My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Opening Sentence: When I think of my wife, I always think of her head.
When you’ve read as many thrillers and mystery novels as I have you tell yourself you can’t be surprised or manipulated by authors anymore. Clearly I was wrong. Gillian Flynn had me exactly where she wanted me the whole time.
This is the one book I would never want to spoil for anyone. It is written so well that I have to work to keep any spoilers or potential spoilers out of this review. I wont do it. I just wont. Since I am already late on the bandwagon for this one, all I can say is, read it if you haven’t already and you may be left reevaluating everything you thought you knew.
Flynn has a way of making everyone else’s life seem boring. The brutality and the naked grit of this book makes it appealing to the dark side of people. The plot points of Gone Girl are so well constructed and realistic, that the entire book is presented in a way that made me feel no better than the gossip hungry neighbors that spy on you looking to break down the walls of your privacy just for interesting conversation points. I was very opinionated throughout the first half of the book as obvious by my twitter outrage, and then I was made to realize how little I really understood. I accused myself of being no less than a sheep-headed individual taken in by something as pedestrian as Schadenfreude, and finished the rest of the book with open eyes and rapt attention.
The flawless character development of Gone Girl was a refreshing change from the forced and underdeveloped characters peppered throughout mysteries. Character development is key to writing thrillers and very often for the sake of a surprise, writers tend to forgo this aspect to create what might seem to them a thrilling conclusion. In most cases it just creates plot holes that leave readers frustrated, irritated or just exasperated. Fortunately Gillian Flynn has explored her characters, whether they’re protagonists like Nick and Amy or interesting side characters like Tanner Bolt, and their relationships to each other very fully and presented a book that satisfies the mind. What fascinated me, and probably says more about my psyche than the characters in question, is how my feelings towards them didn’t change much throughout the book. If you’ve read the book you would know this is a little disturbing because ideally a person’s feelings should change as you learn more about the story.
There is a passage of the book that says “We were the first human beings who would never see anything for the first time.” And I have to agree with the author. There are very few things that people witness at this point that they don’t associate with something seen on TV or the internet. It is the very underwhelming time of having seen it all to be alive. Which is why I am not used to being made to feel simple-minded by writers, like I said I felt there were no more surprises in this genre for me. But Gone Girl completely threw me and then labelled me as having been born yesterday. And I am not at all displeased at that. I couldn’t be happier to read a thriller after so long that was actually thrilling. Thrilling enough to feel like stepping into a completely different story somewhere along the line.
Read it and stay single said the Financial Times and I couldn’t agree more. But in all fairness I would have recommended that even before you read this.
1. Most beautiful, good things are done by women people scorn. (pg. 75)
2. It’s a vert difficult era in which to be a person, just a real, actual person, instead of a collection of personality traits selected from an endless automat of characters. (pg. 81)
3. Our kind of love can go into remission, but it’s always waiting to return. Like the world’s sweetest cancer. (pg. 439)