Sunday, July 7, 2013

Book Time - Gone Girl

*Spoiler Alert* If you have yet to read this book, and you don't want to know what happens, don't read this blog post!  I would hate to spoil anything for you before you read it!

Well, I mentioned that I was going to read Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn's most recent book - and read it I did!  I just finished, about 45 minutes before writing this post.  I had heard a lot about it from the ladies in my book club.  At our gather last month, a couple of them were talking about it, and I had to halt the conversation because I didn't want to know what happened before I read it!  So, now that I've read it, I can say that it is absolutely as good as I had heard. 

The two main characters are Nick and Amy Dunne.  Nick, a man originally from North Carthage, Missouri, marries Amy (then Elliot) after they meet and fall in love in New York City.  They are both journalists of a sort: Nick writes for a paper and Amy writes personality quizes for magazines.  The first time they meet, they hit it off, but don't see each other again for eight and a half months. 

After getting married, Nick and Amy live happily in NYC writing.  Amy thinks she is the cool girl Nick has always wanted, and so does he.  Amy's parents (Rand and Marybeth Elliot) are two people who got rich off of writing fictional books based off their daughter.  They, like Amy, majored in psychology and wrote a series of popular books called Amazing Amy.  The books all take events from Amy's life, fictionalize them and end in a manner that is different than how it ended with Amy.  For example, when Amy took, and then quit, ballet, Rand and Marybeth write an Amazing Amy book in which Amy sticks with ballet because hard work is always worth it. 

Amy's parents make enough money to set up a trust fund that has over $700,000 in it.  But, they are irresponsible with their money.  So, they borrow almost all the money in the trust fund.  At the same time this is happening, Nick loses his job.  Then Amy loses her job.  They also find out aroud this time that Nick's mom - Maureen - has cancer and is going to die.  So, with nothing holding them in the city, Nick and Amy pack up and move back to North Carthage.  Now, Amy gives the impression that she's happy with this move, and we all know people never lie, right?  Yeah, I'm laughing a little, as well. 

Not only is Amy miserable in Carthage, but her husband starts cheating on her with a student in his class.  He has started teach journalism at a local community college and meets Andie, a fresh faced 23 year old who turns him on.  They start seeing each other about a year after Nick and Amy move home.  Nick, of course, is naive enough to believe that Amy has no idea.  Men - let this be a lesson: If you're cheating - the woman always knows! 

Well, Amy, instead of confronting Nick, decides to do something that she thinks will even the score.  She decides to frame him for murder.  Now, there are a few things you should know about Amy's history: she was "stalked," and she had an ex who always creeped on her after their breakup.  You, of course, find out over the course of the book that these things never really happened.  Amy was pissed at things that Hilliary, her stalker, and Desi, the man who supposedly raped her, did, so she staged things with them and set them up.

Now really, you would think that Amy is head over heels about Nick.  After all, she wrote the following in her journal the day they met:
Tra and la! I am smiling a big adopted-orphan smile as I write this. I am embarrassed at how happy I am, like some Technicolor comic of a teenage girl talking on the phone with my hair in a ponytail, the bubble above my head saying: I met a boy!
But I did. This is a technical, empirical truth. I met a boy, a great, gorgeous dude, a funny,
cool-ass guy.

Of course, after this, they don't see each other for eight months.  Strike one.  After they get married, Amy celebrates their anniversaries by sending Nick on treasure hunts.  She writes out letters and hides them.  However, he never figures out what they mean.  Strike two.  Then, they lose their jobs and move back to Missouri, where Amy is miserable and has no friends.  Strike three.  And finally, the icing on the I-Hate-You-Nick cake: Nick has an affair. 

During the time in Missouri, Amy does much planning to frame Nick.  She writes diary entries about how she is afraid of blood.  She writes about how Nick is mean to her.  She tells her annoying neighbor that she is scared of Nick.  She makes plans to buy a gun.  She takes out credit cards in Nicks name, follows him when he goes on his trysts with Andie, buys a bunch of stuff with the credit cards, and when Nick is sleeping takes his hands and rubs it all over the things she bought.

During this time, Nick is also helping run the bar that he opened with his sister, Margo, nicknamed Go.  I liked Go.  I found her to be the best character in the book, or at least my favorite, because she had the balls to call Nick out on his shit.  She was the one who actually got on his case about the affair.

When Amy disappears, Nick finds out because a neighbor calls him at the bar, which is ironically named The Bar.  He heads home to find the front door open.  The cat, Bleeker, is sitting on the porch.  Walking in, Nick sees the furniture turned up in the living room.  He immediately suspects that it is staged, but of course, since he is the husband, everyone thinks that Nick is a wife killer.

Throughout the novel, many things happen that will keep you hooked til the end. 

* Amy reconnects with Desi
* Amy frames Desi for rape
* Amy kills Desi
* Nick breaks it off with Andie.  After all, only wife killers have affairs
* Amy fakes a pregnancy.  Not telling you how.
* Marybeth, Rand and even Go turn on Nick - for a while at least.
* After Amy returns, she really does get pregnant - with Nicks frozen sperm.  She uses this to manipulate him into staying with her, even though he is always scared he will kill her.

Now, let me tell you what I thought about this book. I loved it.  From beginning to end, I did not want to put it down!  I hated Nick and Amy, though.  I thought they were incredibly well written characters.  They both knew how to manipulate people, and they had some really screwed up character traits. But, I love this book.  I hate to admit that there were points when I laughed - LOUD! 

I love Go because she is real.  She tells it like it is, calls Nick out on his shit and isn't afraid to say what's what.  I think she adds something to the book that would be missing if her character weren't around.  Overall, I think this is an incredibly well written, suspensful and crazy book.  I am glad I read it, and I think that if you don't read it, you will be missing out on one of the best books of 2012. 

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