Upon review, the tone of my last post was obviously influenced by the fact that I’d done nothing for two days prior but watch “Downton Abbey” – reread that thing in a fancy British accent and tell me it doesn’t sound like someone’s been spending too much time immersed in BBC drama. The feelings are sincere. The style, not so much.
Today marks the third day in a row in which I have not really left the house or done anything worth talking about. (Every time I start to feel guilty about it, I remind myself that I’m usually only home for three hours before I contemplate sleep and I deserve this.) In an effort to be productive, I spent a solid eight hours reading “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn start to finish. I am a notorious non-fiction reader and bought the novel because 1) I heard really good thing about it from everyone I know and 2) I wanted to read more novels and it seemed like a good way of recharging my fiction batteries. Oh, boy.
That book is crazy. I’m a woman of many, many words and opinions and there is nothing I can think to say about that tome except that it is nuts. I think there was enough going on in that story to fill up the plots of three to four other books. Sometimes, plot madness is good. Sometimes, it’s great. However, in this case, there is so much incredibly insane nonsense happening that even the characters who are clearly marked as crazy people from page one start to make choices that make you think, “Wait, that’s just too much. No one, not even some psychopathic murdering asshole, would do that.” And if you’ve taken your story to a place where the reader doesn’t believe that even a psychopathic murdering asshole can pull off a plot point, it’s probably time to slow your roll. As my husband, the librarian, often says, “Even imaginary universes have to follow their own rules.”
Final word: read that book only if you are prepared to be really angry and dissatisfied at the end. It was obviously a page turner – I read the entire thing in a day – but it was also super aggravating and gross and full of broad, sweeping generalizations about men, women and marriage (like, for instance, that women can only be either cloying, simpering doormats or devious sociopaths bent on revenge and that marriages are always complete shams, either because both parties decide to be happy at all costs or because they decide to make each other miserable. Honest, stable, sane people do not exist in “Gone Girl.” At all.)
I was really disappointed. Sad face.