The Friends were divided in their opinions of this NY Times bestselling mystery by Gillian Flynn. Basically, it is the story of Amy and Nick, married for five years and hell-bent on destroying each other. Amy is narcissistic, self-absorbed, and psychopathic; Nick merely narcissistic and self-absorbed. Neither is remotely likeable. About two-thirds of the Friends enjoyed the book; one third didn’t. Those who did enjoy it liked it mainly for plot, for its “shock value.” As one Friend so succinctly put it, “It creeped me out.” It isn’t surprising the book’s appeal lies mainly in its plot, as there is NOTHING in either of the two lead characters we can even remotely admire. One Friend said she “admired” Amy’s “evilness,” but I’m thinking she found the “evilness” intriguing rather than admirable. The book did lead to a discussion on the difference between a psychopath and a sociopath—a point we never never fully clarified. One googled source stated the issue is debated at the “highest levels.” We decided we definitely fit into that category!
Having given the opinions of the two-thirds who favored the book, I’ll now give voice to the few dissenters, of which I’m one. Before writing this post, I checked the reviews on Amazon. Given the book’s popularity, I fully expected to see it rated as a five-star or at least a four-star read. I was surprised to see it earned only three and a half stars. The one-star reviews expressed my exact sentiment: There is nothing positive to be gained from reading this book. Or as Miss Dupree, my eleventh-grade English teacher, would have said, “It has no redeeming social value.” As I implied above, there is no protagonist in this story—no one to “pull for.” A protagonist doesn’t have to be perfect, but he/she should have at least some qualities that make him/her worthy of our sympathy. Nope, no such person in Gone Girl. Like Tom and Daisy Buchanan on steroids, the lead characters tear through their egomaniacal lives, leaving a path of destruction in their wake. And we don’t even have a Jay Gatsby to feel sorry for.
As for plot, I’ll admit, Flynn writes a great beginning. The first few pages had me hooked, hungrily reading and turning pages. About a third of the way in, I was suspecting the major twist, and about halfway through, I found the plot to be contrived and unrealistic. My husband and I have been married for almost thirty-nine years, and the only prediction I’ll make with absolute certainty about him is he won’t eat beets. The amazing Amy is able to foretell every single move her husband will make. She might be brilliant, but even a genius wife can’t do that. I thought I might be alone in this assessment, but I found many on Amazon who agree with me. For us, Gone Girl can’t be gone soon enough.
Something all the Friends did agree on—every single dish deserved five stars! It was almost impossible to decide on a single recipe to share with you, but one mentioned several times was Jean’s Beans—prepared by Pat. If only all veggies could taste this delicious!Jean's Beans
1 lb. fresh green beans
4 T butter (I use less)
1/2 cup minced onion
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup celery, minced
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1 tsp rosemary or 1/4 tsp dried (98% of the time I use fresh, but I did use dried once and it was still good)
1/4 tsp basil
3/4 tsp salt - I use half this amount if I salt the water the beans cook in
Trim the ends off the beans and cut them diagonally into 2" pieces. Cook in enough water to cover them for 15 mins. or until tender
Drain and keep warm.
Melt the butter and saute the onion, celery and garlic for about 5 mins. Add the parsley, rosemary, basil and salt, cook for another the 10 mins. The recipe says to cover them, but I don't.
Toss everything together and serve.
The original recipe is called Herbed Green Beans and Jean found it in the cookbook San Francisco A La Carte which is put out by the Junior League of San Francisco. It has become the go to holiday recipe for most of my family.
Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as the Friends did. And please share with me your opinion of Gone Girl.