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‘Gone Girl’ By Gillian Flynn: Sociology, Crime, And Manipulation Rolled Into One

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“Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn is a class act. Class act because on the one hand, it is a crime novel around a dysfunctional marriage between Nick and Amy; on the other, the novel deals with the sociological and psychological repercussions of the economic recession that has a bearing on both the protagonists.

Sociology, Crime, Psychology And Manipulation Rolled Into One!

So, how many times have you come across a crime novel dealing with the sociology of marriage? Not many, I guess. However, the book remains rooted in a true crime fiction genre. It will keep you awake till the dawn with its subtle plot twists, unreliable, but engrossing narrations, but primarily because of the immensely disturbing manipulations of the wife and husband to outwit each other. The manipulation between Nick and Amy is so deliberate and alarming that, at one point, you actually start questioning the institution of marriage.

Plot: Least Said is Better

The plot of the novel is such that least said is better. Even the slightest carelessness on my part can spoil your party of reading “Gone Girl”. So just a sneak view of the plot: On the fifth anniversary of Amy Dunne and Nick Dunne, Amy suddenly disappears. As it happens in most such cases, Nick turns out to be the main suspect, in fact, the only suspect! Every clue and witness is pointing towards his incriminating involvement in Amy’s disappearance. And what does not help further is that he lies through most part of the investigation. So, did Nick kill his wife? Why is he lying to the investigators if he wants his name out of this mess? Does Amy deserve such treatment from her husband, whom she loved or who loved her so much in the past? Where did she vanish all of sudden? Above all, what ultimately happens to Amy Dunne? These are the questions whose answer you are going to find in “Gone Girl”.

Twists And Narration Really Keep You Hooked

The plot seems cliché; the usual noir stuff; you might have read or heard it hundreds of times. But, wait! This is not the end! The twists in the novel are so astonishing and incidences so inhuman – though not brutal or gory- that many a time you are left numb and dumbfounded. On top of it, the narration of the novel is the real hero, to say the least. The story is told by Nick and Amy in alternate chapters. This presents an opportunity for you to understand the same events from two different perspectives so that you can choose sides. Though, I would caution you against taking any side as it is fraught with the risk of being deceived at any point. If you leave the unreliable narration of the protagonists, then you are left with nothing but real class.

Flynn Knows The Art Of Writing

Writing of extraordinary intelligence, in-depth depiction of both innocent as well as malicious emotions, taking the reader through an emotional roller coaster ride, dropping suspicions at the right time, resolving as well as confounding conflicts, etc. are some of the things that will keep your hand holding the book and your head spinning. You get a generous dose of amazement all through. The only thing that bothered me a little is the use of local slang that is common to America but not beyond its border, but that is not a deterrent though. 

A Unique Case Study Of A Marriage Between A Perfect Couple Going Kaput

Nick Dunne is a charming, good-looking guy with a bit of laid-back attitude. He works as a writer and was brought up in North Carthage, Missouri. Amy Dunne is a New York upscale brat born to a rich family. Her parents are the authors of the highly successful Amazing Amy, her namesake book series. She is beautiful, brash, proud and is a girl who wants control of everything. There is a class difference between them yet they meet, make love, fall in love, get married, and enjoy the first couple of years as a made-for-each-other-couple. Then all of a sudden, both of them lose their job to the economic recession. Nick takes Amy to his hometown Missouri which is not as urbane as New York. The concealed social and behavioural differences of the couple come to the surface too soon. Thus, there comes trouble in their paradise. A series of manipulations, allegations, accusations, deceit, inappropriate behaviour starts brewing between them. And what befuddles you in between all this is that you cannot pinpoint who is the culprit in the crime.

The narration of the events is so ingeniously woven by Flynn that you will be at your wit’s end to ascertain whose fault is it actually. And this is the real beauty of the novel that will keep you hooked. Gillian Flynn is a real winner here with an intricate plot; intelligent and jaw-dropping twists; and realistic characterisation. She is definitely a writer who packs enough punch.

So, if you get hold of this book, just devour it. It is a dark, funny, intricately plotted and intelligently written fast-paced novel with enough twists and turns making it absolutely unputdownable stuff.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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