Author: Gillian Flynn
Type: Fiction, novel
I read it: September 2013
Some general spoiling ahead I suppose.
This was a fun book. Right place, right time kind of thing for me. It’s an airplane book, although I wasn’t flying at the time. I was in my last week of summer vacation aka paternity leave, and found myself up at odd hours. At those times I needed to read either to wake myself up, or to lull myself to sleep. One of the books I finally picked up was Gone Girl, at my girlfriend’s suggestion. (Come to think of it, I was the one who suggested she buy it back when she did. Anyway.)
It was easy to get wrapped up in the mystery and intense personal dramas between Amy and Nick. Nothing wrong with a page-turner. The very fact that you never quite knew who the characters were at heart underscores that they were well-written characters. It’s always a bit tricky having two first-person voices, because the author must try to make them distinct. Apparently Nick was a writer, which only kind of showed through. He was no better a narrator than Amy, so you had to suspend some disbelief a bit to forget that the same author is writing both these people.
But something bothered me after I finished. First-person accounts make sense when there is a motive behind them. I couldn’t account for one of these motives though. Let’s say the book is in four parts: Nick first half, Amy first half, Nick second half, Amy second half…
- Nick first half: He is writing because he is innocent, and is honestly trying to work through the craziness of his days. He would have no reason to hide this part.
- Amy first half: Turns out she is writing a false diary with the excplicit intent that it be found. It was found, and read by many parties. It would be open and available.
- Nick second half: Ditto above. Still innocent, still telling his side of things.
- Amy second half: Um. Amy. You probably shouldn’t narrate the way you committed multiple crimes, especially since a couple cops have teamed up with your husband to out the truth at some future date. Come on, gone girl.
Stuff like this is hard to overlook. Why would Amy write that last part? Because she can’t help herself? Was this manuscript then revealed to the public years later, and now we have the whole story? It’s not evident that this is so. This uneven motivation, coupled with the gross overuse/misuse of “literally,” just rankles too much. Sorry, you don’t get to be a professional novelist and use sentences like “Rand, on the other hand, was literally losing his head.” Stop. Just stop it. Disbelief, unsuspended.
But, whatever, if you’re on an airplane, or feeding a baby at 4 a.m., go for it.
Movie corner: Finally got around to watching the flick, and it was enjoyable. The first half wasn’t too exciting because if you’ve read the book you don’t get strung along like the film wants you to. But after the reveal of Amy’s actions, the second half of the movie is pretty engaging. I had forgotten just enough of the plot to be not quite sure how it was going to end. I’ve read some surface-level critiques that point out an issue with the streamlined feel of the movie, and how it reduces Amy to pure crazy. There was definitely a lot of “that psycho b” mumbling during the viewing. I think the book gives a bit more depth to that character, and eases the reader in to the points of the plot where a woman frames her own murder and at least one rape. In the movie, it happens so fast that the porcelain Pike risks becoming a commentary on crazy, lying women everywhere.