Monday, June 11, 2012

From Left to Write: Gone Girl

If you need a fun read for the summer, I have a great suggestion for you: one of From Left to Write's June book club selections: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. It's not the book you think it is when you start reading it. By the end you'll have gone through so many flips and turns that you'll be left stammering, "what just happened?" but in a good way. 

Life has many flips and turns that you never anticipate when you start out. By starting out I mean, after college. Because more and more I realize that all the research about people's brains not reaching full adult maturity until your mid-20s is TRUE. I just can't believe how much of a know-it-all I was in high school and college when I knew nothing at all. Even now, there is so much I have to learn, but at least I'm more aware of my ignorance.

In college, I lived in a house share one break while I was at Oxford. That was the last time I lived in a stand-alone house. Graduation meant diving into life in Manhattan, where no one, not even the super rich, live in a stand-alone house. Then life in DC for law school, which meant more apartments. Then back to Manhattan apt living to start my stint as a corporate attorney. Moving to CA meant two townhouses in succession. My boys have been whining incessantly these past few weeks about wanting a backyard and I came to the realization that I have not lived in a single family home since I left home for college, so 18 years ago. It's strange to think that my mom, an immigrant who spoke little English toiling away at a mom-and-pop store, owned a single family house when she was 34, but graduate school-educated me can only aspire to that in the distant future. How many of us are wondering, "are we going to have a worse life than our parents?" Who could have foreseen the new economy would be one of layoffs and high unemployment? I resigned my position to stay at home with my boys, but every week some bad economic news makes me wonder if I should just grab the first job I can find. Huh?

In college, I never thought of myself as tech-oriented. I barely understood email and almost failed my Pascal programming class because I just could not get it. I cried during office hours. Anything for the professor to have pity on me and not fail me. Thankfully it worked and I was able to get a "Cr" on my transcript (in my college there were no pass-fail classes, the only option was Cr/D/F if you didn't want a grade). So I am bewildered at how I am working at a iPhone app startup, sharing files through Dropbox, and trying to decide whether Path is the next best thing after FB. When someone tells me their clients are startups, I ask pre- or post-funding. While researching social media PR companies, I look at amplification data and total engagement stats. Huh?

In law school, I thought I would be living in New England area for the rest of my life. I had it all planned out. Marry someone with family in the area. Save up enough to send my kids to Choate. Make frequent trips to the old country (being England). Never for a million years did I anticipate that I would be living in the Bay Area, in prime earthquake territory. When I was pregnant with H, Stewart bought me a $17 watermelon from Fairway on the UWS because I was craving it. Now if a watermelon costs more than $6, that's more than I'm willing to pay. I've learned how to wear flip-flops to social occasions and what brands are cooler than others. Do you know why a swim top out here is called a rash guard, while on the East Coast it's called a swim shirt? My LA friend whose husband was a competitive surfer told me that surfers started wearing them so they wouldn't get rashes from the wax on their boards while swimming out to catch waves. Huh?

If you want to read about some characters whose lives take unexpected flips and turns, check out this month's From Left to Write's selection. After I finished I had to go back to read certain parts again because it was just that good. But if your significant other comes downstairs at 2 AM and catches you reading, don't blame me.

This post is inspired by mystery thriller Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. They may not have the perfect marriage, but after goes missing, Nick becomes the number one suspect. Can he discover what happened before it's too late? Join From Left to Write on June 12 as we discuss Gone Girl. As a member I received a copy of the book for review purposes. All opinions are my own.


Amy @ said...

There's no doubt my life has twisted and turned in a way that would horrify my teachers of the past. I was a math doubt that's what I'd end up doing. A quarter in college had me wanting to be a writer. And here I am. A writer, with three kids (not the two I imagined), a widowed mother (at far too young an age) and an open book (a huge surprise given how shy I am).

Thien-Kim aka Kim said...

I'm not where I planned to be in life but I'm happy with where the twists and turns have taken me.

Anonymous said...

I wrote about this topic the other day. It's always interesting to examine our personal twists and turns.

Pam Margolis said...

i like your thoughts about living in a house. everyone has their ideal of "home" and sometimes its a three bedroom condo with no grass to mow, huh? oh wait, thats me.