This book has more twists than a deformed pretzel. As a result, it makes for a real page-turner and keeps you guessing until the very end (which I will avoid discussing so as not to spoil it for you). The story is told from the contrasting views of the two main characters: Amy and Nick. Flynn does a great job of bouncing back and forth between the two voices of her characters, both of whom are despicable. It then becomes an issue not of which character you like more, but which character you hate less, which I found very entertaining. “So let everyone take sides. Team Nick, Team Amy.” (p. 410) I hate picking sides, so I am grateful that I can honestly say that I hate everyone equally in this book. To cite one of the characters in the book: “You two are the most fucked-up people I ever met, and I specialize in fucked-up people.” (p. 389)
Anyway, since this is such a plot-driven story, and I hate to put spoilers in my posts, I figured I’d just include a couple quotes that resonated with me for various reasons.
One of the issues brought up in this book, which hits close to home for me, is the end of writing as a career. I am fortunate that I am still a salaried full-time writer of sorts, but that is because I learned other skills that make me competitive in the communications field. In this book, both protagonists suffer the fate of many writers today.
I had a job for eleven years and then I didn’t, it was that fast. All around the country, magazines began shuttering, succumbing to a sudden infection brought on by a busted economy. Writers (my kind of writers: aspiring novelists, ruminative thinkers, people whose brains don’t work quick enough to blog or link or tweet, basically, old stubborn blowhards) were through. We were like women’s hat makers or buggy-whip manufacturers: Our time was done. (p. 5)
I am at a stage in my life when I have enough perspective that I can look back and compare where I am now to where I envisioned life would be, and I am happy to say it is quite different that I had imagined 20 or 30 years ago. Change happens so swiftly and radically now, it’s almost impossible to imagine where your life will be in 10 or 20 years.
It’s just so far from what I pictured. When I pictured my life. That’s not to say bad, just… If you gave me a million guesses where life would take me, I wouldn’t have guessed. I find that alarming. (p. 100)
The following is probably the quote that rings most true for me, and which is also the most infuriating: “The truth is malleable; we just need to pick the right expert.” (p. 190) This unfortunately sums up our news media today. News stations are not concerned with the actual truth; they are concerned with finding specialists who corroborate their spin on facts, which will ultimately appeal to their target audience. It all becomes a game of information manipulation designed to win points for your side, for your team.
So the bottom line on this book is it is entertaining and well-written, and there are some thought-provoking sections for you to ponder. I recommend giving it a read. If you’ve already read it, I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts. Cheers!