First book club read of the year for me was Gone Girl. The author, Gillian Flynn, is from Missouri, my home state. She has grown in popularity and the book is also set in Missouri. So I was really looking forward to this one.
I guess I was hoping that there would be more places I would recognize and enjoy reading about. I miss something about the atmosphere of where I grew up, and I don't often stumble upon it in my reading. If anything, the Midwest is steretyped as boring as often as the South is stereotyped as uneducated and the West is stereotyped as lazy.
But unfortunately, the author did not help me with that or meet my expectations. In spite of a note at the back of the book where she thanks a friend for helping to make the Missouri setting a magical place, it does not seem magical at all. In fact, I'm not sure if that remark was facetious or not.
The big problem is that there are really only two main characters. One character is from Missouri but hardly ever talks about the setting directly. The other character is East Coast born and bred and has no desire to give the region a chance. She spews all the typical things about the Midwest being boring that I'm used to, so in the end the book was a bit of a long sigh on that level.
That aside, the story itself has several twists and it's an enjoyable read for the most part. Except for the abundant use of the c-word and general derogatory speech toward women. In the context of the story it mostly makes sense, but I still found it hard to read.
The two aspects of this story that stood out for me had to with identity and reputation. How do we present ourselves to other people? How conscious are we in how we represent ourselves to other people? How does one's reputation relate to that and how does the media exploit issues related to identity and reputation for both the celebrity-of-the-moment and the general viewer?