So, here's the thing. I've never been a "school person". Like, studying for tests in an efficient way and planning out assignments ahead of time to avoid cramming in 1,000 words hours before a deadline have never been my reality. Ever. I'll give you an example. During my junior year of college, I was enrolled in an online accounting class. (Sidebar: I didn't know a flipping thing about accounting...like at all.) I enrolled in the class in July, before the school year even started, and had until March of the next year to finish it. That's 9 months, y'all. 9 freakin' months to finish 15 assignments (the long textbook kind that require Excel spreads and balance sheets) an two proctored exams. No big deal.
Well, it wasn't a big deal until I waited until February 3rd to start the first assignment. Long story short, I binge-read my Accounting 1 textbook and spent hours cramming assignments in, and I finished the class with an "A" exactly 7 hours before the deadline.
While I graduated from college with Latin honors and was on the Dean's List all 8 semesters, I'm not exactly what you'd call a stellar student. I'm good at memorizing, absorbing information quickly and pulling sentences out of thin air (which may explain my career choice), and that made me completely bomb at BSing the heck out of a paper. I once had an AP English teacher tell me I got the highest grade in my class on a paper about "A Catcher in the Rye" because it was beautifully written, even though he "could tell I clearly had not read the book in its entirety". I pretended to be confused and smiled as I took my graded paper and left. He was wrong. I actually hadn't read ANY of the book. What I had done, however, was quiz my best friend at lunch to get the details. (Love you, Abena. Forever and always).
The point is this- While I don't have a good, solid reason for this, I can honestly say I never wrote a substantial book report or reflection paper on a piece of literature I actually read for my 8 years of college and high school.
I would like to think Google, Wikipedia and SparkNotes, but I would also like to make up for lost time and reflect on "Gone Girl". The first reason for this is that I am totally late to the party...literally, I think every bookworm I know has already read it. I, like with Wild, knew I had to read it after seeing the movie and loving every second of it. My "tardy to the party" situation makes a review of this book a bit obsolete...I'd much rather discuss it a little and see what everyone else thought.
My second reason for this post is that I know I can't be the only one who was living under a literary rock. If you are looking for your next read or want to start reading more in 2017....I recommend it. It is easily one of the best novels I have ever read...it may even be the best.
This book is so rich and good that the fact that I knew the plot already didn’t take away from my reading experience at all. Characterization is a concept we all learn in 8th grade English and get really preteen eye-rolly about because who even wants to scribble any words, let alone 500, on wide ruled notebook paper about how the author built up of the characters in The Giver? But whoaaaaa, the characterization in this book is so stinkin’ good, it makes me want to go hug my 8th grade English teacher and let her know that I get it. I, like, really get it. Also, that I am sorry for every paper that was clearly derived from some 5-minute cram session with SparkNotes because how insulting must that have been to read? Yikes.
Anyway, the point is….Flynn characterized the heck out of Nick Dunne and Amy Elliott Dunne. She did the damn thing.
I think the most interesting thing about this story, and the way it’s written, is that it leaves the reader not really sure who the protagonist is, and who wears the shame of being the antagonist. Who is the good guy? Who is the big bad wolf?
You start the book being a zillion percent convinced that you are on one side, but pages into the second chapter…you have completely changed your mind. I think the alternating viewpoints, combined with the shift in how Amy’s viewpoint is told is genius. It keeps the reader on her toes, and it also reminds you that words are just words and how easy it is to convince people that you’re the victim in a situation by stringing the right words together.
I think this story has so much to do with the fragility of identity and how darn easy it is to convince people that you are who you want them to think that you are, regardless of who you actually are in real life. That concept of creating an identity is one of the few concrete things that exists in this story, so when choosing who you believe in or like better…I don’t think the question is who’s right and who’s wrong.
The question, I think, is…Which is worse? Allowing someone to fall in love with a version of you that you have created because you knew they would love it and then punishing them when they are unable to stay in love with you when you can’t keep up the façade? Or….Not being able to stay in love with someone because they no longer fit into the box you’ve mentally created for them in your life, that symbolizes who they “should be” in order to make your world and easier place to be?
Can you love someone who you hate? Is it better to have a scary, dangerous love…if it is in fact love, than no love at all?
I feel like my interpretation of this book and the themes I think it touches on will look completely different from someone else’s, but y’all…if you need a book to take your mind of whatever is going on …this is it.
It’s a page-turner…like the kind you throw in your purse to pluck through during lunch breaks and Uber rides.
It’s thrilling, dark, twisted and completely deliciously written. I will probably read it again…and then again.
It’s just THAT good.
Plus, it takes place in Missouri, so all of my Mizzou homies…y’all will catch some of the Missouri references. PLUS, Mizzou Football got a shout out, soooo M-I-Z y’all!
If you've read this book, let's talk about it. If you haven't, you should.
With Love & Glitter,