Every now and then my Twitter feed erupts with talk of One Big Thing: a book, a movie, a TV show, a speech, an event, etc., etc. Sometimes it's the awesomeness of Bill Clinton, the insanity of the Grey's Anatomy finale, and--most recently--it was about the book Gone Girl. I easily had a dozen books in my to-read queue, and I abandoned them all to read this book. I had to see what everyone was talking about.
I read it quickly, in just a couple days. About half-way through--when a big twist is revealed--I didn't want to put it down. I wanted to keep reading in one sitting until I finished but pesky things like life and parenting called for my attention. (So demanding! Those things.)
So, that proves it's a quick, engaging, novel, and I'll also say it's incredibly written. I highlighted phrase after phrase just because the writing was too good not to look back on one day. (Example: "But there's no app for a bourbon buzz on a warm day in a cool, dark bar. The world will always want a drink.") I think you'll enjoy the process of reading this book a lot, regardless how you feel about in the end.
Speaking of that.... (here's where I warn you spoilers are ahead--about this book AND In the Woods; turn back now if you don't want to find out details) ... when all was said and done, I just didn't like it as much as I hoped I would.
One, it left me with about a million questions, some of which I'll include below so you can help me with answers in the comments. I don't always hate loose ends. In fact, I love a vague, fill-in-your-own-blanks ending that does not answer every single question a reader might have. What I hate is when all those loose ends are ignored in order to give a particular ending.
The two main characters are pretty universally hated, as far as I can tell, and while Amy (oh Amy) was deservedly vilified, I didn't get the Nick hate. He was awful in the first section--the section that was based on LIES--but once those lies were revealed, I was like, "Huh. I might have cheated on her too."
So, anyway, read it. You'll probably enjoy it and you'll likely even love it (so many people do) and then maybe you can help me answer these questions:
- This "Cool Girl" Amy became when she first met Nick was too exhausting or frustrating and she said she turned off that girl about two years into the marriage (right?) and became more like her real self, alienating Nick, manipulating him, etc. He doesn't cheat on her until they've been together about 3.5 years, though, so no one else noticed her personality shift in the year and a half between the end of the good and the beginning of the affair? She was same ole awesome Amy for her parents? Friends? And she only changed for Nick? To him, she had become cold and horrible--this is why he cheated--but did she only make those changes behind closed doors?
- I'm assuming the part about giving her parents all her money was true but this struck me as something Amy wouldn't have done so easily. Maybe money didn't really matter to her, but I just couldn't imagine she would so willingly give the money without adding her parents to the list of those to get revenge against. She had such disdain for her parents, this part just made me pause. She had years before her disappearance to make her parents pay for that sacrifice, so what happened?
- I had a hard time believing they couldn't poke holes in her story of the day she was kidnapped. No one could account for Desi that entire day? His mother was emotional and irrational but that rich woman didn't have a lawyer? A lawyer who couldn't find a single hole in her story from some point of that day? Not to mention the other weeks he didn't have her when she said he did. It just felt like SOMEONE could have easily proved that story suspicious.
(This reminded me of In the Woods, another book about a crazy sociopath who basically gets away with murder. She gets away on A TECHNICALITY, something so believable and shocking and upsetting that it just made the book THAT MUCH BETTER, for me. At the end, the holes in her story were slowly revealed and everyone started catching on, but they still couldn't pin the crime on her. I actually loved that ending. It felt so unfairly realistic. Whereas Gone Girl ended with everyone just accepting her story and moving on. It just felt like the entire police station scene was glossed over and rushed through to get to the end.
- SPEAKING OF THE END, so she went back to the clinic and got Nick's sperm after they received the letter, but then what? How did she get pregnant? On her own, after a thorough Google search? (Gross.) Did she go back to the clinic with it and just walk in with a sample? If it was left at the clinic, do doctors just impregnate women months later (after they are NATIONAL NEWS STORIES) without the consent of the sperm donor, even if that donor is her husband? I just had some actual medical/legal-type questions about this. (Not that one or all of these scenarios aren't possible but I was just like, oh! She stole his sperm and is now pregnant without explanation of how she pulled that off, okaaaay.)
- I also had a hard time believing that changing her hair, gaining some weight, and getting tan would make Amy entirely unrecognizable at the cabins (or the putt-putt course or the casino)? She was a national news story. Maybe Greta and Jeff DID notice but wanted her money more but that whole arc was confusing to me.
- This is simply because I haven't gone back to re-read the first section, but it was referenced (a few times, I think) that Nick bashed in Amy's head or he had images of her on her hands and knees with her head bashed in and I think this was just his imagination? Maybe? (I loved the foreshadowing at the time but then it turned out not to be foreshadowing. She was alive and well and never had a bashed-in head.) At the time she disappeared, he didn't hate her, right, he just didn't love her. I guess I just didn't understand why these thoughts were dropped in the story--they clearly weren't true and I don't even find them believable as part of his imagination.
Phew! That's a lot of questions about one book and I feel like there's even more I'm forgetting to ask. Anyway, let me know if you can shed any light on some of these, if you loved the book (and why), or if you're on my side of things and didn't love it in the end.