“Tampon commercial, detergent commercial, maxi pad commercial, windex commercial – you’d think all women do is clean and bleed.” (Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn)
The first third of the book treats the reader to alternating accounts of a wife’s insipid diary and the thoughts of a boorish and boring husband… so how did Gone Girl become this summer’s thriller? I have few explanations for how so many people made it through the first part, but once the story morphs from a missing person’s case into a psychological examination of the marriage, it’s like an unstoppable train wreck. The book turns out not to be about police ineptitude or detective work, but about a serpentine relationship between two manipulative, wary, selfish, and fully realized individuals.
Flynn shows incredible strength in creating Amy, a female character not afraid of breaking any social or moral taboo to inflict her old-testament-like punishment on those who wrong her, but I think she doesn’t go far enough with the husband, Nick. Nick is supposed to be the sympathetic character still tied to reality, but I thought he came off as too conventional and morally void a person. I would have liked to see the book go further in its exploration of this deranged couple and have Nick buy into the strange reality of their marriage instead of clinging to the social norms. If you’ve read this (which I’m sure you have) do you think Flynn could have gone any further without risking her ‘bestseller status’?
Buy – Borrow – TBR – Avoid
Audiobook: Length = 19 hours, Quality = OK (Girl narrator does a better job with Nick than guy narrator)
Ending: Keeps you thinking/questioning
Further Reading: The Dinner by Herman Koch, which has been hailed as the ‘European Gone Girl’. A little more literary, but just as psychological.