When was the last time a book made you physically ill? No really – sick to the stomach, the bile rising in your throat, a constant insidious all-pervasive nausea rising in the back of your throat? Do you remember? Well, I didn’t, but now I’ll never forget! Whatever else this book may be – it is unforgettable.
I’ll confess, I’ve given it 4 stars on Goodreads because it scares me to think that I actually want to give it 5, possibly 10, because I think that a story starring two insane people and the games they play can be so brilliant and engaging and interesting! Does that mean I’m a little insane myself? Well if I wasn’t before I sure am now – after reading this brilliantly crafted, superbly written tale of ‘Amazing Amy’ & ‘Narcissistic Nick’ and what they did to each other and to people unfortunate enough to be in the way!
Flynn is a master manipulator and with her phenomenal writing skills, she actually made me ‘feel’ for these two utterly despicable, fatally flawed characters that she’s created. I felt for Nick initially, and then as I was meant to, I felt for Amy, then for Nick again and then with every flip-flop, only for my poor nerves, shot as they were from the maniacal emotional rollercoaster that Flynn had so precisely engineered! And still – I NEVER once thought to put down the book! That’s all kinds of scary – the fact that I was so taken by these two damaged characters that are beyond redemption. Jesus the woman can write! And the fact that she created such characters – not one but two of them…what does that say about her huh? That she is an insanely creative genius? I’m going to have read her other work now but I don’t know that I should – if they’re anything like this one – they should come with a Statutory Warning on the cover: Reading this book is injurious to the mind! No. Better take it slow – one a year is probably all I can handle 😉
I’m not going into details of the story – you can find that elsewhere online I’m sure. This is a thriller after all and I would rather you just read the book and enjoy the ‘Badness’ 😛 And you will enjoy it, even when it makes you nauseous 😉 Only a few bits in the middle made me feel like they were redundant, like Flynn was just dragging the story on, while she thought out the next steps in the plot. But the feeling didn’t last for long as she was soon back on track with the regular crazy stuff 😉 The end such as it is leaves room in my mind at least for a sequel – and the very thought that I desperately want her to write one so I can see what happens to Nick & Amy in the future – well that’s scary too! After I finished – I felt unclean somehow, used, and tainted – like I needed a clean cold shower to shake of those bad vibes from the characters – and still I craved more. You see what I mean? This book is the best kind of bad I’ve read in a long time 😉
Most of the quotes are best understood in context and often, within the narrative, in retrospect, but Flynn has an engaging way with words, a way of imbuing even the simplest of sentences with a subtly sinister tone, as if to warn us, “Beware! Pay attention! Not all is as it seems.” Here’s an example,
“I am fat with love! Husky with ardour! Morbidly obese with devotion! A happy busy bumblebeeof marital enthusiasm. I positively hum around him, fussing and fixing. I have become a strange thing. I have become a wife.”
And this little nugget,
“It’s a very difficult era in which to be a person, just a real, actual person, instead of a collection of personality traits selected from an endless automat of characters.”
And how about these little gems of viciousness,
“The Midwest is full of these types of people: the nice-enoughs. Nice enough but with a soul made of plastic – easy to mold, easy to wipe down.”
“He took away chunks of me with blasé swipes: my independence, my pride, my esteem. I gave and he took and took. He Giving Treed me out of existence.”
“Ironic people always dissolve when confronted with earnestness, it’s their kryptonite.”
“ It really is true. It took this awful situation for us to realize it. Nick and I fit together. I am a little too much, and he is a little too little. I am a thornbush, bristling from the overattention of my parents, and he is a man of a million little fatherly stab wounds, and my thorns fit perfectly into them.”
Let me tell you a little story – While I was reading that last quote, Ishaan, who has stolen a bowl of apple slices I was munching on (I rarely read without food nearby! Which explains my weight issues, coz you know I’m constantly reading ;)), wandered over from the next room and stuck a ‘damaged’ slice under my nose saying very matter-of-factly, “Mamma, see this is not nice. You eat it!” There was a little piece of peel missing, where I had removed those labels they seem to like to stick on every fruit these days leaving the white flesh exposed. If it had been any other book, I wouldn’t have given this incident a second thought – it’s common enough. My son has his little foibles. He likes his food just so. He’s allowed, I think. He’s only just about to turn 5, I think. It’s just a phase, I think. And then because I’m reading Gone Girl – What the H#$%!! I think! What’s wrong with him I think! Why is he so finicky I think! Am I doing something wrong I think! You see? It’s that kind of book!
Read it – because I guarantee – you’re not likely to have read anything like it before! Just don’t come crying to me if it makes you sick either way 😉