Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
I am once again completely shocked and perplexed at the amount of high ratings a book has received, this time being Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.
GG is a story about two people whose severe inability to communicate with each other leads to a slippery slope downward to violence and eventual murder.
The book opens with Nick Dunne...usually I call the main character the "protagonist", but the narrative switches back and forth between Nick and his wife Amy, so I'll settle with...the first narrator is husband Nick Dunne and he begins his reverie by contemplating the shape of his wife's head.
There is some seriously sinister about the contemplation. For one, I have never sat and thought or stared at the shape of my boyfriend's head, but to each there own. In a clever and subtle way Flynn infuses a bit of darkness into the opening paragraph. A husband, studying the contours of his wife's head...why? Is he imagining how it looks bashed in?
Nick gets up on his fifth anniversary morning and approaches his wife who is cooking crepes in the kitchen. He is steeling himself to do something, although we aren't informed immediately what. More clever work by the author. Eventually he leaves the house and ends up at a bar he and his sister co-own. Later in the day we discover his wife Amy has gone missing.
Right away we know there's something fishy about the scene in the house, the room torn apart but staged to look so. Flynn is successful on invoking a sense of premonition. In the next chapter the narrative switches to diary that Amy is writing in for a few years, detailing the first time meeting her husband and their life following their eventual marriage. She is loquacious in her writing style and fairly endearing.
This is how past one of the book unfolds. The police begin an investigation and we start to discover that Nick isn't that great of a husband. With a mistress on the side for over a year, Nick follows a treasure hunt that his wife had set up for as an anniversary present, and he realizes that his wife KNEW he was cheating on her.
Once you as a reader know that his wife was aware of these things, you get the drift of the where the book is going.
STOP NOW IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BE SPOILED!!!!!!
Obviously Amy is setting up Nick. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. In the second part of the book she goes from being a likable woman in love to a CRAY CRAY lady who is angry at the world for forcing women to be something they are not. She describes women as acting like "cool girls", saying they're okay with their husbands or boyfriends being inept or selfish in order to avoid upsetting them. She believes that women are pandering to their men folk. (I'll touch more on that later.)
In order to teach Nick a lesson, she decides to set him up for her murder. See, she saw Nick kiss his mistress the first time he did it, and instead of talking to him about it or breaking up the kiss, she assumes he's been cheating for a long time and she decides to punish him the worst way possible: have him arrested and charged for her murder.
She watches the news unfold on tv while tucked away in a motel in the Ozarks. Eventually she has her money stolen and is forced to turn to her friend Desi to help her out. Meanwhile, Nick knows that he is being framed and decides to try and lure her back to him. He goes on tv and says all the things she wants to hear. A murder is committed.
Amy returns home, tells Nick everything about the framing and the murder. Nick realizes that he is stuck with her even though he hates being around her and is afraid of her. She reveals that she is pregnant (she kept his semen) and joins him to her forever through their baby.
1. Shouldn't there be at least ONE empathetic and somewhat nice character in a book? Nick and Amy are monsters who disgusted me. Her parents used Amy from childhood as a character in their famous book series. Nick's dad is a misogynist demented old man. Nick's sister Go is pretentious and horrible. No one in this book is nice, funny, sweet or interesting. The characters are all HORRIBLE.
2. Speaking of characters, there were so many things that irritated me about this novel, but mainly it would be that Amy's biggest issue is that she is trying to be someone she is not. She explains that she has to put a mask on get people to like her, while they don't actually know her true self. That's a ridiculous plot line. No one asked her to be a certain way, she CHOSE to be, just as she CHOSE to be a "cool girl" and not call her husband out on his shenanigans. Flynn crafts this character who is somewhat feminist in her thoughts about being liberated from the oppression of obeying your husband, yet her character's reason for being crazy is that she is assuming a different personality than her own???
Why couldn't Amy have been herself since day one? Who's to say that Nick wouldn't have fallen in love with her true self? And what exactly IS Amy's true self? My understanding was that Amy's true form included her being able to tell Nick exactly how she felt and what she wanted. It seems to far fetched that she did all these crazy things just to get that small point across. Now, if she had a secret life as a transvestite that she wanted Nick to accept, that may have been a different story. This was just so weak though.
Being someone who is unable to stand up for their own feelings and then becoming someone who DOES is not an entire personality switch! It's called growing a backbone and learning how to express yourself!!!
3. Why did Flynn have to inundate her book with much pointless cursing? Spending an entire paragraph listening euphemisms for masturbating??? Please. Any teenagers can write like that. People are praising Flynn for her writing skill, but I don't see it. I think she goes for the shock factor with her writing and readers eat it up!
4. WHERE THE EFF WAS HER EDITOR??? On countless occasions Flynn used the same words or expressions in sentences, one after the other. There were too many unneeded descriptions or run on sentences about things that were irrelevant, unnecessary and cluttered up the novel. I'm sure people chalk this up to her style of writing, but I thought it was lazy editing.
5. "How do you know you're not Cool Girl? Because he says things like: 'I like strong women.' If he says that to you, he will at some point F*** someone else. Because 'I like strong women' is code for 'I hate strong women'."
I cannot express how disgusted and offended I was by that sentence. Flynn seems to enjoy type casting men as horrible people who are more flawed than women. You can be a feminist without feeling the need to degrade those around you. Apparently Flynn does not understand this.
In short, we have a novel about two people who are both horrible at communicating how they feel and eventually turn on each other with stupid needless violence. It's a book about manipulation, and not the intellectual Machiavellian kind. If you want to read a book that will make you feel dirty and grossed out, this is the one for you. Another pretentious load of crap, I'd give this a miss.
The ONLY good thing this book did for me was make me feel super great about my relationship. I sincerely hope people like these two don't exist, although most likely there's some living in my apartment building.
Don't buy this sensationalist load of crap. Don't support Flynn or she'll churn out more tripe.
1/5 because Goodreads won't let me give a 0/5.
View all my reviews