Some of you may know that I am in a fantastic book club with some of my lovely, wine-lovin, bookworm friends. As with most books clubs, we take turns choosing books and hosting. Sometimes we spend tons of time dissecting the book and other times we spend five minutes talking about it and the rest eating/drinking/having girl time. I love these ladies for a plethora of reasons–for going to see City of Bones with me so we can cringe at JCB’s hair, for loving the LA Times Festival of Books as much as me, for sharing that intense need to talk about a book immediately after–but one of the things I most appreciate is that they help me expand my horizons. I’m a YA girl by nature (no, really) and I rarely read an Adult fiction unless it’s one I know I’ll love or unless I need to see the movie. But my book club has YA and Adult Fiction fans. And they have fabulous taste in books.
Over the past couple of years we’ve read books like Nefertiti, The Middle Place, Defending Jacob, The Sky Is Everywhere (guess who picked that), and Unravel Me (um, chapter 62. You know you were thinking the same thing), to name a few. These have been fabulous books, and while this is normally a YA blog, it seems such a waste not to share the great books I’m discovering because of these awesome ladies. So each month–unless it’s a book I’ve already reviewed–I’ll share our latest pick and my thoughts with you.
And this month, holy crap, it’s a doozy.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
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? (Goodreads)
Nick is that guy. He’s handsome, has a gorgeous wife–the works. And he and Amy, his charming wife, are totally in love until gradually, piece by piece, they lose their grip on their marriage. Nick loses his job as a writer in NY, Amy’s job and most of her trust fund soon follow. The two relocate from their brownstone to a cookie cutter mini mansion in Missouri, where Nick grew up. His mother is dying of cancer and his horrendous, verbally abusive father is now in an adult care facility. Nick borrows the last of Amy’s money to open up a bar with his twin sister, Go, to try to start a new life after dragging her to that town, away from her beloved family, friends and city life.
When we meet Nick, he and Amy are preparing the celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary. She’s planned a treasure hunt for him–something she does every year–and he doesn’t have the heart to tell her he doesn’t love her anymore. He goes to work as usual, only to come home hours later to find that the house is in shambles and Amy has gone missing, most likely abducted by an intruder. As the story unravels, more and more clues point to Nick as the perpetrator, and the series of lies he keeps telling the police aren’t helping his case. Meanwhile, we get to know Amy through the diary entries she’s made over the course of her relationship with Nick. It paints a dark picture of their marriage.
And then the second portion of the book comes and you, along with me, go, um, excuse me but WHAT THE HELL????
But that’s all I can tell you because I don’t want to ruin anything.
This book was excellent. It was crazy, which I’d heard, but crazy in a different way than I expected. I was waiting for a big DUM DA DUM DUM crazy, a Bruce Willis Has Been Dead The Whole Time And You Never Saw The Signs kind of shocker. That’s not what happened at all. Part of the craziness is revealed quite early on (at the end of the first third of the book). The rest is just an absolutely brilliantly masterminded story of total insanity. Before that, I was completely sucked into the book. I mean the first pages are of Nick describing his wife’s skull and the contents of her brain. Hello, creepytown, right? And Amy hasn’t even disappeared at that point. The first portion is all about describing the undoing of this couple, a normal, happy, blissfully in love twosome, whose relationship begins to crumble. If you’re like me, you’ll get enveloped in some of these sweet moments they have and sadly, you’ll enjoy watching it fall apart. And then some serious sh*t goes down.
Amy’s disappearance is a mystery and there are so many moments I wanted to absolutely punch Nick. He makes such bad decisions, he lies, he does stupidly inappropriate things, but I found myself wanting to believe in his innocence, wanting to find that person out there just crazy enough to kidnap his poor, sweet wife and exonerate the anti-hero I found in Nick. And Amy, well, there just aren’t words for her and her sad little diary.
Warning: There are lots of people who love the book but hate the ending. I will admit that I was stumbling, wondering if my Nook was acting up, when I realized there were no more pages. For a little while that ruined it for me. Then, hours later, I had this revelation and I decided the ending was sort of brilliant.
Crush Intensity: 4.5/5 You should read this book. I’m so glad I did. If my book club hadn’t chosen it, I would never have picked it up. It was a great read.
Source: I bought this for my Nook for $4.99. Score!