My Thoughts on Gone Girl (the novel)

I started reading Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl about two weeks ago, after a few failed attempts to go see David Fincher’s film adaptation, which was released in mid-October (the closest movie theater is a 15 minute drive, or about a 45 minute bus ride from my house in downtown Madison, WI). As a David Fincher fanatic, I could barely contain my excitement for the release of his first movie since 2011’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I saw the first trailer for the film in June or July, but I had no interest in reading Flynn’s novel and was determined to patiently wait for the film’s release, at which time I would race to the theater to get my Fincher fix. That, however, did not and still has not happened. So after watching the trailer over and over again, day after day, becoming more and more frustrated and upset at my depressing, hopeless predicament, I decided to pick up the novel on my kindle. What follows is a list of things I liked and did not like about Gillian Flynn’s work, in anticipation of, fingers crossed, finally seeing the movie this weekend. Many spoilers below; read at your own risk.

The Good:

-I thought the first half of the novel was fantastic–no matter how hard I tried to analyze and reconcile all the things happening in Nick’s present day narrative and Amy’s diary entries, I could not distinguish what was true from what was fabricated. This speaks to an important theme in the novel, of trust and uncertainty in relationships; throughout the novel Nick and Amy continually try to understand the other more completely, struggling to sort out what is sincere and what is a lie.

-Flynn takes the reader on a wild ride throughout the novel–there are tons of twists and turns right up to the very end.

-The backstory of Nick and Amy is continually referenced (Nick’s Alzheimer’s ridden father constantly escaping his nursing home to show up on Nicks doorstep, the Amazing Amy books and the effect of their success on Amy’s life) and helps to paint a more complete picture of these characters and why they ended up together; they are both profoundly influenced by their upbringing–Nick tries his hardest to not become the man his father was, Amy struggles to live up to the persona her parents have created for her in the Amazing Amy stories.

The Bad:

– I thought the novel lost a lot of steam after it is revealed Amy is still alive. Everything became a little less believable and more contrived. I thought the central twist took the book from an edge-of-my-seat mystery to more of a horror story, where the only question to be answered was: what will this crazy woman do next.

– The ending was a little too outrageous for me. The fact that Nick so completely surrenders to his psychopath wife,  after everything that had taken place, was hard to swallow. However, I guess he didnt have much of a choice.

Keep an eye out for a post movie-viewing post this weekend.

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