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The Basic Eight

by Daniel Handler

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8812923,977 (3.78)68
Flannery Culp wants you to know the whole story of her spectacularly awful senior year. Tyrants, perverts, tragic crushes, gossip, cruel jokes, and the hallucinatory effects of absinthe -- Flannery and the seven other friends in the Basic Eight have suffered through it all. But now, on tabloid television, they're calling Flannery a murderer, which is a total lie. It's true that high school can be so stressful sometimes. And it's true that sometimes a girl just has to kill someone. But Flannery wants you to know that she's not a murderer at all -- she's a murderess.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
I am not at all sure how I feel about this book yet. I do know that that 3 stars is really more like 3.5ish because while I still don't know if I liked the book, I sure as hell am glad I read it. This is one of the most unreliable narrators I think I have ever come across and for that alone it gets two stars right there. I had guessed a bit of the twist near the end a little earlier on, but I wasn't sure if I was right or not up until they said it; because of the completely unreliable narrator you really couldn't be sure of anything.

The only reason I am not giving it four stars is that the beginning took a while for me to get into. The setup too a bit too long, you know from the beginning there is a murder and Flannery did it and all this other unimportant banal things are being talked about instead. It DID manage to really capture my attention though, so I can't rate it lower I only wish the author had gotten to the point a little quicker.

Also, holy shit, these kids are all assholes. Every single one of them whines and gripes and are so fucking pretentious it is laughable. Part of hating all of them makes the novel good though. ( )
  banrions | Dec 7, 2021 |
Setting this one down and getting to the very end was a surreal experience that sent a chill down my spine. It dug itself under my skin.

Finishing it gave me a heady feeling like doing something incredibly dangerous and knowing how it would end, but doing it anyway all for the thrill of it. Then the adventure it doesn't end quite like you expected it to, and even that feels like an adrenaline rush in itself. That was this book in a nutshell to me.

Subtle horror has always been more my thing especially since I am incapable of getting through a gorey "popout" scare movie without turning all the lights on in the house and laying awake with my eyes wide open for what feels like weeks.
...I may be a bit of a scaredy cat but, this novel felt like a delicious treat as I devoured it.

There's always one thing that makes or breaks my interest in a subtle horror story: suspense. This one delivered.

We knew the who, but not the how and why. The unreliable narrator throws the thing into a shady land of not knowing if she was exaggerating or plain making up things as she goes along.

Along the way it starts off with dark humor and gets darker in a cheery "how do you" as they sharpen their murder weapons kind of way. The party is the highlight alongside Flannery's progress with Natasha and Adam. I won't spoil but I promise you you'll be shocked (and that is a very grave understatement I should say).

It all plays out with a certain calculated messiness, with the big surprise at the party, the douchebag air of it while being selfware, being sleezy but remaining with that tinge of classiness, and most of all: Flannery Clup's mindset. We've got a winner on our hands here. ( )
  noirverse | Sep 4, 2020 |
I made it to page 53 before I decided it was irritating me too much to continue. I'm not totally sure what I found so off putting, other than a boatload of pretension from the teen characters. Which, you know, may have been very fitting for the characters, but was super annoying for me.

Let's see if I can find an example... Yes! I can. Page 15: I sighed. (How perfect my recall of these small details. I sighed, reader; I remember it as if it were yesterday.)

Blargh.

Though there were a few moments I found charming, I decided they weren't enough to keep me reading. So much for that.
  bookbrig | Aug 5, 2020 |
Not going to lie, a complete waste of time
The only parts worth reading came in the last 30 pages and even then the twist at the end ruined whatever potential that tiny section had. Don’t go into this expecting it to be like the secret history either, nothing is similar except for a flawed narrator in a cultish group of friends who kill someone.
The narration was poorly written and Flan came off as someone too caught up in herself and using fancy words to be more like her friends but in a very cheesy way.
Easy read but not worth it ( )
  caffeinatedreads | Jun 18, 2018 |
Couldn't get into. This teen book may be more fitting for a teen.
  waeschle | Oct 4, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
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The author wishes to acknowledge the following people: Lisa Brown; Louis and Sandra Handler; Rebecca Handler; Kit Reed and Joseph W. Reed; Charlotte Sheedy and Neeti Madan; Ron Bernstein and Angela Cheng; and Melissa Jacobs.
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I, Flannery Culp, am playing solitaire as I finish this.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Flannery Culp wants you to know the whole story of her spectacularly awful senior year. Tyrants, perverts, tragic crushes, gossip, cruel jokes, and the hallucinatory effects of absinthe -- Flannery and the seven other friends in the Basic Eight have suffered through it all. But now, on tabloid television, they're calling Flannery a murderer, which is a total lie. It's true that high school can be so stressful sometimes. And it's true that sometimes a girl just has to kill someone. But Flannery wants you to know that she's not a murderer at all -- she's a murderess.

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