Sometimes books fall into your life with the ominous weight of the death tarot card. This is the mirror you did not prepare yourself to look into. Where you can fit the puzzle pieces of your life neatly into the narrative that is theirs. On these pages, fiction can feel like an omen.
If it hadn't been for Sharp Objects, I would have given up on this book in the first few pages. Husband kills the wife, and we get to read it from both sides. Yay!
I knew Gillian Flynn liked her audience to earn their twist. Page one of part two that knife turns, and you realize that you have been toyed with this entire time. That saccharine lovesick girl who loves this good midwestern boy, who is everything you hate about yourself and your puppy dog tendencies, she turns.
Amy takes her power back with a vengeance. Brilliant, calculating, cold, and frightening. She becomes the superhero, revenge fantasy of every girl who has been cheated on. Every prayer that wished for justice in karmic precision, she answers with lists and a plan. What scares you as the reader, is that you are rooting for her even when you know that this is an evil worse than cheating. You don't want to be the person who goes down the path with her. But seldom are we given such an effectual female character, that you can't help but smile at the mind that is always ticking. Turman Capote is freezing in her veins.
Her candid description of the Cool Girl resonates, such pressure we put on ourselves to be unassuming. Should we as women become that talisman, sitting comfortably on the shelf of men's numb docility. That's when you are loved the most when it is a gleaming fiction. Are men so entertained by figments, but of course, the harrowing silence is always filled with the noisiness of distractions. Sports, bars, music, dull conversation, the sound of their voices, banal movies, comedies, news, consume, obey, buy. Oh, but to live as they do--shallow easy.
Then Nick rises to her challenge and becomes the embodiment of the adage choose your enemies wisely. Their game becomes intensely fertile, a beautiful fencing match composed of lies. A game, so dangerous that redemption is withheld from all.
What happens when you bring out the best in people? You hold them to a standard higher than they are ready for because that is what you need in a relationship. They will try and inevitably fail. It breeds doubt and shakes self-esteem and is pathological. Nick's compulsive need to people please, leaves him a trapped shell of a human. Nothing is amazing about Amy's conviction that having such an uxorious man is a winning last word.
No matter how intelligent a game one participates in, it is no substitute for being authentic, imperfect, flawed humans. We have no rights to demand more from people that they are capable of giving. Our relationships with others must be predicated on meeting people where they stand today, not within the realm of perfected futures. Relationships should fail when the meeting of imperfect beings breeds the contempt of wrathful gods.