I finished this book and then I went out to meet my friends at a bar, and randomly in the midst of belting out the lyrics to Coolio's classic Gangsta's Paradise, I would think about the couple in this book and how messed up they were and get a shiver up my back.
So what's the story about? It's about Nick and Amy, who have been married for five years when Amy disappears one day. All signs point to Nick, who pleads his innocence but doesn't seem overly concerned about his wife's disappearance. As the days pass with no trace of Amy and the evidence piles up against him, it seems like there is no way out. But not all is as it seems.
I read this book for a book club I recently joined. I don't think I would have read it otherwise, because it's not really my style. I don't read thrillers (certainly not psychological ones) or books about unhappy marriages. And I think part of the reason is because these stories just mess with my mind! I get freaked out by the idea that people can be so messed up.
Gillian Flynn wrote a book about very complicated people, but what disturbed me most was just how much people can manipulate information to their ends. This came up a lot in the Chaos Walking trilogy - the idea that if you repeat something often enough, people will believe it. And that people prefer a clean, easily explained story to one that is not. Flynn plays with this a lot and shows us just how scary the consequences can be when we get all of our news in sound bites and the court of public opinion is run by the media trying desperately to get good ratings. It makes you pause - how many times have you made a snap judgment about a person or a situation based on something you heard on the news and not considered that perhaps it was taken out of context or is just blatantly false?
That really struck me, though I won't pretend that the book is about the media and the way we all blindly follow what they tell us. The book is about Amy and Nick and how messed up the two of them are, particularly in the way they act towards each other. In a way, I appreciated that Amy was probably the more messed up of the two of them - also, she was brilliant. I appreciate a really intelligent female villain, and I liked what Amy had to say about women who try too hard to be "cool girls" instead of just being their awesome selves. She points out that people spend so much of their lives pretending to be something that they're not. But at what point do you become the person you are pretending to be, rather than the person you think you are?
It's hard to review a book like this without giving a large part of it away, so I'm sorry if these musings seem vague and directionless. I don't even know if I liked this book. If I used that kind of language, I'd say this book was a total rhymes-with-kindpuck. I'm glad I read it because it's still with me, freaking me out. But... I would prefer not to get these scary shivers up and down my back from time to time.