Thursday, November 7, 2013
GRAB(ook) Club: "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn
I had heard the hype about "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn -- so many people seemed to be reading it & raving about it -- and so I kept debating whether it would be worth buying the hardcover or waiting for the paperback (which seems to be taking forever to come out...!). Then Mel added it to the GRAB(ook) Club agenda, so I wound up getting an e-book version via my sister.
And, as many reader reviews I've read alluded, this was a hard book to put down. Adding to the allure -- reading an e-book (particularly on my almost-original model Kobo) made it more difficult to flip ahead & sneak a peek at the ending -- incentive to keep reading!! By Monday night, I was getting close to the end. I was so eager to finish (particularly when I had a post to write before the book discussion posts went up Thursday) that I set aside my usual newspapers & continued to read the book on my Tuesday morning commute. With just a few pages to go as we pulled into the train station (curses!), I speedwalked to my office, threw down my briefcase, & finished off the book in my cubicle before I even turned on my computer. ; ) (I read the papers on the evening commute home.)
I liked this book. It's definitely a page-turner. I did NOT particularly like the main characters, Nick & Amy, each with their own flaws (although I found Nick slightly more sympathetic than Amy). (Disturbingly, I found myself thinking of serial killers/rapists Paul Bernardo & -- especially -- Karla Homolka, at one point.)
But I couldn't help but be drawn into their story. And think about the strengths & weaknesses of my own marriage, even as I watched theirs unravel.
Amy disappears on the day of her & Nick's 5th wedding anniversary -- and guess who's the prime suspect? The story unfolds in alternating "he said, she said" style, between narration from Nick and past diary entries from Amy. Whose account of the relationship do we believe? Or does the truth lie somewhere in between? Plot twists and surprises galore along the way. There are even subplots/references to pregnancy loss and infertility. (Melissa already asked one infertility-related question related to the book.)
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So here's my question(s):
One of the recurring threads in the book is the tension and contrast between city & country/small town life. Nick grew up in smalltown Missouri; Amy in New York City. The two live a charmed life in Manhattan -- until they both lose their jobs and their finances take a nosedive. When his aging parents require care, Nick persuades Amy to return to his hometown with him.
Would you ever want to move back to your hometown (if you don't already live there)? Both Nick & Amy voice some stereotypes about smalltown life and people; likewise, their family members & neighbours have their own ideas about what life in the big city must be like. Do you think these observations (on either side) were true, or fair?
I know dh sometimes feels guilty that I am living so far away from my family. "We can move back," he sometimes offers.
My parents actually moved to the small town (population about 2,500) where they now live almost 30 years ago, when I was finishing university. I only ever lived there with them for a little over a year before I got married. But even though it's not one of the towns where I grew up, suffice to say, it's close in location, size and ambience, lol. The largest town I lived in, before going to university, was 12,000 people. Dh, on the other hand, grew up in Toronto and has spent his whole life in the Greater Toronto Area, aside from the years he went away to school.
Sometimes I think about it. It would be nice to be closer to my family. I miss the friendliness and simplicity of small town living (no traffic jams! affordable housing!!)(well, affordable when compared to Toronto, lol). But then I think about the lack of choices, the lack of privacy, the lack of tolerance of different viewpoints (although you don't always get that in a larger centre either)...
The thing is, I have lived enough places in my life to know that there is good and bad everywhere you go; it's up to you to make the best of things wherever you are. Some stereotypes are true and some aren't. Amy observes in the book something to the effect that many of the North Cartharge people had opinions about New York without ever having gone near the place, and I find that's very true. Whenever I go back, people will ask me, "So how's TORONTO?" in a slightly snide tone of voice, as if they can't really believe anyone would ever want to live here (Toronto being the city that everyone in Canada loves to hate)(even long before Rob Ford ever became mayor, lol). And of course, a lot of them have never set foot here.
Of course, city people can be incredibly obtuse and condescending about smalltown life too.
So to answer my own question -- I'm not really sure I'd want to move back to the same town where my parents live. That might be a little too close for comfort. ; ) But I might not mind living in a larger town or smaller city. closer than where I am right now. ; )
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One more question I can't resist asking:
I remember reading quite awhile ago that the movie rights to "Gone Girl" had been purchased by Reese Witherspoon. Maybe it's the blond thing ; ) but I naturally assumed she would be playing Amy. (Although -- likely because of the name -- I kept seeing Amy Poehler and her sly grin as I read the book, lol.) However, in Googling "Gone Girl movie," I learned that the movie will be released in the fall of 2014, with Ben Affleck as Nick and Rosamund Pike as Amy.
What do you think of this casting? Who would you nominate to play Amy? Nick? Any of the other characters?
After you answer my question, please click over to read the rest of the book club questions for Gone Girl. You can get your own copy of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn at bookstores including Amazon.