Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Book Review - Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Published by: Crown
Publication Date: June 5th, 2012
Format: Hardcover, 419 Pages
Rating: ★★
To Buy

Amy Dunne has disappeared and her husband Nick is the prime suspect. Their supposed perfect marriage wasn't all that it appeared. Through Amy's diary we learn that she was the perfect wife and lover and Nick, Nick was dark and sometimes dangerous. She worried for her safety and the safety of their unborn child. Her disappearance makes national headlines because not only is she a beautiful, perfect wife, but her parents based the successful Amazing Amy books on that life, and now Amazing Amy is Missing! But the manhunt that starts on the couple's wedding anniversary is just what Amy wanted. She isn't missing or dead, she knows exactly what she's doing and how Nick is going to pay for every slight he's ever done her.  

Me and run away bestsellers have never mixed. Yet have I ever learned my lesson? No. I keep thinking, this one will be different, this won't be like the joke that was The Da Vinci Code wherein being a Whovian and taking art history made the answers all too obvious. Or even having two brain cells to rub together made it glaringly evident. Oh no, I go ever onward hoping it will be different. And this is how I ended up reading Gone Girl. I vaguely remember my mom enjoying it, and well, it was there on the shelf, so I thought, hey, I do want to see the movie because well, Neil Patrick Harris and Rosamund Pike, so let's give it a try. What works as a two and a half hour movie doesn't work as a book. At all. Seriously, I am baffled as to why anyone would highly rate this book. Proving once again I'm contrary to all trends.

Firstly we are stuck with two unreliable narrators. I mean, just because something works for some authors and is, if executed properly, a nice narrative device, doesn't mean that doubling it makes it doubly good. If you are going to use unreliable narrators, try something unique and fresh, don't use the trope in the most boring way conceivable. And what's the most boring way? Making it a he said she said back and forth that doesn't progress the story but mires it in bitchy people omitting key evidence. I understand that Flynn probably did this on purpose so that we couldn't see what was coming, but, well, using this device to time her revelations so that between the two narrators we could try to figure out the truth, it seemed too contrived. Reveals should come naturally to the story, not be rigorously plotted out so that at page whatever we get this clue and fifty pages later we get another clue. I don't want to see the mechanics of your work, I want to be taken away by your writing.

And the truth of Gone Girl is I could never be taken away by the writing because the characters are so horrid and unlikable. In all seriousness, the ONLY reason this book got two stars is because I hated the characters so much that they deserved each other and the hell they had made. I felt it was a just ending. But again, here's an author who for some reason didn't realize that either your characters had to be likable or evil enough to be a fascinating antihero. Let's take Nick. He's boring. He's a pretty boy whose life is ruled by his dick. Why should we like him at all? There's no reason, sign off on Nick. Now Amy, why should we like Amy? Because the image she projects of herself is insipid and the true psychopath within, well, she's a bitch too. A controlling bitch. They deserve each other and that's an end to that.

Because Amy and Nick are so unlikable you don't give a flying fuck what happens to them. I mean seriously, they could have both died, they could have both been imprisoned, they could have been ignited in a pyre for national television. If you don't have someone you can root for then there's no reason to read a book. Seriously. I don't even know what to write anymore about this book because I just don't get it. It's not that original, it has unlikable characters, and it's not suspenseful in the least and for some reason everyone loves it!?! I think I have to cut this review short. How can I tear apart a book with so little to latch onto. There was no meat to this story so there's nothing I can chew on to discuss. Just no. This book wasn't for me. The end.


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