“Gone, Baby, Gone” by Dennis Lehane

The first thing I do when I go to Boston is buy the whole collection of Lehane’s books. Well, technically, no, I’ll probably be buying shampoo and stuff, but you get the point.

Strangely though, this one is not my favorite Lehane book so far. But it wasn’t my favorite as in ‘I would rate the other Lehane books 5 stars out of 5 and this one 4.5 out of 5’.

Lehane’s books captivate both the realistic and the idealistic so well, the black and the white, the right and wrong, and although the realist part often comes out as the winner, the debate and struggle throughout the book leave you wondering about your own values. In this book more than the three previous ones, however, reality took such a… well, realistic turn, that it was hard to cope with.

“Gone, Baby, Gone” starts with the disappearance of a little girl to lead to a much bigger and complex web involving police forces, organized criminal gangs, murder and other ‘innocent’ families.

Can you justify what you feel what is morally right in your guts and yet know, rationally, is legally wrong? If so, where do you start drawing the line before those individual instances become a bigger issue where law and some sort of regulations become necessary? Can vigilante justice ever be justified? How come we can be left with the odd and sour feeling of having made a mistake when we know we have done the ‘right thing’? Are you responsible for abiding by the law even if that may come at the price of the happiness of one innocent child?

I loved the book for asking so many unanswerable questions that are nonetheless and doubtless worthy of debate, but hated it for ending in such an… unpleasant note, with so many sensitive issues, such as child kidnapping and child abuse depicted in a crude way.

The following quote represents well not only the book as a whole, but reality in general, where the bright, shiny and beautiful is often a facade to cover all the ugliness and pain some people have to go through.

“(…) and we looked off over the water to the heart of the city and its shimmer, the dark velvet promise that lived in those lights, the hint of glamorous lives, of sleek, well-fed, well-tended existences cushioned behind glass and privilege, behind redbrick and iron and steel, curving staircases, and moonlit views of water, always water, flowing gently around the islands and peninsulas that made up our metropolis, buffeted it against ugliness and pain.”

On a different and random note, is it just me or does anyone else see Lehane’s books unfold into a possible movie while reading them? Although I didn’t, for this book, because I knew it had already been made into a movie, I remember thinking of possible actors who could have played the role of the different characters in “The Given Day”. Lehane writes and describes in such a vivid way you just want his books to be made into movies. I would personally love to see “The Given Day” in a movie (if it’s made the right way of course).


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