So the past few weeks I’ve had a craving to read something similar to Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I think Amy Dunne’s character, despicable as she is, is absolutely brilliant. Maybe you read the book and found her intolerable, but there’s no doubt that anyone who did read it was left feeling some type of way about Amy. To me, that’s the hallmark of a great character.
I stumbled across Sometimes I Lie at the B&N book sale. I’d seen it around during release time, but didn’t know much about it. I wasn’t sure Amber Reynolds was the Amy Dunne character I was hoping for, but I am so glad I took a chance on it.
Here’s the hook:
My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:
1. I’m in a coma.
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
3. Sometimes I lie.
Okay so there’s more to that blurb, but when I was looking at the cover at the store I read that much before I put it in my basket. I love everything about the premise. From the beginning, you already know you’re dealing with an unreliable narrator, but is she telling little white lies? Or is she telling a whopper?
The book starts simply but sinister enough. Amber is in a hospital bed. She can hear the nurses talking, but she is unable to respond. She’s trapped in her own body. She was in a car accident, and she can’t remember what happened. It’s Christmas, her husband is MIA, and no one has reported her missing.
The setup of Amber being aware but unable to respond created a genius opportunity for the author to tease the reader with snippets of conversation from the people in the hospital room, nurses talking about her condition, her husband talking to her sister, people talking about Amber without realizing she can hear them… but then someone will administer medicine, or Amber will fade out, and you never catch the rest of the conversation. The opportunity was not wasted, although I guess one could argue that the timing of Amber drifting in and out of an aware state makes the suspense feel a little forced. (I didn’t personally feel that way- but I could see it feeling that way to others.)
There are three different timelines to follow, the present timeline in the hospital, the past timeline leading up to the accident, and the distant past from Amber’s childhood. All along the way little suspenseful incidents keep happening, a stranger visits Amber’s room at night, Amber’s boss threatens to fire her, etc. Amber does have a few deliciously wicked Amy Dunne moments (and I reveled in every single one of them), but once the twists start coming, it feels like every other chapter reveals another piece of the puzzle.
Each chapter takes you one step closer to the answer, while also feeling like it’s taking you one step farther away. There is absolutely nothing about this book that you will see coming. I wasn’t even able to guess. The whole book was just one big, wtf is going on here? kind of moment.
I read this all in one night. I could literally not put it down. The only thing keeping this from being a full five star read- is that the full picture does feel pretty far fetched.. but it’s so much fun it hardly matters. If you like dark thrillers- definitely check out Sometimes I Lie! I’ll be on the lookout for other work from this author in the future.