Sarah
Sarah asked:

Appropriate for mature teens?

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A I think it actually is very appropriate despite what some might say. It introduces important topics that are serious and need to be understood. The thing is, all you parents out there don't seem to understand that all the things you think you've sheltered teens from you really haven't. If you think your 8th grade kid isn't swearing when they leave your presence, you're dead wrong. All teenagers are overly exposed to mature topics such as cursing and sex as well as others. I beleive those who say this book isn't for mature teens is severely underestimating all teenagers and their capacity for understanding and knowledge. I myself am only 14 and have read and completely understood the book. I've recommeneded this book to several of my friends and they've all understood and enjoyed it. We may act like it, but we aren't all as foolish and naive as some believe us to be.
Joann this book is NOT appropriate for teens. Why do authors think they have to use the F word? It just shows their lack of good judgement. It ruins a book for those who want a good read. It is a shame.
Jana Teens hear swearing at school everyday. Reading about someone who swears isn't going to have a profound effect on them. If it bothers you then talk to your child about it. Discuss your feelings/fears on the subject and if you still aren't happy then choose another book.

Rhiannon Wyn That anyone would limit their teenager's (or even their own) reading material based on a few swear words or a bit of sex, is laughable at best.

Human nature on the other hand, is disturbing. Physical, sexual and emotional assault are all referenced to varying extent (no spoilers). I'd advise you read and re-read the novel yourself, then go based on your own discretion based on personal knowledge of the young adult.

Personally, I'd advise 16 as a good starting point for age negotiations, but it really would have to come down to what you feel is appropriate for an individual.
Alisha Coming from a 16-year-old: yes. There's nothing in this book that an older teenager is too innocent to be exposed to. Your teenager swears. Your teenager knows about sex (or has had sex themselves). Unless your teenager is incredibly morally stunted, they're definitely mature enough to understand that Amy and Nick are awful people and that the relationships portrayed in this book aren't standards to be emulated. No teenager is stupid enough to read this book and think that this is anything more than an incredibly twisted, disturbing tale.
Laurel No, as a mother of two teen daughters I would say this is not something I would want them to read. They cannot/I cannot help what they unintentionally hear at school regarding swearing and sexual exploits of "peers", but I can assure you that not every teen talks like that nor do they need to invite it into their lives by reading about it (watching about it). The main characters lives in the book are twisted and abnormal. No teen developing their own sense interpersonal relationships needs this influence. Though there are touches of truth & reality in their marital relationship, I think these subtleties will be lost on teen readers. Just because one can read it, doesn't mean they should read it.
Cathy I don't know that this book is appropriate for teens. I don't have a problem with swearing, but with the plot, characters, situation. This book is a very stylized take on marriage, relationships (husband/wife, parent/adult child), police work, the justice system, etc. Most of the book doesn't hold up to honest scrutiny. It may be a good conversation starter for a teen, but I'd hate for them to think of this as "realistic." If anything, it's a crazy tall tale.
Heather Gilbert Not for teens, mature or otherwise. Not only is it full of F-bombs, but the sexual language is pervasive and graphic.
Sara Warner It's not the swears so much as the graphic sexual language. Not appropriate.
Lucy Well, I'm 14 and I'm currently reading this book with only about 100 hundred pages to go. Do I believe this book is appropriate for mature teens? Yes. There is nothing in this book that I haven't heard before (in regards of language), I understand the sex and sexual references and personally am finding the book very interesting.

I think it really depends on the teenager and what the parents want their kid to be influenced by. My parents are quite liberal and have pretty much let me read or watch anything I like. And there have been times when I had to put down a book because I found it too mature or not suitable for my age.
Jess I was 14 when I read the book and I loved it. Some people may argue that it does require some degree of maturity, but really compared to some of the things teens are exposed to every day, I found it fine. It's such an incredible story, there are so many topical issues and amazing twists, I think it would be a shame to not read it for the sake of your age.
Sonya Edwards I think teens are smarter than a lot of adults give them credit for. Not only that, but as a whole, teens don't tend to internalize and analyze these things the way adults do, the current generation of teens has been completely desensitized to the crazy nonsense that happens in this book and I don't think it would shock them as much as it does the adults who have read it. There are parents I know who plan on bringing their 11 year olds to the movie version, but wouldn't let the 11 year old read the book. (follow that logic).

I don't think there's a straight yes/no answer, it will depend on the individual (there are adults I wouldn't recommend it too). But I do think that if the teen and parent have both read the book it would make a great discussion piece - domestic violence, abusive relationships, honest/true people, fakers, victim blaming, etc.
Lauren Langford Pretty foul language and very adult scenarios and situations.

I do not think I would let my teenager read this book if she asked to borrow it.
Nicole Anyone can do what they like with their kids. They don't mind their "mature teens" reading about this messed up plot and reading swear words because "they hear swearing at school everyday." Do as you will. However, after I read this book, there is NO way I would allow my teens (when they become teens) to read this disgusting book. It suggests ways to falsify rape and lie to police officers. It suggests that if you do all your research and you're patient that you can concoct any crime and get away with it. It suggests that you can be smarter than police and make them look stupid. It suggests that you can murder people and get away with it. Yes, this is a book for every teen to read, right? I'm sad this book is so popular. What a sad world we live in where people are actually trying to decipher if this book is okay for teens to read. Even sadder that people are only concerned about the language in it and not the content. Teens will do as they wish. Ultimately, if my teens decide to read it, so be it. However, I will definitely talk with them after and explain that the things in here are wrong and that no one is beyond being caught. I think that was my biggest problem with this book, was that there was no justice. The story ends with bad winning in the end. This isn't a message that anyone should have instilled in their minds. Teens or adults.
Joana Ramacciotti im 18 and i'm reading it... all my friends that are 17 and under are reading it as well, i don't think its a big deal that teens read it.
Xiomara This book is not for TEENS
Eileen Yes. I am 17 and if I can say so myself very mature for my age, as I am an only child, and I loved this book.
Susie I'm fifteen and reading this book. I think it is appropriate, some parents seem to want to shelter their teenager from all 'adult' themes (sex, rape, relationships,abuse, manipulation) and are unaware that we're already encountering these themes in our lives, in milder forms but still. Reading books that have these themes is a crucial and SAFE way in understanding what they are. You can't censor everything in your child's life because then if they experience, for example, abuse they aren't going to know what it is and how to deal with it. Especially if your child is 16+, they are legally able to consent to sex (in the UK) but you won't let them read a book that contains the theme of sex in it. If you stop your teenager from reading these things then it can lead to resentment and ultimately distrust, luckily my parents are liberal but I've seen it happen with my friends and their parents. You need to open your eyes and see that your teenager isn't a kid any more and is on the verge of adulthood, they might go in completely unaware of things that adults encounter. Obviously they won't experience everything in this book and obviously they shouldn't react in the ways shown in this book but they need to be aware of these themes.
Laura Bakker I am currently reading this and I am sixteen years old so yeah.
Neeve I'm 17 and just finished this book. Honestly, the most graphic (if you can even say that) parts are them having sex, some mentions of rape and just some colourful language. I think if you're mature enough to understand that the relationship in the book isn't healthy, and the characters aren't model citizens (eg. Nick's attitude to some women isn't right), it's appropriate for you to read.
TomS This totally depends on the parent's value system. If you don't really care if your child sees gratuitous profanity and explicit sexual references as perfectly normal adult behavior, have at it. If you are attempting to raise a child who sees every-other-word-profanity as a crutch of the lazy or the drunk, then steer them away. Actually if you feel like that, steer away yourself.

My conservative Christian perspective: I laid the book down at least twice because of the profanity and the sex. I'm actually quite sheepish that I picked it up again to finish it, choosing to flinch through the needless content so I could find out the conclusion.

This book has a super-compelling plot with some thrilling twists and ends with some intelligent depth. But the filth eliminates the book from my list of notable reads completely.
Martinigirl No. The book is about lies, murder, swearing, sex, manipulation and how spoiled brats grow up to be spoiled adults and how they act when they don't get their way. Dangerous and nasty. I don't think teens need to read that. People saying their kids "hear swearing every day at school" etc. doesn't mean you should excuse it and blow it off for your kids. That is the trouble with lazy parenting today with that attitude.
Kathleen No, and not because of the language. It is about the psychopathic character(s) portrayed as normal people in normal life situations.

Makes me wonder if anyone responding below with comments on swearing even read the book.
Nicole I say definitely not. There are extremely disturbing sexual themes and I just don't think they'd understand the complexity of the novel. They'd only walk away knowing they heard a man call a woman the c-word and b*tch numerous times. Even the most mature teen shouldn't read this.
Normally, I think teens should not be shielded from swearing or (moderate) sexuality. But this book is extreme and therefore should be reserved for an older audience.
Allison Yeah, I think so. Probably a 16-17+ book.
The author came to my high school a few months ago (junior/senior class), so I'm pretty sure she thinks it's okay for older teens to read.
Amd absolutely not. sexual connotation, mature language, just not necessary
Amber Williams I am the mother of 5 teen daughters. I personally think it would depend on the teen themselves. I have a 16 year old that I would let read it but not my 15 year old. It all goes back to if the teen themselves are mentally capable of reading and understanding this book. This is a very diverse book with the language and sexual references. All teens are exposed to some of this daily, I understand but some of this goes above and beyond. I recommend that each parent read the book and then make the decision based on their child's personality and maturity.
Jessica Whether you mean mature in age (aka 16-19) or simply mature in attitude I would say yes. The mature themes in this book fit along with the themes that are in books that I've read for my AP English classes. If the language isn't a problem (which I doubt it'd be for most teens) and the sex isn't too much for them I think it will be enjoyable.
Araminta Hall My 16 year old son is totally engrossed in it at the moment. I know others don't like the swearing, but that's all around them and will hardly come as a surprise. It's really making him think and we've had some very interesting discussions about it, so I'd say definitely.
Kat Klavon Absolutely NOT appropriate for mature teens. The themes are way too much, they are over the top. It isn't about the language, it is about the disturbing amount of violence (Physical, mental, emotional) inflicted throughout the storyline. A story about a Psychopathic Homeopath is not mature teen friendly. It is highly disturbing, and has no redemptive quality whatsoever.
Taylor I would never buy this for your older teenager, but if they picked it up on their own, I'd let them read it. As a reference, I am in my early-twenties. I personally did not enjoy the book, and I would have disliked it even more if I read it as a teenager. Everyone is different, so I'd let them choose on their own.
Madeleine Sallis Definitely, I would consider myself a mature teen. I loved the book and it introduced me to a lot of different topics.
Kristine Walker As a parent who didn't concern herself too much with censoring her son's reading, I am one who would 'allow' mature teens to read this, though there are much better novels out there, in my view. Perhaps more shocking than the profanity are the sexual references, but those are everywhere these days anyway. If you're trying to shelter teens from sex, profanity, or anything else you deem unpalatable, I wouldn't fight that particular losing battle. Just raise them to have empathy and use their own good judgement which you've (hopefully) modelled. Lecture over!
xXForever_LoveXx Yeah, I read this as a teenager. As long as they're mature it's fine. There's just a lot swearing, sexual references, some violence and some instances of self-inflicted harm. Apart from that, if they're mature enough to handle things like that, it should be okay. Maybe read the book first yourself? Only you can be the real judge.
Adnama Anderson It really depends on the age of your teenager and their level of maturity. There are some very grown up sex scenes, very adult language including the c-word, and violence.When I was a teenager I was already exposed to all of this and a little book wasn't going to hard anything. But that's me.
Emily Of course, why not! Encourage reading!
Jerre Simmons I hate that kids are exposed to bad language but it's part of life these days. And you know they are going to see the movie and will hear it. I would rather see it in print so I can skip over the bad words. In the movie I can't do that. I just always told my kids you may hear or read that kind of language, but in this house we don't use it!
Edit Ostrom I would not like my own daughter reading this book but I admit I only browsed it. What I saw was enough for me to return it to the library, since I found it disturbing, and not just the swear words, which are all over YA literature anyway. I would not recommend it for teens, but if they seek it out and like it - hey, it's a free world. And the author thinking it's fine for teens to read it, well ... of course, for an author, the more people read it the better. A high school inviting the author? Now that is something I do not understand, and I am a school librarian.
Ender Wiggin Yes and no. As a teenager, I would say there are definitely some content issues, but I read it, loved it, and continue to recommend it.

The book is pervasively profane. Pretty much every piece of dialogue contains at least one expletive. While I'd say a discerning teen could handle it, it's up to your discretion.

There's quite a bit of blood. There's a lot of heavily descriptive gore, death and violence. Again, I thought it was tolerable, but I could see a lot of teens struggling.

I don't remember any romance or associated content issues.

Overall, the book's totally brilliant and expertly written. 6 out of 5 stars.
Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* Yes, absolutely.
Jennifer In my opinion, yes. You could even read it at the same time and talk about the book with them. That's what I'd do, but I have mature discussions with my kids
Abby-Rose Margarida Sparrow I don't think this book is appropriate for ANYONE.
emil Hi, I am 13 and have read this— keyword is “mature” because it should be okay, but they have to understand that the relationship is v. unhealthy and isn’t a model (which should be obvious, but ya know.)
Peyton Here's the funny thing about this question. Children are exposed to plenty of vulgar language and topics such as sex, rape, and abuse in school, oftentimes even being required to debate and form an opinion on said topics. The world is changing; children and teens are being given a voice in controversial issues, and if the school system is going so far as to allow us to voice our opinions, the parents sure as hell better make sure we're aware of these topics.
Here's another funny thing: many of these parents are suggesting that teens as old as high-school age would not understand or shouldn't be subject to the content of this book. Yet in a few years, when we all turn 18, they'll expect us to be well-informed about the dangers of the real world so that we stay safe in college and the workplace. Dangers like rape, kidnapping, abuse.
Serious and controversial topics permeate our pop culture, and the earlier the exposure, the deeper the understanding. Am I suggesting you read Gone Girl to your five-year old and try to explain sex? Certainly not.
Gone Girl is a work of fiction, but hearing that parents shelter their teens like this is rather alarming to me. Because what about when it comes to works of nonfiction? Will you shut off the news when there's a story about a murder, will you tell your child that people do not kill and do not rape? Because people do.
Yes, Gone Girl is a work of fiction but it is good exposure. I personally found this book deeply disturbing, as most do, but also fascinating. It's a look into the mind of (essentially) two psychopaths. What if your child takes up an interest in psychology and has to work with, try to help people like Nick and Amy? What if he or she decides to study criminal justice or analyze handwriting, inspired by something they read in this book? Hiding such information from them seems, to me, like a wasted opportunity. But then, I have a very strange view on books: I am of the belief that every book we read changes us in some small way, adds a new thought to our minds. For me, Gone Girl made me think in new ways about people and relationships, about the crime stories we hear on the news, because none of us truly know what goes on behind closed doors.
Also, many children today hate reading, which is extremely disheartening. Sometimes I wonder if the reason so many of them hate it is because parents or teachers are handing them books that don't show the truth of the world today, that they feel aren't relevant to their lives. Gone Girl is certainly relevant, I think, to today's world of crime and broken relationships, even if not everything was portrayed with 100% accuracy.
Just some thoughts from a mature teen.
Jordan Marshall I myself and 12 and I loved this book. I understood it and if you are an advanced reader I totally think that at a young age you can read this book. Again, I am only 12. Not even a teen yet! Turning 13 soon though.
Porsche
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Caitlyn Witvoet I read this book in the 8th grade and did a book report on it to my English class. Yes, there is strong language, yes there is graphic sexual content, but am I scarred for life from reading a book? No.
Helen Teutsch No, there is nothing in this book that is positive for teens. These characters are messed up and teens don't need any examples of that, even if it is fiction and even if they are mature.
Sarah Yes. In fact I think this appropriate much more appropriate than half the conversations you hear in school, but it is in a thought provoking way. The book really opens your mind and warns you of the manipulation and dangers present in some relationships that are so carefully hidden from teenagers but really need to be broadcasted.
It is very cleverly and impressively written, and while there are a lot of adult themes (a lot of sexual references and scenes as well as some plain and simple disturbing bits, the language is nothing worse than school) it is worth a read and very hard to stop reading!
Soozblooz No. Worse than the F bombs are the C word. Sorry. I draw the line at that. Besides what the character did to herself to simulate rape is excesssively disturbing.
Elanna Please. "Mature teens" should read whatever they think better. Hopefully dynamite stuff. At fifteen my favourite was Clockwork Orange, it taught me all about freedom and responsibility.
Ke I don't think it's the graphic sexual language that makes it inappropriate for teenagers but the twisted character in this story which makes marriage,which supposed to be hopeful and appealing, appearing to be dark and hateful and sophisticated. As far as I am concerned, the image of marriage between Amy and Nick cannot be the best one to portrayed to teenagers.
Deb On audio, the graphic language is jarring even for this adult, though it feels authentic to the story.
Eric It begs the question - what do you mean by "appropriate"? In the truest sense of the word, the answer is NO. (Understanding what's going on in terms of mere plot does not signal appropriateness) The theme is dark & twisted, and there is a lot of layers of nuance in the complicated psychological dimensions in the relationships depicted within that teenagers 1) will not fully understand, let alone be able to reflect one's own lives against 2) thus misinterpret and only remember the "adult" elements of the book, distorting their views and 3) mistakenly think this is close to reality and be affected by the book's dark tones and subtleties when they are at that prime age to form their personas. Thus I think this book is not appropriate for teens.
Katie Rybakova I'm on the edge-- swearing is not the issue. There is swearing in a lot of books that I'd recommend to teens. There is a lot of swearing in CANONICAL texts (and some way worse that this book). So swearing isn't the issue. I would say the sexual content is the issue, particularly the violent sexual content. Also, while great for a young adult in college going through, perhaps, relationship issues, I am not sure that teens are going through this level of relationship issue or are mature enough to CONNECT to the content as much as an adult would, or even a young adult. Regardless, I think for the sake of the mystery and the sake of the very believable characters, something I would recommend to older teens with reservation and consideration of context.
Marti I don't think authors "have" to use any certain words. I think they choose them for their specific application in a certain context/conversation. Using "darn" or "frickin'" just doesn't have the same impact as the F word.
It does not show "poor judgment" for an author to ignore your concerns about your teenager. The real shame is that you let the use of a word determine your enjoyment of a book.
While F___ is just a word, the amoral behavior, murder, and cruelty are the real concerns I would have for a teenage reader.
janna I think it is appropriate for anyone 16 and older. I feel like it carries a lot of adult themes, and I am not just talking about the cursing and sex.
Hannah (Ivyclad Ideas) As a seventeen year old, it wasn't the swear words that bothered me, it was the more sexual sections. If I hadn't been reading it for a book club, I would've put it down because I don't like reading that sort of thing.
Fata Morgana I did not know that it could be an issue of discussing thow appropriate a book is or not and whether to let their teen read it in times when everybody has acces to everythin via internet, stuff way more bad, inappropriate and disturbing than this fictional book. Are some of the members here really serious about the F-word??? Come on!
But maybe it is something US-culture-specific that me as a German-European cannot really understand or simply do not know.

Of course I woouldn't recommend that kids read that book, about from the age of 15, 16, why not? A reason not to read it is surely NOT the use of the F-word.
Victoria S I think it is.. I 'm 18, technically an adult...but not really (?.. and I LOVE this book. One of my favourites of the year. 5/5 stars

I'm use to read YA, so yeah some scenes in this book shocked me because of the language, or because they were a bit sexual, but It didn't "traumatized me", or nothing loke that... don't worry.
It also deals a lot with marriage dynamic, and.... I guess we all have the idea of how it "should be" but maybe a married person will.... understand more? maybe? Idk.
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by Gillian Flynn (Goodreads Author)
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