Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Published January 3rd by Phoenix
Gone Girl. The book that had everyone talking. A dark, twisted psychological thriller about a man whose wife is missing – but all signs are pointing towards him. Yet he says he hasn’t killed her. What is going on?
Something Gone Girl does really well is show how a marriage can go from fairy-tale perfect to a living hell. At first, Nick and Amy’s relationship seems wonderful. But after a year or three the cracks start to show, and things go from bad to worse. In a way, Gone Girl shows a development that so many relationships have – the swan dive downward, until it seems impossible that these two people have loved each other at some point.
As a thriller, Gone Girl is an accomplished book. It is littered with hints and possibilities, and will keep you guessing until the big reveal. It breaks the thriller conventions, though, by not having the big reveal as the climax or ending of the book. You figure out what is happening a bit after halfway, and the rest of the book shows what happens after. On one hand, this gives the book an interesting twist that surprises many people. On the other hand, this means that there is little suspense left until the end of the book – it ends with a sad fizzle instead of a crescendo.
What makes reviewing this book hard for me is that I can’t see the work and the author separately. My copy had an interview with the author in the back, which left a bitter taste after reading it. The two main characters, Nick and Amy, are incredibly unlikeable. They are terrible for each other, absolutely dreadful. That’s fine. I don’t necessarily need to like the main characters to enjoy a book. The author, however, does like them. She has also made some rather sexist comments about how Cool Girl doesn’t exist (apparently women cannot be hedonists) and how most “good, beautiful things” are done by women. Because women are always the ones who decorate and make sure parties are held, etcetera. This is a personal pet peeve of mine, this complete division of “men” and “women”, where women are attributed this kind of fantastic sense of home-making and mother instinct, which should be valued higher than whatever the men are doing (like fathering, maybe?). Maybe this interview doesn’t reflect well on how Ms Flynn really thinks, but this didn’t make me value her opinions highly.
Also, apparently Ms Flynn didn’t own a pair of scissors until she was thirty. HOW DID SHE OPEN THINGS?
So, to recap. Good book. Kind of loses steam after halfway. Don’t like the author’s ideas. Also don’t like the direction the story took at the ending. Not as dark and twisted as I was expecting. Pages turned quickly.
Who are you?
What have we done to each other?
These are the questions Nick Dunne finds himself asking on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, when his wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police suspect Nick. Amy’s friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn’t true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they weren’t made by him. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone.
So what did happen to Nick’s beautiful wife?
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