Book Review of Gone Girl by: Gillian Flynn
I gave this book three out of five stars.
This book is disturbing, well written, and grotesque on many levels. The first mystery thriller I was not able to predict the ending to in a long time. I think the “Who’s Afraid if Virginia Woolf” reference was the best example of where the book was headed. Like the play, this book imposed a similar disorienting disgust and wonder on me. Reading the end of the book I immediately thought of the end of the play. For some reason the equivalences made the unresolved conflict palatable for me. I’m not sure I would have been happy with the ending otherwise.
What I liked:
1) The parallels drawn to the real life Scott Peterson case. It was the perfect case to reference since it captured the nations attention so completely and for such a long period of time. I also smiled at all of the crime television references made.
2) The writing is good. The prose fit well into the heads of a book staring two self absorbed snarky writers. My favorite internal dialogue was Nick’s when he explained where his life was before Amy. How he was bored or blanketed in malaise because “the second hand experience is always better”. It was like reading a prettied up personality outline of a generation X attitude.
3) I like how Flynn keeps the reader guessing by adding details you may or may not need to know. I thought the Nick’s father was a brilliant embellishment.
What I didn’t like:
1) The characters. I was fascinated really, to read a book where so many of the characters were offensive and not endearing. Character attachment had nothing to do with why I finished the book. I kept cautioning myself to not infer the author shared the character opinions, but it was difficult with so many characters espousing similar haughty views. The character Rand sums up every narrative description or observation made of the Midwest when he say’s: “I have to tell you, it’s really quite ugly here.”
2) Inconsistent Characterization. I was disappointed when Amy lost her smart sociopath edge. I liked hating her and seeing her as a calculating, OCD, list making nut case. What happened at the roadside inn, and her reaction was not smart. If she is so cunning and forward thinking that never should have happened. Did it make her more human, sure. Do I really believe she cooked up what eventually happened with Desi while she was curled up in the fetal position at a rest stop for forty-five minutes? No way.
3) The plot. Since when do sociopaths include their own demise as part of their revenge plan? She’s a narcissist not depressed. You could see where Flynn may have said, “I don’t know what to do now” when Amy’s at the roadside motel. Why wasn’t milk-spitting Amy executing some clever plan against these two “redneck” offenders? Once Amy meets up with Desi, her character really falls apart. She let’s Desi pen her up for how many days? Seems like her ultimate solution for him could have been carried out within the same week she’s brought to his lake lodge. It was a little too convenient for Desi to be who he was originally rumored to be. At the end I don’t believe the police or FBI would just shrug their shoulders and go home. Not really how a situation like this would play out in real life, but this is a fiction book. If the ending mirrored real life then there would be too much light in what is meant to be a dark book.