Whoa! I just finished Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I had so much fun reading it. The book is about a marriage that goes really, really bad. It was darkly suspenseful. Gone Girl is the only book by Ms. Flynn that I’ve read, so I can’t speak for all of her work, but she brings to mind Patricia Highsmith (The Talented Mr. Ripley, among others).
I thought the book was well written, and it certainly held my interest. I did have difficulty in the beginning, though, with the way the chapters are set up. Each chapter alternates between the husband’s story and the wife’s story. They are each written in the first person, which is challenging at first. It must be difficult to write in the first person from the opposite gender. You have to get the tone, voice, thoughts and other gender qualities just right. I think good examples of effective gender bending writing are Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden and As Easy as A-B-C by Laura Lippman. Sometimes when you know that it’s a woman writing as a man or vice versa, your brain won’t let you suspend that thought. That’s what I think happened to me in the beginning of Gone Girl. I’m so happy that I stuck with it. I highly recommend this book. It was fun, nerve-wracking and crazy all at the same time. Read it before they make the movie!
I also read a sweet, sweet “unconventional memoir” last week called The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers by Josh Kilmer-Purcell. Josh and his partner, Brent Ridge, bought a mansion/farm in upstate New York, basically on impulse, and the book describes their process of turning it into a commercially successful goat farm. You might know them from television, a reality show called “The Fabulous Beekman Boys,” which followed Josh and Brent as they tried to make a go of it with the farm. The book describes their dreams and struggles in alternatingly funny, poignant, sad and painful ways. Mr. Kilmer-Purcell delves into the difficulties that they had in every area, including keeping their love relationship afloat. Not to give away the ending, but they were so much more successful at it than the couple in Gone Girl! I liked their story so much that I was sad when the book ended. I discovered that Mr. Kilmer-Purcell has written other books, so I got I am Not Myself These Days, another memoir which he wrote in 2006 about his nights as a drag queen. I’ll let you know how that is next week. It’s sure to be different, if nothing else!
Have a good week and let me know what you’re reading.