Book Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Gone Girl. That’s the title of this novel. And it’s incredibly apt. I don’t want to give anything away, but the title is very right.
Overall, I’m not sure how to feel about this book. I read it in four days, so it must be half decent. But then again, I don’t have any real fond memories of it, so maybe not.
The line on the title calls it “the addictive number one bestseller.” Addictive is a good word. Reading this book is like an addiction; you take no real pleasure from it, other than the pleasure of consuming it. I didn’t particularly enjoy reading this book, but at the bottom of every page I simply had to know what was next.
Gillian Flynn, our author, sure as hell knows how to write. The words flow like a river. She paints scenes with such vividness, such life, that it’s hard not to be impressed. Our two main characters, Nick and Amy, are as alive to me as any of the people I pass in the street. They could be any of these people. I feel like I know them, and for that Flynn deserves credit.
The settings of the book are a little undersold, but I wonder if that’s done on purpose? She describes New York, St Louis, Missouri, all the little towns in between, in some, but not much, detail. I can picture Nick and Amy, but not the settings they are in. The background is blurry, unfocused, hard to grasp. But I think that’s important, precisely because the backgrounds aren’t important. This book is a case study of these two people, and for that to be successful we need no distractions.
The action in the book is intense. I remember almost flipping out when I first picked it up. The story starts off gently, it eases us in, then all of a sudden it kicks you in the face. I remember being blown away, thinking ‘hold on, no way, no fucking way!’ What you read is so well done, it’s hard to hate. The characters are so well created, so initially likeable, that I don’t hold it against them, I hold it against the author. And for that our author deserves a lot of credit.
Amy is such a brilliant character. I went through such a range of emotions with regards to her while reading, and even now, in reflection, I haven’t made up my mind. She’s good, she’s bad, she’s stupid, she’s a genius. I hate her, and I love her. That’s some good fucking writing.
And Nick, what’s there to say about Nick? He’s so trustworthy, but he lies. He seems so innocent, but he feels so guilty. That’s where the beauty of this book lies; nothing is what it seems. I know that’s a cliché, but trust me, in this novel it’s so appropriate.
All things considered, I suppose thinking about it I did enjoy this book. It does keep you interested, it does make you want to read just one more chapter, just a few more pages to uncover what’s behind the latest revelation. The characters are very real, if not slightly exaggerated, and the story is just insane enough to be believable. It’s not a book I imagine I’ll ever read again, but it’s not a book I feel like I wasted time on. If you’re stuck on what to read, give it a shot, but if you have a book in mind, don’t skip it for Gone Girl. Your life won’t be any worse if you never end up reading it.