The Basic Eight
The Basic Eight by Daniel Handler
Publisher: Ecco
Publication: May 9, 2016
Read from: Aug 16 – Sept 6, 2018
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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.


“The croquet mallet was stuck in something wet and jagged, like a half-melon. I was unable to pull it out, even with both hands. My own breathing was wet and jagged too, misting in the dark. Tugging and tugging and finally giving up.”

My thoughts

Well, this is The Basic Eight by Daniel Handler. We can all go home now.

I don’t know what to rate this as I neither like nor dislike the story. I just thought it was a bit “messed up.” Some people might say that there’s a plot twist when in reality there isn’t. The author stated the obvious from the start. Hence, everything that transpired in this novel shouldn’t be surprising. I mean, it’s kind of weird but…

“I started to smile at her but she wasn’t looking at me; she was looking at me. Behind her was the shopping bag with her dress feeling like a predator. She stiffened like something dangerous was getting closer to her skin, arching her neck, wary and still watching me. Watching my whole body. I could feel her gaze everywhere. I stepped so close that her breasts almost brushed against mine, and leaned over to get the shopping bag while she watched me the whole time, tense and expressionless. I stepped back and walked toward me, tangolike. We moved like this, locked in each other’s eyes…”

Actually, I have no words. I don’t know if the plot twist happened before this part, exactly this part, or after this part. I was confused after this scene. Then again, I kinda expected this since the main character reminded me of Veronica Sawyer and J.D. from Heathers. To sort of explain, Flan is Veronica and Natasha is J.D. Natasha is the J.D. to Flan? I don’t know what I’m talking about. Don’t mind me. I was drowsy when I was reading the juicy parts of this book.

“Today’s the day! I can’t wait. The biggest event of the year. A day to be remembered-a famous day. Were going to be having so much fun, people are just going to die.”

(**And note that Natasha repeats these words as Flan wakes up.)

Additionally, Flan is part of a clique they call “The Basic Eight” but she tends to forget that Flora’s with them. *cough* SPOILER ALERT *cough* This is probably why you’ll see this book in “books like The Secret History. And of course they tried hiding Flan’s secret as much as they can! They are accomplices to a murder after all. Judging by the premise, the reader knows it already so read this book if you want to know the story behind how and why Flan became a “murderess.”
Among Flan’s clique, however, she is closest to Natasha. Natasha thinks they’re better than everybody else in their exclusive group.
The deadpan, dark humor was brilliant in this one. I actually kind of, liked it? But I also don’t think I loved this book? I think I might rate this 3/5 just because I liked the dark humor along with the creative idea behind the story. The writing was fresh, engaging, witty, and smooth. I had to process everything I just read because I didn’t think the narrator was reliable. Flan tells the story of the events through her eyes. Since the writing was odd (like pretending her life was a play – again, it will all make sense once you read the book), it was a bit difficult to figure out the answers to the questions I had for this book. It was told through diary entries in the eyes of the main character, Flan.

Anyway, I gave up. There are other books out there waiting to be read so I’d rather not dwell on this one. Haha. Some trigger warnings include: sexual assault, violence, alcoholism, substance abuse, etc. just to name a few.

Have you read this book?

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