Monday, December 29, 2014

gone girl

gone girl
gillian flynn
broadway books
published 2012

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary.  Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River,  Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife's head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge.  Under mounting pressure from the police and the media - as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents - the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior.  Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter - but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love.  With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence.  Trouble is, if Nick didn't do it, where is that beautiful wife?  And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

Yeah, that book was fucked up.

That was utterly, fantastically fucked up.  It's a weird sort of panic when you get to a point in a book where you realize you have no idea who to root for.  Beware: THERE WILL BE SPOILERS!  Everyone had already told me that they hated both characters so I went in this with expectations.  But halfway through I kept thinking, Amazing Amy doesn't seem so terrible.  What's the big deal?  I understand disliking the apathetic, philandering jerk of a husband, but what's wrong with the long suffering wife?  She's basically forced to move from New York City to this terrible suburb to deal with her in-laws and her absentee husband.  What did she do to garner so much dislike from readers everywhere.

And then.


But it was also brilliant.  And during the time she was gone I was still kind of rooting for her.  I mean, her dedication and planning was truly genius.  And Nick just kept doing dumb stuff so I still just didn't think he deserved to win.  But when they are reunited she's just too crazy.  And not crazy in the 'wow, that chick is batshit crazy' kind of admiring crazy, but the 'wow, that is one psycho bitch'.  She becomes gross, creepy and I was completely disgusted by her.  I couldn't see how Nick could not win at this point.  Amy can't possibly account for everything, but in the end it wasn't so much about making her pay, but Nick's addiction to her.  He cannot live without her.  He wants to beat her at her game, but not as much as he wants to play her game and in the end that is his undoing.

During the 'real Amy's' narrative things were very predictable.  I knew what was going to happen to her with her two friends at the Ozark motel, knew who she would call when she needed help and what would happen didn't seem to matter that it was predictable, because it was so interesting to see crazy in action.

Of course I didn't like that ending.  But how else could it have ended?  At first I was thinking there wasn't a happy ending, but I think for Amy and Nick that was a happy ending.

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