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Sunday, April 19, 2015

My book review of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl is one of those books that you think about after you put it down.  You have conversations in your head with your imaginary book buddy about it, even if only to talk about how messed up this couple is.

I did a google search of Gillian Flynn, just to make sure that I'd spelled her name right.  And, of course, being the curious person that I am, I also did an image search of her.  She is a very unassuming looking woman.  Who would know of the darkness that lies within her just by looking at her?  If you've read my past posts, you know by now that every author feels the same emotions at that moment in time as the character that they're writing about.  Unless, possibly a very non feeling person, or, in other words, a psychopath.  As you're reading this book, it's very hard for me to imagine the very depth of insaneness Gillian (yes, now that I've read her book we're on a first name basis, even though I just googled her) had to feel while writing and editing this book.  And all the time that she had to spend feeling it.  It takes a lot of time to be able to write a book of the quality and error-free (and no, I'm not talking about grammar, if you've read the book you'll know what I'm talking about) of this caliber.

This book is a murder mystery.  Uh, well, excuse me... This book is about a possible murder mystery.  It's told from the present viewpoint of a man named Nick, who is married to a woman named Amy.  Nick comes from a less than stellar upbringing, which an unloving dad who holds very antiquated and religiously hateful opinions about women.  However, he has a very close relationship with his loving mother and twin, so that's something.
The book is also written from the viewpoint of Nick's wife, with the first part of the book being told by her past diary.  So we're getting the story told from the present day Nick and the past day Amy.  Amy is the trust fund, only child of 2 parents who wrote children's books about her upbringing and made millions of dollars off them.

The book starts off the morning of the Event, with Nick waking up to Amy making crepes for him on their 5th wedding anniversary.   Then, when Nick comes home from work that day, he comes home to find the scene of a struggle and Amy missing.  The rest of the book is about what happened to Amy, is she alive, did Nick kill her?

Now, the whole hype about this book is the infamous twist.  Because it's been very hyped up, I had certain expectations going into it and so I was very suspicious about everything. Unfortunately for me, because of all the hype, the twist wasn't as much of a surprise as it could've been.  I tried to determine if I would've been able to figure it out if I'd hadn't known that there was a twist, but I just don't know.  And even the very last chapters was a no brainer for me.  I knew for a long time that she was holding onto those things, waiting for the right moment to use them. (I'm being vague for those who haven't read the book)

Which side do you believe?                                image credit
I love how Gillian writes characters that aren't all that particularly loveable.  Maybe Nick's twin sister, maybe, was the most "loveable" character in this book.  But one thing I've learned as an author is that it doesn't matter if you like a character, as long as you care about what happens to them.  And I can definitely say that I cared about Nick.   All the way... to the very last sentence.

***From here on out, Spoiler Alerts***

I wanted him to nail that b*tch, Amy.  Right to the wall.  Of a long jail sentence.
The frustration level of his lack of ability to pin down her confessions on a recording device (can't you buy some super spy waterproof recording device that implants into your skin??), the lack of concern by the extremely gullible police (except for Boney) builds as the book winds down and then, horror or all horrors, she uses those little baby-making sperm to condemn Nick AND THE BABY to a lifetime of hell with her.  Of course Gillian ends the book there, without us knowing if she miscarries and if Nick ever gets his revenge.  Because that's The Story: the story of the man and woman who's life is about the constant ups and down, about manipulation to the millionth degree and about Daily. Constant. Struggle.  The author's way out though is the fact that in a weird twisted way Nick still loves Amy and actually has fun with her.  His life isn't all that bad.  I mean, he can never relax, never sleep the deep sleeps that he's so proud of, never turn his back on his wife ever again.  But hey, at least they have some fun sometimes, right?

One of the best, absolute best, ironies of the book was the Dancing Monkey.  That at the end, both Nick and Amy become the ultimate dancing monkeys.  The live the rest of their life in a continual dance, each trying to outwit the other for small prizes of love, affection, attention and staying alive.

One area where I was very disappointed was in her lack of character development for Amy's parents.  How on earth can 2 supposedly loving, caring and so in-love parents produce Amy.  I don't buy her explanation: the expectation of perfection and being an only, and spoiled, child.  I just don't think that those kinds of things would drive Amy to be the person that she became.  I thought for a milli-second that we were getting to the realness of her when she explained that her dad had molested her.  And then we find out that that's only a lie.  Just like everything else.  I wanted to see the weakness - even if it was only a glimpse - of the crack of the facade of Marybeth and Rand.  But it never came.

I also was a little disappointed in the lack of an "ah-hah" moment for the things that the dad was saying.  Of course, the reader gets it, but Nick, or anyone else for that matter, doesn't.  Although, having dealt with grandparents of dementia, sometimes that's just how things are.  Some things that they say, we never really get.

Another thing I didn't buy was images in Nick's head that Gillian tried to use to make us believe that Nick had killed Amy.  Her head smashed in, or her, being pulled on the floor, bloody and crying out to Nick.  Nick had these images in his head before he knew for sure that Amy was framing him.  Now, I know that Gillian wants us to think that Nick killed her, and these images are his memories of the event.  Then she explains these images as Nick's way of dealing with his anger, a way of keeping control of his anger by pushing it all inside, an "oily" anger-infested rage pushed down so deep inside as to not show his true emotions.  However, I'm just not finding any reason for Nick to feel that amount of hatred towards Amy at that point in the book.  Sure, after he finds out the length and depths that she went to to frame him, but before?  He's just unhappy in his marriage, not necessarily angry at her.  Or at least, angry enough to imagine violent brutal images of her impending death.  I think she should've given us a better reason for those images.

All in all though, an emotion provoking book and worth the emotional ride.
My name is Fleur.  And this is my blog.




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