After reading the first few pages of Gone
, I was completely taken aback, my first thought being: Who are these people? The first third of the book reads like a farce, the characters merely playacting. In Wake
and especially in Fade
, Janie and Cabel are seemingly mature, trying to cope with their individual problems and learning how to deal with them together. In Gone
, however, it just seems like they’re ignoring the problems rather than confronting them.
The book begins with Cabel and Janie on vacation. Cabel’s rather smiley and jokes around, and reading about this side of him doesn’t really suit. The same can be said for Janie. She’s playing along as well, and reading some of their dialogue together is rather cringeworthy and unnecessary. Their behavior comes off being entirely unnatural and in fact took away some of my respect for the pair. The reader learns that Janie’s resorting to this kind of behavior as a stalling method. She doesn’t want to confront Cabel with her knowledge of his disturbing dreams regarding their future as a couple. To complicate matters is Janie’s sudden discovery of her father and the knowledge that he, too, may be a fellow dream catcher. The discovery forces Janie to a crossroads and makes her reconsider the choice she had previously made: To live her life as a dream catcher and accept the physical changes this lifestyle creates, or to live a life of isolation and recognize the consequences of this decision.
While I liked how McMann offers a sort of clarification for what may happen to a dream catcher if that person chooses a life of seclusion, I found myself at the end of the novel asking, “Did I really need to read about this?” And the answer, really, is no. The novel in effect, ends where it begins, with Janie and Cabel taking each day at a time, not really thinking about the future, only the present. Nothing was really gained, only lost. And when the cathartic moment happens, when Janie and Cabel confront their problems, the reader gets the truncated version, i.e. a brief summation of the events. A shame, really as it could have been so much better.