next The Woman in the Window or the next The Wife Between Us?  We’ll eventually find out.

And if I’m really lucky, maybe the publishing business will hype up books by calling them the next The Next Gone Girl.

*****

What do you think?  How many books can be compared to Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train before the reading public gets tired of them?   What book would you like your writing to be compared to?

5 Comments
  1. Rant away. I’ve found many NYTimes best sellers not worth the read. That was the case for Girl on the Train where all the women had the same whiny hysterical voices. I couldn’t tell one from the other and lost all my sympathy for the Girl.

    • “…where all the women had the same whiny hysterical voices.”

      Yeah, that’s happening in a lot of books now, where characters have the same voice and talk the same way. I don’t know if that’s a new thing or if I’m just now noticing it.

  2. The Next Gone Girl: The Wife in the Train Window

  3. Most bestsellers don’t interest me but I don’t find them offensive either. Gone Girl is the exception. It was gimmicky and illogical and twisty and shocking just for the sake of being twisty and shocking. And you can tell it was written by a woman because no man would EVER stay with a psychotic woman just because she got pregnant. If anything, it would make him run away faster! Nothing but man-bashing chick lit disguised as a thriller. Hate it.

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