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GONE GIRL – Book Review

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GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn – REVIEW

What started as some in-flight entertainment, ended up being a book that scared me about the mind of people – men and women alike. For people who have already read reviews about the New York Best seller “Gone Girl” on Amazon / Good reads – would have seen words like dark genre, thrilling read, and etc .Here are my thoughts on the book.

THE PLOT : Perfect wife Amy goes missing on her 5th wedding anniversary, but only after having organized her traditional treasure hunt for husband Nick Dunne. Nick, the bored male in the relationship, out of a job as a writer, and barely supporting his family by owning a Bar (bought with his wife’s money) – is definitely not in a “ Happy Anniversary” place right now.

With Amy going missing, a nonchalant Nick is forced to turn his attention to her absence, rack his brains for information that would make look less a suspect in the eyes of law. A confused Nick who remembers the “Amazing Amy” he met and fell in love with – is forced to deal with her parents, news that she was recently pregnant, the media, flirty moms who want their share of media, his sister, and the police – all the time wondering – whether he should have put more effort into the relationship. The introduction to Andie – the 23 year old Nick has an affair with, makes us like him even less.

And then a U-turn, Amy is alive. Milking her disappearance to her benefit. Playing a game to send Nick a message that he cannot take her for granted. Or mess with her emotions. A game she has played before. She watches in perverse happiness as her carefully executed plot to frame her husband, unfolds. It is not justice she seeks, but control.

And as Nick senses he is being framed – he counters her every action through his. Some subtle power play and ego we read about here. Amy who is now in the clutches of her one-time stalker, carefully executes another sterile plan – that of murder. She returns home into the arms of Nick, with an effective fool proof story for the media. Cameras flash, the police are satisfied, and the case is closed. But Nick is not satisfied . Neither are his sister and a detective on the force. After all no one can plan a perfect murder. But Amy did. And got away with it.

And while we wait for Nick to be a normal man, who divorces his psycho wife and moves on with life – he stays in the marriage. Because Amazing Amy is pregnant. With Nick’s child. Yes, more devious planning to keep him in the marriage. Before you start sympathizing with Nick – wait to read his justifications and hers for keeping the marriage going. That is something I am not giving away here.

MY THOUGHTS : The book starts of in quite an average manner. Moderately paced, Nick and Amy narrate their versions – each person characterizing the other through their own experiences and emotions. You understand Nick through Amy’s eyes and vice versa. You empathize with both of them in your mind. The narrative keeps trudging along – you are almost bored with the detailed descriptions of their life events.

And then the author does a 180 and steps up speed. Suddenly you are thrown into the vortex of Amy’s brilliance, her cunning, premeditations and patience. Just when you want to support her for not taking the situation lying down – you are stunned by how affected a person can be when they place too much importance on their own emotions and ego. For Amy – till now an above average person suddenly progresses into an unemotional, manipulative person – efficient in planning to kill, be killed if necessary and to ruin people’s lives devoid of guilt.

I quote Amy’s thoughts from the book “I was told love should be unconditional… Love should require both partners to be their very best at all times. Unconditional Love is Undisciplined love …”
And in the words of Nick Dunne “ … I write down everything about her day, her likes and dislikes… I am a great husband because I am very afraid she may kill me. The fact is , my wife is a murderess who is sometimes really fun.

This whole scenario scares me and would continue to if the roles / gender were reversed. Is this a trend in today’s world? Nick and Amy seem like a normal couple who go through the regular hills and valleys of life. Is this how people think now? Are they manipulated to stay in their marriages / relationships? Would they want to kill / frame someone they loved before? Is it all about power play and being in control? Having the last word at all cost?

In a life where we don’t get to choose our families and our own genes – we do sometimes get a choice of our partner. Someone we think might grow to be our soul mate. Granted we are on our best behavior during the courting phase – that is but a normal reaction. We preen, we coo, we coddle, we exhibit the best side of us. But when you end up sharing mind space for a long time, physical space, or even room space – you are bound to let your guard down. You are just who you are.

You know that their best behavior did not last. Maybe it shocks you. Surprises you. Hurts you too a bit. But News Flash : Neither did yours. He picks his nose. You snore. He is sloppy Joe. You whine and nag. No one is perfect. You need not be. For that would be unnatural almost.
Its good not to take things for granted. But to pretend? Lifelong? Is that a solution? I quote the author’s words here :

“ We pretend to be in love… and it feels almost like love sometimes… Reviving the muscle of early romance”

Early romance. The key words here. That beautiful period of discovery. Euphoria and Peace. Fear and Courage. Talk and Laughter. What poets write about. What films are made on. And then it changes? Does it fade? Or change? Or grow? I have no answer.
In true style of the book – here is my Quiz.

If the period of early romance is so special, how do we make it last?
A) Experience the “early romance” with as many people and move on when it fades out?
B) “Pretend” to be in the “phase” with your partner for as long as possible?
C) Accept some changes as growth but keep some silliness going?

What would you do? Have you felt all the things that Amy and Nick felt? Its time to think. Before committing to a person, folks – wait to think. Am I in love with the person? Or am I in love, with the idea of love. Its not the same. At all.

For a person like me – where a book transports me to a different world, where I visualize the characters as someone I interact with or observe – it terrorizes me. Are people like Nick and Amy people on my Facebook List. My whatsapp groups. Do I know them already? I hope to God, I never have to interact with such people on more than a superficial level. Peace out!

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Kinderberufwuensche – bleiben Trauemen noch Trauemen?

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Wenn ich an meine Kindheit zurueckdenke, erinnere mich noch genau an verschiedenen Traumberufe, die meine Freunde und ich fuer spannend hielten (z.B) Pilot, Sportler, Journalist. Leider fuer viele hat die Reise schon beendet, bevor sie sogar begonnen hat. Leute die Musiker oder Politiker werden wollten, sitzen aber heute im Buero und beschaeftigen sich mit ueberwiegend Verwaltungsaufgaben.

Warum gibt es diese grosse Kluft zwischen gestrigen Traeumen und der heutigen Realitaet? Fuer viele, sind vergessene Traeume und aufgegebene Plaene ein Teil ihres Lebens, weil sie nach einer gesicherten Zukunft streben muessen. Aber warum sind diese Traeume vergessen? Und diese Plaene aufgegeben?  Mangelnde finanzieller und familaerer Unterstuetzung gehoeren zu den meist genannten Gruenden. Ich will mich nur auf die familiaere Aspekte beziehen.

Wie fast alle Sachen im Leben, hat diese Probleme auch zwei Seiten. Die Kinder klagen darueber, dass die Eltern ihre Leidenschaft nicht verstehen, besonders wenn es um einen kreativen Bereich geht. Sie werfen ihren Eltern auch vor, dass sie ihren mit vorgefasster Meinung betrachten.
Demgegenueber haben die Eltern auch einige stichhaltige Punkte. Nach den Elter ” eine gute Idee oder nur Leidenschaft genuegt nicht in unserer von Konkurrenz gepraegten Welt” Sie empfinden dass, die Kinder unrealistiche Erwartungen haben und nur an den Glanz und Gloria denken. Selbst der interessanteste Beruf, kann nicht lebenlang mit Begeisterung verbunden sein – auessern die Eltern, Sie versuchen deshalb Erfolg fuer die Kinder, durch ihre ” vernuenftige” Entscheidungen garantieren.
In Indien sind die Kinder manchmal durch ihre Eltern gezwungen, ihre Entscheidung aufzugeben, besonders wenn es als einen “riskanten” Job betrachtet wird. Sie haben Angst davor, dass vielleicht ihre Kinder nicht in einem neuen Beruf,  Fuss fassen koennen. Noch ein anandere Argumente der Eltern ist die umfangreiche Auswwahl der Moeglichkeiten in der Arbeitsmarkt. Natuerlich sind die Kinder durcheinander, etwas passendes zu finden. Aber wie koennen die Eltern dabei Hilfe leisten?
1. Also, zunaechst sollen die Eltern nebst ihren Kindern versuchen, ihren Geschmaeck und ihren Traumjob herauszufinden. Die Eltern sollen nicht sofort ihre Kinder an ihrer Entscheidung Kritik ueben. Stattdessen sollen sie zusammen den Beschluss in Erwagung ziehen und ueberlegen ob ihr Kind wirklich dafuer geeignet ist. (z.B) Musiker zu werden.
2. Lobenswert wuerde es sein, wenn die Eltern in die Lage waeren, Moeglichkeiten zu geben, in denen die Kinder ihre Ideen erproben koennen. (z.B) Klavierunterricht.
3. Am Ende sollen die Eltern auch ihren Kindern beibringen, eine Zukunftsperspektive ihrer Entscheidung. Hier moechte ich betonen die Grenze zwischen Argumentation und Ueberzeugung. Eltern sollen sich darauf konzentrieren, die Kinder zu ueberzeugen.
Nach Victor Hugo ” Traeumen – das ist Glueck, Warten ist das Leben”
Victor Hugo

Empfehlenswert waere es, wenn wir unsere Kinder nicht lebenlang warten lassen. Allerwichtigsten ist es, den Kindern, die Moeglichkeiten zu biete, in dem was sie tun, einen Sinn fuer sich selbst zu haben.

Note : Written on 16 Dec 2012