I finished reading “Gone Girl,” and boy, are my brains tired.
Let me explain:
I loved “Gone Girl.” Loooooved it. Upon hitting my stride somewhere in the third chapter, I regretted resisting this book for so long; about a year, and all because a book podcast I follow said that a reader would assume the culprit was “everyone, because everyone in it is a terrible person.” And I’ve said before that I hate books where everyone is terrible; it’s lazy writing and nihilists don’t belong on bestseller lists. So at first I didn’t feel like reading it at all, and then a few people I trust had good things to say about it, so my ambition regarding “Gone Girl” changed from “I didn’t feel like reading it” to “I didn’t feel like paying to read it.”
So I checked the library. No dice, obviously. No dice for about 6 months, specifically. Which doesn’t necessarily say a lot about a book; a quick search tells me that the Twilight series still carries a long waiting list and we all know what a cauldron of shit that is.
But I was intrigued and thankfully, my friend Matt (and isn’t it weird saying the first names of some people for formality’s sake when you always call them by their last name in real life like an actual fucking friend?) had a digital copy to lend me. Kindle-to-Kindle. Which I’d never done before and I wasn’t surprised that it didn’t work. Things were going wonky with my Kindle then, and while I could download the copy, I couldn’t actually access it, and then there was the drama of the whole device shutting down just before a cross-country flight.
So then I got a new-ish Kindle, and then I sent it back because I hated it, and then my old Kindle suddenly blinked to life one day and lo! “Gone Girl” was on the home screen, and I could access it! So I finished up two other books I was reading and finally, this weekend, sat down with “Gone Girl.” It was an ideal weekend for reading, anyway. Graham was off camping and the house was
semi-clean not a total hovel, so I had no real responsibilities keeping me away from the story.
The story I hadn’t completely finished when Graham got home on Sunday night, which is why I kissed him hello and told him to take a shower or whatever, just leave me alone, I had a book to read and I didn’t want to stop. I was about halfway through at that point, deep into the story and just starting to form my own theories about the mystery. It’s only a little bit braggart-y that I was mostly right – I had the right idea but not the full scope – and even if I had no idea just how far or wide the story would go, I still would have thought it was terrific. I still would have been viciously jealous of Gillian Flynn, even though she did get one thing wrong (eastern Missouri doesn’t say “soda pop,” Gillian, you keep that bullshit in Kansas City where it belongs), I was so completely engaged by the story that I’m currently experiencing a book hangover.
Do you know the book hangover? It’s that feeling of disappointed ennui when you finish a story, and you have this weird longing to go back to it and the characters because even though it’s done, it’s not really done in your head. Which is not to say that you think the story should have ended differently, or were otherwise unsatisfied. It’s just that you’ve grown accustomed to the tone, and what was happening seemed real enough that the sudden absence of it is unsettling.
I guess this is how some people are capable of binge-watching certain TV shows, sometimes up to a season a day. I’ve never been able to do that. I mean, I love Doctor Who and enjoy it beyond the show – I enjoy the feeling I get while watching it, and that’s outside of the episode detail – but I’ve never devoured it and experienced a withdrawal when I turn it off for the night. Maybe I don’t have as much patience for worlds that are already 100% realized by someone else. I mean, probably Gillian Flynn had 100% imagined the world of “Gone Girl,” but I didn’t have the whole thing laid out in front of me like set dressing. I got to absorb it on my own, and the way I thought about it was strong enough that I didn’t default Nick Dunne to Ben Affleck once Matt told me he’d been cast. Which I don’t even mind, because as Kevin Smith says, I would watch Ben Affleck as the shark from Jaws.
Now I’m willing to pay for “Sharp Objects” and “Dark Places,” although not immediately because reading the same voice three times in a row does weird things to a head, ranging from changing the way I speak (even briefly) to making someone hate the author (like a certain person I know did with Vonnegut, that fool). And I’m, like, whining in my head right now because I can’t believe it’s over, and how badly I want to get back inside that place.
That place full of psychos and possible murder and some – but not all – terrible people. That place that I can’t get back to because I have another halfway-read book to complete and Mike’s manuscript to read and three more deadlines in the not-so-distant future. That place that’s so fucking good and I’m so mad I didn’t think of it first and goddammit, somebody give me another one of her books, please, because I’m losing my shit without it.