Book Review: Gone Girl
If you haven’t heard of the novel/film Gone Girl, I’m going to politely assume you’ve been living under a rock. Gillian Flynn’s creation has been nothing short of a sensation, and I’m looking to get down to why that is. The elements at play in the book are similar to those in most modern stories today, but the difference lies in the tone she set for her story.
Nick and Amy are a couple of thirty-somethings living in New York when the ’08 recession hits them hard. Two jobs lost, a trust fund emptied, a couple broke parents, and a bout of cancer are all catalysts that bring the couple to a strained, barely speaking to each other, marriage. And Flynn superbly displays the modern marital situation. Nothing is sugar-coated or easily swallowed. Kind of like real life. The resentment that flares between the two characters is relatable. The tension is similar to that of many homes in the United States.
Short on marital experience myself, I do have 18 years of living with my parents to see that some of Flynn’s points are valid. There are aspects of a person that can drive you nuts. Certain quirks that you used to appreciate, that seem to lose their appeal over time. It’s part of being a human. You see something you like, you gravitate toward that something, and then you get irritated, frame it for murder and drive away in your getaway car.
Not accurate? Yeah probably not.
Oh and maybe I should have mentioned there are a few spoilers in this review? My bad.
But sincerely, I appreciate the fact that Flynn never lapses into the all too common, “I told him everything and all was well again” theme that plagues a lot of prose these days. Rather than say, Amy and Nick worked it all out and they’re both excited for the baby on the way. The end is unclear. Life is simply going on for the two. How like life that is, but at the same time, how ground-breaking for a best-selling novel. There is no happy sunset that the attractive couple waltzes off to. Nope, not here. Rather, we have a husband constantly looking over his shoulder, and an obstinate wife who refuses to let go of something that is desperately trying to claw its way out of her grip.
I suppose what I appreciate is the way the characters all do something irritating. Even the evil ones (okay, I guess most of them are evil, but bear with me) do things that you wouldn’t normally expect of typical villains. It’s all unexpected life twists and turns. However, maybe that’s why the unsatisfying ending works. You can’t really root for anyone during the entirety of the novel. They all suck. So maybe the edgy ending works because you really didn’t want anyone to get what they wanted.
I really appreciate the work that Flynn did with this story, however, I do feel that during the final verbal sparring between Amy and Nick, the phrase, “You know I’m right” comes into play way too many times. Yes, I understand it is driving home the fact that these two know each other better than anyone else, and even better than they know themselves, but it seemed a lazy way to illustrate that point, in my opinion, obviously.
All in all, I was pleased with how the story played out. I do wish I hadn’t seen the movie prior to reading the book because the two are so (shockingly) similar that it sort of ruined the experience. However, it was definitely a book (and film) worth adding to my list.
I’d love to hear your take on Gone Girl, movie, book, and/or both.
Until next time or not, I’m still Cait.