Honest and lively YA book reviews
I have this friend who I can't stand. I'm using the term friend rather loosely here, I think recently we have spiralled downward into somewhat frosty acquaintances. She's violently pretentious. She has this thing about champagne. She knows all about the vintages and what vineyard the grapes were grown and the names of the crows that perched on the goddam vines while they were growing and all that other boring shit that she trots out at dinner parties, for some reason thinking people will be impressed. I'll tell you a secret - I "accidentally" stole one of these vomit inducingly expensive bottles of champagne recently. And I drank it. And it wasn't all that. Tasted exactly the same as every other bottle of champagne I've ever drank from. But oh no - this friend would insist she could detect notes of oak, or a hint of apple or whatever other bullshit she dreamt up. I mean she has a wine cellar for fucks sake. Not in her house. No. She has a rented wine cellar. Because let me tell you something. It's all a facade. It's all smoke and mirrors. Oh sure, at every dinner party, event and function we attend she's wearing her Louboutins, she's sipping her freaking champagne and she proclaiming loudly about her trip to Portugal or Greece or somewhere (yeah, I don't really listen that hard .....) to find a marriage location (her actual words. Whatevs girl .....) but I know it's all fake. I've been to her crummy apartment. I've sat on her frayed and faded red couch which reeks of cat pee. I've seen her so poor she's sitting on her bedroom floor crying, sorting through her clothes, picking out things to sell on eBay. I've seen her desperately trying to make something to eat out of a packet of mushrooms, a block of mouldy cheese and some questionable smelling chicken because she's spent all her money on fucking champagne.
This is my exact problem with her. She's so dishonest. I don't have a problem with someone having money and enjoying flashing it around a little, talking the talk at some party. But don't do this unless you actually have money. And don't forgo petrol that week to find the money, forcing you to get up at 4am to allow you the time for the two and half hour walk to work. This is a true story. There are a lot of people this crazy chick has fooled but I'm not one of them. I've known her for too long. I've shared an apartment with her. I've seen her sticky taping her bath taps back together because she can't afford to hire a plumber. That's a pretty dark time for anyone to live through. But instead of accepting that everyone goes through these things, and working hard to make life a bit more bearable, she's attempting to skip that and fake success instead, scrimping where no-one has any business scrimping (like tea bags. I'm really not happy reusing tea bags.) and splashing out on "props" for her trendy, lavish lifestyle. Yeah - her imaginary trendy, lavish lifestyle. I've tried an intervention with her. I was genuinely concerned about her spending habits and her sustainability. But she's not interested. So long as people flutter to her at social events, wowing over whatever bottle she brought for the evening I guess she feels like she's winning. But she bugs the crap outta me. I know it's petty to still care, it's not my problem. But I can't help but care when we were once close.
I'm digressing. What I'm trying to say is that reading Gone Girl was rather like spending an evening with this friend - boring, uncomfortable and with the knowledge that you just know you're being lied to constantly.
The basic plot is pretty straight forward: Amy disappears. Whodunit? I can't really say much more without spoiling the whole thing.
The story is told from the dual POVs of Appalling Amy and her shifty husband, Nasty Nick. These two are vile. I hated them. I hated being forced to spend the entirety of the book with one or the other of them as they are both so foul. Amy is vindictive, manipulative, scheming and a compulsive liar. I hated her fabricated persona and I hated her true personality. She is embarrassingly snobby, and so goddam up herself:
"When we're done with golf - I win, of course I do, I know because I've been keeping score in my head - we go to the hotdog stand."
Yeah, we're talking about mini golf here Amy - grow up!!
“Wear this, don't wear that. Do this chore now and do this chore when you get a chance and by that I mean now. And definitely, definitely give up the things you love for me, so I will have proof that you love me best. It's the female pissing contest -- as we swan around our book clubs and our cocktail hours, there are few things women love more than being able to detail the sacrifices our men make for us. A call-and-response, the response being: "Ohh, that's so sweet.”"
I can't stand the way Amy does this - looks down on other women constantly. And in fact, other people in general. She's got this horrible superiority complex that got really grating to read about. She does this on numerous occasions, calling her concerned neighbours all kinds of names, dismissing her parents as unimportant and stereotyping Nick's young girlfriend with whom he was having a rather long winded affair. I don't really understand the angle the author was trying to take with Amy. Was she supposed to be this unlikeable?! If yes, then I feel this was a rather risky move on the author's part as the psycho chick narrates around 50% of the goddam story so we're stuck to listening to her offering her opinion on how much she hates everything and how everyone is stupid except her, and how she thinks that it is more noble to fucking kill herself than get divorced for a large portion of the book. It all left a rather sour taste in my mouth to be honest. And turned reading Gone Girl into a real test of endurance.
Nick is no better. He lies constantly, is a slimy, pathetic snake of man, squirming through the dirt on his belly, afraid to poke his head above the long grass due to his complete lack of a backbone and his mortal fear of conflict. He and Amy both suffer from a complete lack of communication skills. They are both entirely unable to tell each other and those around them how they're feeling, to the point where the whole thing just becomes bizarre. I understand that the author was withholding information to ramp up the tension, but withhold too much and it just all becomes ludicrously unbelievable. No man can be this helpless and ignorant surely?! Nick spends a lot of time flailing around, following other people about with a permanent question mark hanging above his head. He becomes irrevocably boring with his constant complaints and his blind stumbling from one clue to the next. In the end I just wound up not giving a fuck about him. I wound up not giving a fuck about anyone as they were all, including the supporting characters, achingly two dimension, dull and despicable.
The end was horrible. Just horrible. The end was a downward spiralling black hole of despair and nothingness. I wish they had all died collectively and freed us of all of them. The violence inflicted on Desi was so gratuitous and the way Amy morphed from a slightly unhinged and bored housewife out for revenge, into a calculating, homicidal psychopath was simply bizarre. And the baby!! Dear lord - the baby!! Why would the author bring an innocent baby into this twisted state of affairs?! No. The ending was hideous.
At least I can drop this book down a well now, enjoying the satisfying splash as it hits the bottom, never to see the light of day again. Urgh - I really hated this.
See y'all after!!