Book Reviews

Review: Gone Girl – February 2013

gone girlBoy meets girl. Boy marries girl. Boy murders girl?

I’ll start with a non-spoilery review, but feel free to leave spoilery comments. I’d really like to discuss the second half of the book.

Gone Girl is, on the surface, the story of a seemingly normal, vaguely unhappy married couple struck by tragedy – the disappearance of the beautiful wife, Amy. Told through the husband Nick’s first person narrative, as well as Amy’s flashback journal entries, the reader sees the portrait of a dissolving marriage, leaving Nick the prime suspect in Amy’s disappearance.

And then something happens. Part Two has a fantastically surprising revelation that shifts perspective and changes the game. I struggled with this novel, but I fought hard, and pushed forward, knowing there would be a decent reveal. I had sort of guessed at the twist early on, but that did nothing to dull the excitement of the psychological mind twists to follow.

I can’t say much else without spoiling the fun, but I’ll leave you with this – Neither character is necessarily sympathetic or likable to begin with, and so for me it was a struggle to continue reading. But I am so glad that I did, because Parts Two and Three were astonishingly insane in the best, most disturbing way possible. 3.5 Stars

Random Thoughts

Random Thoughts I

+ I’ve been at this little project for about a month, and I’m pretty happy with how it’s progressing. Since starting Jen Can Read, I’ve canceled my cable (again), and when I run out of current episodes of my favorite shows on Hulu I find myself choosing to pick up a book rather than find a movie to watch. When I was younger, I used to spend hours devouring every type of fiction, from Wyatt Earp and Johnny Tremaine to The Baby-Sitter’s Club: Kid Sister. The idea of sitting in silence, completely focused on one story for hours and hours was not strange or daunting, but thrilling. I haven’t completely found my way back to that unbridled delight, but I have certainly learned to relish a 30 minute respite from the constant communication and noise that is so very prevalent in my life. So, while this project is aimed at a higher purpose, on a personal level I’m really enjoying it.

+ Gone Girl is still slow going for me, but after talking with a friend who has already read it, I have a renewed sense of purpose. I’d already guessed the twist about a quarter of the way through it, and my friend confirmed my suspicion. I know, SPOILERS! But in doing so, she helped me figure out how to read it – i.e. not the WHAT but the HOW. This will all make more sense once I write the review, I’m sure, so please bear with me. Regardless, I’m trying to finish the book this week.

Actually, most of the other books on my Currently Reading list, including American Gods, are paused for the moment until I finish Gone Girl. I have such a distaste for it at the moment, that I feel if I don’t finish it as quickly as possible, I won’t ever want to. Apparently this is blasphemy to the whole internet, the entire population of which thoroughly enjoyed the novel, and I am broken and crazy because I don’t. But that’s alright – to each his own.

+ I listened to NPR on the radio this morning on my way into work. They did a story on the declining sales of the Barnes & Noble Nook. Apparently the Chairman and chief stockholder, Leonard Riggio, is planning to buy the BN stores, but NOT the Nook. Here’s the article that better explains it. What this means, potentially, is that Microsoft and a company called Pearson can spend their money improving the Nook and making it more competitive in the iPad/Kindle market, while the Riggio can focus on the brick-and-mortar stores and make them more competitive with Amazon, killer of all things brick-and-mortar*.

So today during my lunch break, I decided to go buy a real paper-and-ink book from a real brick-and-mortar store. I realize it would have been far better to shop at an independent book store, but things be as they are and my office being smack dab in the middle of urban sprawl, I did not have that luxury. I bought Michael Chabon’s The Final Solution, a very brief 131 page – is novella the right word? – novella. I’d like to have a little more regular content up, so buying a few shorter books and supporting a real-life book store, massive (dying) conglomerate though it may be, seemed the right route to go. So, I have a teeny tiny book that I plan to read on my lunches this week, and hopefully I’ll have more than one review comin’ atcha soon.

*Like I can really judge. Let’s be honest, I own a Kindle Fire and buy eBooks from them on the reg, and at Christmastime, I use my AmEx points to buy ALLTHEPRESENTS on amazon.com.

Notes on Reading

Notes on Reading: Gone Girl

I’m about 20% through Gone Girl, or so my Kindle tells me. This is a novel I have heard g.r.e.a.t. things about. Everyone I know who has read it loves it. It has amazing reviews. I know there has to be a brilliant payoff.

And yet.

I am not a fan of either character. The wife, Amy, is too…just so. A rich and cultured New Yorker with the exact right friends and the exact right relationship. She’s a tad too controlling, a tad too pretentious, and a tad too needy. And the husband, Nick – well he’s just not likable. The way he talks about his wife and his marriage, with the tiniest hint of sociopathy, it makes it very difficult to sympathize with him. And I know this is exactly the type of characterization that Gillian Flynn intended, and I know that 80% of the novel is yet to unfold and I’m sure that I’ll gain insight and fall in love with the story eventually. But how do you barrel through until you get to that point?

Obviously I’ll finish the book, of that I have no doubt. But I wish it were a tad easier for me to feel invested in the outcome.