Gone Girl

I’ve been sick as a dog.

You see I was hanging with Roland Orzabal, who told me his son was in an outdoor play in Bristol, and it’d been raining all summer, and his boy had gotten sick, and the illness had spread itself throughout the family, they’d just all been to the doctor.

Didn’t mean a thing to me back in the seventies. We used to share Pepsis, we were immune to germs. But then I caught a cold, and I got older, and I won’t say I refuse to shake someone’s hand, but I do know people who won’t go places where someone else is sick. Yup, in a can-do society, we don’t want anyone who can’t. We require everybody to be in tip-top shape all the time.

But Roland seemed fine to me.

So I shook his hand and it wasn’t long before I too was under the weather.

But I toughed it out. Six days later I was fully recovered. Without missing that much of a step. I was back in action.

And then I ran around a bit. Well, more than a bit. And last Monday I went to the Bowl to see Aerosmith, and when I woke up the next morning…

I felt like I’d been hit in the head with a brick. I couldn’t even stand in the shower. I figured it was the loud music. That’s what the pain on the side of my head was all about, some weird result of wearing an earplug on that side and not the other. Yes, Tyler sat us feet from the stage, in the pool box. And after fifteen minutes of Brad Whitford’s guitar, who knew he was this talented?, I had to move. Or go deaf.

And we found box seats.

But we never did find Tyler thereafter. He took off for Pink Taco with his buddy Johnny Depp, who’d come out and played “Train Kept A Rollin'” on his Les Paul, quite well, in fact, and after connecting with Ron Jeremy and Mitch Schneider and the assembled multitude, I went home.

And I would have decompressed longer, but Lupe was coming in the a.m. to clean Felice’s house, so I got in the bed and slept…for an hour. And then two more. I was tossing and turning like Flipper. And when I finally arose…that’s when I had that left side headache.

Do you call an ambulance?

I’m prone to panic. I’m either going zero or a hundred miles an hour. It was illegal to be sick when I was growing up. If I told my mother I was ill, she’d say go to school, see if I felt better, her mom was a hypochondriac and she had no tolerance for complainers.

And this has gotten me in trouble. Sometimes you need to go to the doctor. And eventually I did. Two days later. Got to credit Felice for that, I would have hesitated forever and not done this. And I got this nasal spray and a Z-Pak for if I didn’t feel better by Saturday, which I didn’t, and I took it and I’m finally feeling decent, today I’ve turned the corner. So I want to tell you about this book “Gone Girl.”

Maybe you’re paying attention.

But probably not. Most people don’t read books. Then again, they’re reading ” Fifty Shades of Grey .” The publisher has moved in excess of 20 million copies in the U.S.

A huge percentage of them digital. Hell, “Fifty Shades of Grey” doesn’t top the print best seller list. ” Gone Girl ” does.

Yes, it’s the number one best seller. And I wasn’t gonna read it. Because I’m not into genre books, mysteries. Because you end up reading for plot and only plot. And I hate skeletal books. Give me a bit of description, flesh out the story a bit, just don’t write a movie script.

But then I read in “Entertainment Weekly” that ” Gone Girl ” was a “literary read.” As in a “real book.” And the columnist compared it to Jeffrey Eugenides’s “The Marriage Plot.” Did you read that? I won’t say it’s unreadable, but I will say it’s unsatisfying. And this was before I knew the author of “Gone Girl,” Gillian Flynn, once upon a time wrote for “Entertainment Weekly,” and writers are a backslapping bunch, forever doing each other favors, but I took the bait, I bought it.

And I’m gonna tell you very little about it. Because I don’t want to ruin it.

But I’m gonna tell you to read it.

Because the plot’s interesting. Although there are too many turns. And many believe the end is unsatisfying…

OOPS! Sorry, I screwed up there. I like to go into a book cold, and when a friend told me the end wasn’t as good as the beginning, it stuck with me, and I don’t want to ruin your experience, it’s just that…

The writer nails men and women. Relationships.

That’s all that matters anyway, people. You can’t make love to your computer. Without the dirty pictures and the words, it’s meaningless. We’re fascinated with people. How do we relate, how do we interact?

Hang in there for the whole book. Not that the pearls of wisdom don’t come fast and furious. But mating is a game. And perception is key. And Gillian Flynn gets this so right, that I’m recommending this book.

Which won’t be remembered forever.

But chances are you haven’t read a book in eons anyway. And I won’t say “Gone Girl” is impossible to put down, like Laura Hillenbrand’s “Unbroken,” but it’s close. The book calls out to you in the middle of the night. Read me…read me…read me…

And I was mostly done by time I got sick. But I finished it when I was out of the woods but was incapable of writing. And I just don’t want to let it go, let it pass into the ether of history.

Sometimes number one is more than a train-wreck. “Call Me Maybe” may be a trifle, but it’s a good one. “Gone Girl” is deeper than the Carly Rae Jepsen hit, and it’s even more satisfying.

Read it.

And then let’s discuss it…

“‘Guess what Jeff found in his cabin for me?’ Greta says. ‘Another book by the ‘Martian Chronicles’ guy.’

‘Ray Bradburow,’ Jeff says. ‘Bradbury’ I think.

‘Yeah, right. “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” Greta says. ‘It’s good.’ She chirps the last bit as if that were all to say about a book: It’s good or it’s bad. I liked it or I didn’t. No discussions of the writing, the themes, the nuances, the structure. Just good or bad. Like a hot dog.”

And while I’m quoting from the book, here’s a few more:

“I picture them at one of the pricier strip clubs, the posh ones that make men believe they are still designed to rule, that women are meant to serve them, the deliberately bad acoustics and thwumping music so no one has to talk, a stretch-titted woman straddling my husband…”

STRETCH-TITTED? Wow, she gets this exactly right. Whether it be the pole-dancers or Kate Beckinsale before she had her implants removed, we all notice, but we never talk about it.

“It is a do-it-yourself era: health care, real estate, police investigation. Go online and fucking figure it out for yourself because everyone’s overworked and overstaffed.”

Whew! We can’t get answers anymore. Whether it be at the department store or Facebook. I’ve never seen it put better.

“Ironic people always dissolve when confronted with earnestness, it’s their kryptonite.”

Which is why Brooklynites look down their noses at Midwesterners. Sarah Palin understands this, but she’s too stupid to understand the other side, she’s completely irony-challenged.

And speaking of stupid:

“This is the hardest part: waiting for stupid people to figure things out.”


“It was one of the few stories we told the same way.”

That’s the story of being in a relationship! You lived through the same events, but you always tell the story differently. Except sometimes…

“Our kind of love can go into remission, but it’s always waiting to return.”

I posit that’s the story of all love.

Fiction, when done right, is all about truth. There’s enough truth in “Gone Girl” to keep you reading. Dig in.

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