“Gone Girl”


Flynn, Gillian.  Gone Girl: A Novel.  New York: Crown Publishing, 2012.  Audio Book.

Borrowed from The Cedar Falls Public Library.

Listened to between November 7-13, 2012.

Three out of five stars.

Gone Girl

Nick Dunn wakes up one summer morning expecting to humor his wife with her 5th annual anniversary day scavenger hunt.  Instead, he finds that she has disappeared mysteriously, perhaps violently, and suddenly Nick finds himself the prime suspect.  What unfolds is a dark, mysterious and suspenseful tale that unravels the seemingly perfect marriage of Nick and Amy.  Unreliable narrators alternate their versions of the story via Amy’s secret diary and Nick’s post-disappearance experiences, keeping readers second- and third-guessing their immediate reactions as more truths about Nick and Amy’s lives are revealed and their picture-perfect façade crumbles.

What starts as a compelling, action packed, complex tale of “he said/she said”, quickly loses steam.  The initial gritty, disturbing story becomes increasingly whiny and cringe-worthy, though a shocking plot twist around the half-way point was promising.  The book ends abruptly, and without justice, as though Flynn simply ran out of things to say.  I found myself hating Amy and Nick both, (albeit for different reasons), throughout the book’s duration.  This may be a credit to the author, but ultimately left me angry and wishing it had concluded differently.  I also could hardly stand the narrators (Julia Whelan and Kirby Heyborne as Amy and Nick, respectively), which may have affected my overall impression.  I would suggest this book for readers looking to stay on their toes and question their intuition, and those who have perhaps been scorned in love and wistfully plotted revenge.  I did enjoy Flynn’s writing for the most part and would give her other books a chance, but I wouldn’t buy into all the hype after being let down by Gone Girl. 

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“One Thousand White Women”

Fergus, Jim.  One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd.  New York: St. Martin’s Griffin., 1999.  Print.

Borrowed from The Cedar Falls Public Library.  

Read between September 19-September 25, 2012.

Four out of five stars.

Jim Fergus’ One Thousand White Women follows May Dodd and a motley crew of women from her incarceration in a Chicago insane asylum where she had been committed for falling in love with a man beneath her station, to the prairies of the Nebraska Territory as part of President Ulysses S. Grant’s “Brides for Indians” program.  The program, intended to assimilate Native Americans into “white culture” was (unsurprisingly) met with hostility and horror when it was proposed by a Cheyenne chief in 1875.  Grant, however, saw an opportunity and secretly recruited prisoners, patients, and other unsavory women to participate and marry Cheyenne men with the intent to becoming pregnant, thereby joining the two cultures together through matrimony and children.  What ensues is carefully recorded in the fictitious diary of May Dodd in an amusing, offbeat, and bittersweet chronicle.  Writing in a candid, descriptive and witty style,  Fergus is able to capture the triumphs and hardships of this unique group of women who are thrust into the unknown and married to men with whom they can barely communicate.  Like most Western novels, One Thousand White Women relies on strong story telling and descriptive narrative with themes of justice, redemption and survival being present throughout.  It is a tale of strength and character, not only of May Dodd but also the other women and their Cheyenne families, which ranges from sassy and sarcastic to reflective and nostalgic.  May Dodd is at the center of a strong cast of characters who must learn to adapt and evolve to drastically new lifestyles whilst being caught in the middle of a tumultuous time in history as the Cheyenne people try desperately to cling to their traditional way of life, and white Americans press westward in search of land and gold.  At times romantic, occasionally violent, One Thousand White Women will appeal to readers who connect to strong female protagonists, are fans of historical fiction, and those seeking a thought-provoking Novel of the West.

 

I absolutely loved this book, though I tend to really enjoy historical fiction.  I thought the narrator was charming and affable, and I empathized with her struggles, cheered with her victories. The ending was not what I expected, though I found it fitting (I won’t spoil it).  I recommended the book to my mom, who then bought it for my grandmother.  I would definitely re-read this book.