I actually laughed at this challenge. My mother scoffed at it too. It wasn’t until I went on instagram and saw people posting about this one and saying this was the first time going to the library, or their first time in a long time that I realized that my experience is not everyone’s.
My library card doesn’t even have my signature on it. It has my mother’s neat print where she signed for me since I was too young to even handle a pen, let alone write my name when she had me signed up for my first library card. I’ve been a devoted library user ever since. I do buy books on occasion, though usually they are favorites I’ve already read, or antique copies of classics that I’d love to have decorate my shelf, but for the most part I select my books at the place I’m already paying taxes too anyways.
So to mix up this challenge, since it wasn’t that hard for me, I decided to do an ebook from the library, which was something I’d never tried before. It also helped since I was traveling over the holidays and wanted books without a heavy load in my backpack. Voila, books directly on my phone. I went to the popular books section and picked one that had been on my list for a while: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.
The story begins with Nick Dunne, a Missouri native who recently moved back from New York to care for his sick mother and aging father, bringing with him an amazing New England wife. It’s the morning of their fifth anniversary, and although Nick reflects on how amazing the relationship once was, it quickly becomes obvious that he and Amy are not what they used to be. With a marriage falling apart, Nick faces even more problems when he comes home to find the house in a state of disarray and his wife clearly missing. A police investigation ensues. The story follows Nick’s story in the progress of searching for his wife, while Amy tells their seven year love story in her diary. But while the marriage certainly has had its problems, the reader is still left to wonder if it was enough to inspire Nick to kill his wife, or if he’ll simply become accused of doing so falsely.
It’s a tough description to give, simply because there is so much to this book that can’t even begin to be summed up in a paragraph. I really did enjoy this book, surprising too since I’d seen the movie and already knew the biggest surprises in the plot. But I really enjoyed this as a novel too, because I felt like the written tale actually doubled the depth that was already there. I loved how this story explored media, and justice, and marriage, and narration. I enjoyed the narrative itself, and I became very interested in the plot.
I think a lot of people might be turned off by the characters because they’re not extremely likable. But I’ve become someone who’s quickly been able to look over the fact that I might not like a character because I can recognize there are more important things sometimes. This book actually reminded me of Tender is the Night in some ways, with a sort of warped marriage and a fascinating character in both Amy Dunne and Nicole Divers.
Some, like my father, might also feel this book is just another anti-marriage message. Honestly, I think I might have felt that myself. had I not read the acknowledgements page at the end where Flynn praises her wonderful spouse for marrying her. And to be honest, a closer look revealed to me a greater theme throughout than just marriage bashing. Characters constantly point out the effect the media has, on justice, on gender roles, and on marriage. More than once someone is told that they’ve watched too many movies, or have seen too many crime shows, or that a children’s series has dictated the entire life of a young woman, or even one character who uses novels for a nefarious real life purpose. So to me, the message of the book isn’t “marriage sucks don’t get hitched you’ll regret it,” it’s a warning against simplifying love. It’s a warning against thinking marriage will be easy like it is in romcoms or in a thousand other silly romantic stories. It’s about remembering that life isn’t as neat as it is on a television screen, and that you cannot go into a marriage or a life expecting perfection. Because perfection just isn’t possible, and dreaming of it will only mess things up.
As to the choice to do ebook, I’ll say this: I really do prefer hard copies. Books I can hold in my hands and thumb through. But, I was glad to have a smaller version of this book to take with me on my trip. I enjoyed being able to pull out my phone and read at the intermission of the ballet I attended. And you just can’t do that with a hardback copy of Gone Girl. So there are a few benefits I suppose.
Anyhow, that’s my two-cents. Anyone else have any thoughts on Gone Girl? What about libraries? Do you use them? How about ebooks? Do you prefer those?