12/16/12

Best Book of 2012 . . .

I have gone in streaks in my life where I read a ton and then I go for what seems like ages without reading anything. I can honestly tell you that being in formal education for nearly 20 straight years has both FORMED and DESTROYED my love of reading. At the ripe age of 36.5, I have a million excuses, distractions, and reasons (with varying degrees of validity even in my OWN head) to NOT read. One thing that I will make me MORE likely to read is if I can learn something and take something away from the book. It is this near-mandate that has my nightstand, Amazon wish list, bookshelves, toilet back (gross, I know), and even the time I spend in Watermark Books filled with NON FICTION with a special warm, soft, and glowy spot for narrative non fiction like the spectacular writings of Erik Larson with particular emPHAsis (on the wrong syLLAble) on my all-time favorite book The Devil in the White City.

I digress . . . again . . . the MORAL of the above paragraph is that something made up and spewed on paper better be pretty damned good to capture my attention much less be my favorite book of the year (a year in which I read more than I have in a long, long, time (11 books, if memory serves correctly NOT including my Jewish conversion texts or any work-related reading).

Enter the fantastic Gone Girl. The book is about something fairly simple - and completely complex. A married couple (Nick and Amy), with a troubled marriage, goes away to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary on the shores of the Mighty Mississippi and Amy just, well, disappears (enter the title Gone Girl).  There are signs that Nick may be responsible, but there are lots of things that Nick won't tell that might make him look less suspicious (I've always been horrible at talking about things like this without giving them away). The story, sort of a love story ("What are you thinking, Amy?" is the most common question asked of Amy by Nick, according to his narration) in many ways, jumps backward and forward and is narrated by both Nick and Amy and there are lots of fond memories between them, juxtaposed with extreme misery. Make no mistake - this is neither chick-lit NOR guy-reading. It is both.

There is dark humor, fantastic writing, suspense, sadness, hope, and murky waters of the mind, body, and river to carry you through the book and I promise you, by book's end, you will be as surely confused as you've been in a while. I think Gone Girl showcases the new form of "romantic love" between couples where sacrifice and expected sacrifice get complicated by indirect answers, doubt, and distrust between the people in that love. I do NOT think this book, in ANY way, echoes my failed marriage. In any way. I didn't see myself in Nick or Amy but it was intriguing, for me, to see that as much as my love has gone astray . . . it has not veered anywhere near as far of course as it did for Nick and Amy.

Read the book, love your spouse, be honest and direct in expectations, words, deeds, and response. That's all you can really do.