Samantha Allen's Reviews > Gone Girl

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
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Jul 06, 12

Read from July 04 to 06, 2012

Alright, so I started this book last night at midnight and was up until 3 am reading it. But I hate it. I'm at page 100 and I'm considering flipping to the end, or going to wikipedia to read a summary of the novel. I really can't decide. Because on one hand, yeah, Gillian Flynn drew me in. I want to know what happens, I really do. But on the other hand, these characters are so irritating, and the structure that flips between the realtime drama of Amy gone missing and Amy's old diary entries is really getting on my nerves. I appreciate that Flynn is trying to give us both sides of the marriage, because both of these people are total assholes -- I mean, completely self centered and blind to the real world -- so it's kind of hard to side with either one of them. (Though for the record, I hate Nick most.) And I also appreciate that Nick is a terribly unreliable narrator who is lying not only to the police but to us, as well. But it feels manipulative, and I'm reaching a breaking point.

Actually, what really pisses me off about this novel is the thick cesspool of misogyny the reader has to wade through to enter these people's lives. I do get the sense that Flynn is trying to dissect some of this culturally ingrained disdain for women, but I don't think that requires making Every. Single. Character. a serious woman hater. Nick and Go's dad is a card-carrying antifeminist, and Nick admits that his father's deep hatred for women has rubbed off on him. ("Stupid bitch" is a constant refrain in Nick's mind, echoing his father's favorite term.) Nick's sister Margo likes to point out how all women are insane (but she doesn't count herself as part of the term 'women'), and Amy writes about how terrible women are for making their husbands perform little tasks to prove their love, promising never to make her husband into a 'dancing money' like those 'other' women. Amy even scolds herself for being 'such a girl' because she was upset that Nick blew off their wedding anniversary to go to strip clubs with his friends to console them after losing their jobs. He come home with a phone number in his pocket, for god's sake, and she's still deriding herself for being emotional about it. Even minor women characters make flat out statements about how other women don't like them (because they're attractive, Nick's mentally commentary adds). Can I have ONE CHARACTER that thinks all this is bullshit? (Edit now that I'm done: one character who isn't a complete sociopath??) So far, no such luck. If Flynn is trying to deconstruct all this by pushing it in the reader's face, at page 100 she is failing. So far it just feels like she's trying to reflect reality, nodding along to the woman-hating refrain as the book goes on. I'm not sure how much longer I can swallow my annoyance.

Spoilers!

Finished. 400 pages in 3 days. This book was extremely compelling and right around the middle of the novel, pretty enjoyable to read. Then it spiraled out of control about three quarters of the way through and became, in my opinion, completely melodramatic and ridiculous. I mean, seriously, that whole diary was a ruse!? Why did I bother reading it then? I'm not a huge fan of being completely tricked, not by a narrator anyway. The revelation that Amy was a psychopath all along -- her whole life! -- made her much less interesting to me. As a professor of mine once said, only the human is interesting. And that character is not a human but a cold, calculating monster. Oh, and all that misogyny coming from Nick during the first half of the book? Vindicated, completely justified by the narrative. Which rubs me the wrong way. Sure, near the end he decides he's not like his father (he only hates Amy! Not all women everywhere!) but you know what they say about actions, how they compare to words. I've read the phrase "fucking bitch" enough to last me a lifetime. So, two stars. Because you really had me going, Ms. Flynn, but I didn't have a good time.
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Comments (showing 1-10)




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Joyce Bauer It took you 3 hours to read 100 pages? Are you a super-slow reader, or is this book that hard to follow?


Samantha Allen It was probably closer 1 am and I was at 124, I think, so I was just rounding. That's around pages an hour, so no, I wouldn't say I'm a slow reader, not at all. If I was, though, it wouldn't be very polite to point that out. I did have to flip back a number of times, though, because the narration is so broken up.


message 8: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim It is rude, however, since this conversation started, the average words per minute is 200-250, and industry standard in most books is 250 words per page, making average people read about 50-60 pages per hour. Speed isn't about intellect. Some faster readers have lower comprehension or visa versa.

Do keep reading. There is a big twist about halfway through, which I think you'll like. However, this isn't as dark as her previous books. It's more of a psychological study of two minds in a marriage.


Samantha Allen Kim wrote: "It is rude, however, since this conversation started, the average words per minute is 200-250, and industry standard in most books is 250 words per page, making average people read about 50-60 page..."

I finished a while ago, actually! I wasn't a fan of the twist. To me it felt pretty contrived and made Amy much less interesting. It was definitely a compelling read, but I felt like the twist was cheap, especially since she's so radically mentally ill that it's no longer a psychological study on marriage... It's just a study of psychopathy, which is less interesting to me.


Samantha Allen Kim wrote: "It is rude, however, since this conversation started, the average words per minute is 200-250, and industry standard in most books is 250 words per page, making average people read about 50-60 page..."

Interesting to hear the standard words per page! I was looking for that a while back, actually. Those stats mean I'm solidly average as that's about how fast I generally read when I'm not tired or distracted. Not that it matters all that much, but it's still interesting.

As for Gone Girl, I'm finished, actually! I wasn't a fan of the twist. To me it felt kind of contrived and made Amy much less interesting. It was definitely a compelling read, but I felt like the twist was cheap, especially since she's so radically mentally ill that it's no longer a psychological study on marriage... It's just a study of psychopathy, which is less interesting to me.


message 5: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim A psychological study on marriage would be more interesting, but Flynn deals with mental illness in her books. I liked her Sharp Objects (very dark but good) but hated her Dark Places with a passion. Anyway, happy reading!


Samantha Hoffman Funny, I read even a little more than that and I had no desire to flip to the end to find out what happened. I just didn't care.


Elaine So agree with you about the misogyny -- when Amy goes on her rant about "cool girls" and having to be a size 2 who loves porn-type sex and eating chili dogs and never complains about anything, I was all "you go girl", good insights. But of course, she's psychotic, and we're supposed to hate her, and actually her husband who just wanted to be with an unthreatening 23 year old who wanted undemanding porn-type sex was RIGHT, justified... Aargh. And it was not believable on even a suspension of disbelief level...


Laura Damn, I couldn't agree with you more. While reading, and now finished, I am still annoyed.


message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

I totally agree. I hate amy Amy but i HATE Nick. I just can't like a book when i hate the main characters.


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