When the Mask Slips

Rosamund Pike as Jane Bennet 'PRIDE AND PREJUDICE' FILM - 2005
Sweet, sweet Jane, the world is a dark, dirty place.

I wanted to write some long piece about Gone Girl and how much I loved the movie, and how it stayed true to the book while also being an entertaining film, and also something about how much I relate to Amy Dunne, which I know is a strange (and honestly, scary) thing to say about a woman like her, but I really do feel a kinship with her and all women who have been cool girls until they couldn’t be cool girls any more, because haven’t we all tried to be the people others wanted us to be only to fail and disappoint them anyway?

I wanted to say powerful things about societal expectations of women, and blah, blah, fucking blah. Imagine I did express my opinion with such profound ideas, you stopped reading right here to look around seeing the world for the first time. Imagine, I didn’t, because that’s closer to the truth. Amy Dunne, you dark, cynical bitch: I understand you and I love you still. I love myself, too.

And Gillian Flynn, I love you, too. You said the words that live inside so many of us without flinching. Thank you for being willing to put both hands in the muck, to raise the truth up to the light and show us exactly what lives below the surface.

A Summer of Reading — The End

I made a Goodreads goal to read 25 books this year, which I thought would be hard, and then I had a three-month period of unemployment and just happened to be at the coast of California in the middle of it. It’s easy to go through a book or two a week when you spend a few hours at the beach every day. A few of these books were life-changers: Both Autobiography of Red and the sequel, Red> Doc by Anne Carson, Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain, Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay and Americanah Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche all left their marks on me. Here’s my last list from the summer:

41k5j66k4pL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Longbourn by Jo Baker — I’m a not-so-secret geek for anything Jane Austen whose canonical Pride and Prejudice I  read at least once a year every year since I first read it as a teenager. One of the best presents I’ve ever received was a DVD copy of the BBC version of P&P, a gift I’d eventually have to replace from overuse. All this to say fanfiction of Austen usually does nothing for me, because no one can even touch Austen in her understanding of the times she wrote in. Or so I thought. I picked up Longbourn because it was sitting on an endcap at the library. I started reading it because it was the last in my pile, but it turned out to be the best of the lot. Baker has serious guts. She makes few decisions that made my eyebrows climb up to join my hairline. Does she pull it off? I think she does, largely because she doesn’t focus on the players we know, but the ones we don’t know. And I think she knows that most fans have theories about all kinds of plot points, which she explaores. Genius. P.S. A movie is due out next year. I’ll be there with bells on. Continue reading