Friday, August 15, 2014

What Is Wrong With These People

Hola, how are all of you?  Sorry about the lack of post yesterday, but Hubbin (awesome and amazing person that he is) surprised me with awesome concert tickets and needless to say waking up was not priority after a wild night like that :-)  To make it up to you I will now present you with a rambling so chock full of rants that you will forget all about yesterday...I'm not sure how the two are correlated, but hey whatever :-)  The book is Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and it hit all my angry buttons.  This is supposed to be a thriller/mystery so if you have not read it yet and plan to please keep in mind as always SPOILERS AHEAD!
The book is written in three parts and alternates between the two main characters (Amy and Nick) perspectives.
Part 1 - Amy and Nick are a New York couple, living in a New York brownstone, with New York jobs, living the New York life.  Amy is vibrant, detailed oriented and sharp.  Nick is laid back, charming, and good looking...or so they try and convince you. Amy and Nick move to Missouri to take care of Nick's ailing mother after they both lose their New York jobs, much to the distress of Amy, who never the less try's to put a happy face on it.  Nick goes to work at the bar he and his sister bought with the rest of Amy's trust fund, coming home to find his wife missing on the day of their fifth anniversary.  This first part of the book show us how Nick and Amy met and got married.  It then progresses from Nick perspective to the investigation into his wife's disappearance and we here from Amy in a series of diary entry's dated from before her disappearance.  Several things do not add up and Amy's diary seems to contradict some of the things Nick claims or even seems to know.  We also find out that Nick is a bit of a dick and has been having an affair with a student from the local college.  Nothing feels quite right and as Nick follows the clues Amy left for their traditional scavenger hunt more and more weirdness happens.  As the investigation progresses it seems that Nick becomes the prime suspect as many of the clues start pointing to him, even though he denies several of them (it makes sense in the book I promise) it all comes down to him.  Eventually Nick realizes that all of the places in the hunt are places that him and his mistress got it on.  This realization makes him realize that Amy is trying to frame him for her murder...
Part 2 - This is the part of the book that reveals the twist...Amy is alive!  Amy, sick of living in Missouri and heart broken over the discovery of Nicks mistress decides to fake her death and frame him as punishment.  She had planned this for over a year and has a stash of cash and a plan.  She takes off to the mountains and rents a cash only cabin and watches the case against Nick unfold.  When things don't happen fast enough, she call annonymous tip lines to make sure her fake diary, full of incriminating information, and tidbits that make look like a monster instead of just the self absorbed douchebag he actually is, is discovered.  She gets her money stolen and is forced to call an old friend, Desi,  who is fairly obsessed with her to help her out.  He ends up keeping her a virtual prisoner under the pretense of helping her, which makes her angry.  Meanwhile Nick has become the only suspect in the investigation thanks to Amy's mechanations and is now desperate to clear his name.  As he digs into her past, he discovers that Amy has a truly vindictive streak and will do anything to exact revenge on people she feels slighted her.  This includes lying, plotting, and even hurting herself to get other people's lives ruined.  It does not even have to be anything big, even a tiny perceived slight is enough to set her off.  Nick realizes that Amy is probably still alive and goes on TV to plead forgiveness in a bid to get her to come home and clear his name.
Part 3 - Amy, who has been following the case closely is moved my the idea she can still be the center of Nick's universe and drugs and kills Desi and mutilates herself to make it look like he kidnapped and abused her.  She arrives home, trying to make everything OK with Nick (who is still a doucebag) and spins an epic story to the police to keep herself out of trouble.  Nick is understandably disgusted by Amy, but when he tries to get the truth out of her, or in desperation to leave her, she announces her pregnancy (accomplished using frozen sperm from an earlier fertilization treatment earlier in their marriage) and tells him she has been setting it up that if he leaves, or tells anybody what really happened she will never let him near his child.  The book ends with everybody miserable, trapped and unhappy.
Whew that was a long one, and does not even begin to describe the sheer unlikability of almost every character in the book.  I have read a lot of reviews on this book (after I had read it for myself) and I keep hearing conflicting opinions, so please keep in mind as I vent my own personal fury over this book, that it is just that, personal.  There are several issues I had with this book, but oddly enough the writing was not one of them.  For the most part it was written fairly well, the plot was laid out in a well thought out manner, and for the most part it even retained a fair bit of plausibility.  Several reviews have also stated that they felt that the point of this book was to show our tendency to try people by the media and how a person can be found guilty on no other strength then a few over zealous reporters who think they know exactly what happened.  I agree with this interpretation up to a point, but feel there is a lot of other crap in it too.  My first complaint is the lack of sympathetic characters.  I get the anti-hero, flawed character concept, but this book seems to have taken it to an unenjoyable extreme.  By the end of the book the only person you can even remotely root for is the horrible, selfish, cheating, self pitying, unable to take any personal responsibility, conflict averse, needy, smarmy Nick who if their was a moral and ethics jail would be it's primary inmate.  He is married to what turns out to be the manipulative, self-absorbed, vindictive, psychopathic lying, murderous, soulless, vapid, vain Amy.  These are just the two main characters in this sordid tale.  All of the supporting characters are also shown to be some combination of inappropriate, crazy, attention hungry, obsessive, slutty, stupid and a plethora of other undesirable behaviors.  This makes for a very uncomfortable, unenjoyable read.  There are a few minor characters that the writer attempts to inject some sort of redeemable value into, like one of the two main detectives Ms. Boney who actually believes Nick about crazy Amy, but overall their was a void of characters to give a damn about.  One of the other things that really bugged my in this book was the horrid portrayal of various women.  Again Ms. Boney may have been a single exception in this, but for the most part all of the women were displayed as the sterotype of all the "bad" things about women.  Amy was obviously the worst, woman who cried rape and violence with a disturbing regularity, undermining the millions of women who are subjected to this horror everyday, but are brushed off as hysterical lying
females because of women like Amy.  Nicks young mistress was portrayed as a slutty whore who did not care that she was potentially ruining a marriage, she was also shown as overly clingy and more concerned about herself then a potential murder victim.  Other women were shown as attention hungry, liars, weak,
incapable and shallow.  The men did not fair much better, being shown as misogynistic, violent, sex addicts who while justified in their woman hate, were completely useless creatures in their own right.  This may have been the point of the book, to show people at their absolute worst and what the results of this can be, and that is valid.  I however do not need to read books about the everyday depravity of people...I can turn on the news for that.  I don't minds bad things happening, especially in a thriller.  I don't mind unlikable people, especially if they turn out to not be the bad guy (yay Snape!), but there needs to be some light somewhere in the story, some hope, some goodness, if for no other reason to contrast the bad.  I have read some dark and heavy books and really enjoyed them.  I have read some fantastic thrillers and mysteries that highlight the darkness of humans in a really great way, but they always had some factor that I cannot put into words, but that this book was missing.  Obviously I did not like this book, which frustrated me 'cause the author seems to have some real talent, I just really did not like the content. There is a movie based on this book coming out and I want to see it because I cannot imagine they left everything as is 'cause it would make for a very tough movie to get people to buy and watch for a second time.  I cannot in good conscious recommend this book to anybody, but you all decide for yourself.  I give this book 5 out of 10 faked deaths and that is only because the writing was to good to not give it some credit.
Do you notice ramblings on books I don't like tend to be really long? How did you feel about this book?  Does a book need to have hope, or is it ok to sometimes make a point using hopelessness?  How much do I love my wonderful Hubbin right now?

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