Thanks to NetGalley for making this title available to The Hoarders; it’s a relief to see this smart novel among the Top 10 new fiction titles of the Bestseller list. In a time when people are knocking themselves out to pick up the base Shades trilogy, this means that there is officially hope!
I can’t write too much about this book’s plot, because giving away its twists and turns would impact a new reader’s enjoyment. Going into this story as naive as possible is unquestionably the best approach.
Nick and Emily Dunne are, for me, a modern-day War of the Roses. Their marriage plight is astoundingly complex; their relationship a befuddled mess of half-truths, longing, and hurt feelings. Writing a book about their relationship alone would have easily filled an entire story. When Amy, however, vanishes out of the blue one morning, and all eyes point to Nick as her murderer, well… let’s just say that it’s time for the reader to buckle up. No one’s going quietly. Game on.
Gillian Flynn has a great talent for leaving her reader with a sense of never knowing which end is up. The moment you align yourself with one character, the next section leaves you with the sudden desire to crawl into the pages and brandish a well-timed slap. In the following chapter, you humbly return to that person’s side, vowing not to stray again. Then, you’re raising an eyebrow pages later, and are wondering how you could have been so foolish just 5 minutes ago.
After about 100 pages of this, you find yourself questioning your ability to judge anyone at all. “How well do I know my own spouse? Perhaps it’s time to keep a diary?”
I have to say that finally finding out which character was the root of the issue was nothing short of a relief. In this ultimate “he said, she said” approach, the reader is left guessing for the bulk of the novel. This is always a welcome feeling for a Hoarder, because who wants to invest the time and energy into a book if you’re foretelling every moment before it hits the page? I felt like I was having a quiet duel with the author: “a HA! I know where you’re going with this! Wait… no…. false alarm. Damn.”
When the last section of the novel kicks in, you’re waiting. Waiting for…. well, I’ll keep mum on that, because you might be ‘waiting’ for a different outcome than the one I found myself needing. I have to admit that when the book closed, I wasn’t as satisfied as I had hoped. It was a clever way to end the novel, and I don’t question its wisdom. It just was not the ‘twist’ that I was anticipating.
Then again, that’s exactly what Ms. Flynn wanted, wasn’t it?
She got me again.