Casey's Reviews > Gone Girl

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
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's review
Jul 25, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: the-not-so-serious-lit

So here's some advice: try not to marry someone if you don't know what they're capable of. That's not a spoiler. That's not even bad advice.

This book ended up surprising me. I don't think I can say too much without giving something away. I can say that the review I had been crafting in my mind halfway through reading this book did not end up being a good review for the book I actually read. Take from that what you will.

I will definitely keep my eye on Flynn, and I may pick up one of her previous books next time I head home to visit my folks in California. Definitely a better-than-average beach read.

WARNING: There are spoilers in the comments.
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Reading Progress

July 25, 2012 – Started Reading
July 25, 2012 – Shelved
July 25, 2012 –
page 83
July 26, 2012 –
page 217
54.39% "Don't care much for the characters (not sure if I'm supposed to), but the story is compelling, and I'm enjoying it so far!"
July 26, 2012 –
page 367
July 26, 2012 – Shelved as: the-not-so-serious-lit
July 26, 2012 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-20)

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message 20: by Alex (new) - rated it 4 stars

Alex Just finished this over lunch. Wanna have a spoiler-filled conversation about it in this comment thread? I'll invite Kelley and Meghan! It'll be a party! I'll bring dorito casserole!

Casey Yes, absolutely! I will come up with spoilery comments as soon as I'm near my computer (iPhone is not ideal for typing excitedly).

And while I'm at it, I shall bring sangria.

message 18: by Alex (last edited Jul 27, 2012 10:22AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars


Whenever you're ready, here's my first of like a million thoughts:

There's no fucking way Nick would spend that first night alone in his house with Amy, right? Nor would Go or Tanner allow him to. It would be super easy to have an excuse not to - Amy's so traumatized she really needs people around her right now, whatever.

I understand that for the book to work as overblown metaphor for the compromises we make in marriage, that ending sorta has to happen - but I couldn't buy it. Just couldn't suspend my disbelief that much.

In response to your review - are you married? I did that once. Then she framed me for her own murder, so I divorced her like a person with an ounce of common sense. (No, she's very nice, we just grew apart.) (But also she framed me for murder.) Anyway. "try not to marry someone if you don't know what they're capable of." You know, seriously, I don't think we ever know exactly what anyone's capable of. Shoot, I don't even know what I'm capable of. You ever have that thought, like, "If someone hurt my [sister, child, girlfriend, favorite barista] I would MURDER them!" I have no idea if I'd do that or not! No clue! So...I agree with Flynn's point there. You marry someone and then you spend the rest of your life finding out about them. "Huh! We've been married ten years and I just realized, she is just racist against Dominican cab drivers. How about that?"

I'm feeling super babbly today, sorry.

Kelley I agree it was a great Summer by the pool thriller. Completely implausible, but pretty enjoyable. I was really surprised around the middle when we find out that Amy's diary is BS and she's basically a psychopath. Even when she was talking about pretending to be Cool Girl, I didn't really get it. As a married person, I totally get that on-your-best-behavior-person vs. warts-and-all-person transformation you and your spouse go through over the years. I like how even I didn't get the metaphor of marital compromise blown up to the extreme, Alex, because it's usually, "Gee, I guess she doesn't like my music as much as she seemed to" or "Gee, she sure drinks a lot more than I realized." Not "Gee, her whole personality is a fabrication."

message 16: by Alex (new) - rated it 4 stars

Alex Right, yeah. Overblown.

I loved the journal reveal because I hadn't liked the journal; I kept thinking, "Nobody actually thinks like this, right? That shit about dancing monkeys...she's clearly deceiving herself." I thought Flynn walked a really fine line there: I didn't guess that it was a fabrication, but I knew it was off. I just thought Flynn wasn't doing a good job with the characterization.

I sortof get the Cool Girl thing. I have moments, in this newish relationship of mine: "Man, you know what I'd like? A cigarette. Noooo, you don't smoke. You quit. You are an awesome dude in an awesome relationship with an awesome chick, and this dude doesn't smoke." Then I kill an ex-girlfriend to relieve the pressure.

message 15: by Alex (new) - rated it 4 stars

Alex I was just reminded of an episode from my marriage:

Early on, my ex said, "You know what? I hate when girls complain about guys not leaving the seat down. I don't care! Go ahead and leave it up!" And I was like, whatever, okay, then I will. A couple years into our marriage she was like "We need to talk, honey. I know what I said, but...I changed my mind. It's actually been bugging the shit out of me for years."

Basically the same thing!

Kelley Yeah, girls totally do that!

message 13: by Alex (new) - rated it 4 stars

Alex Dudes do it too!

Casey You know, throughout this book I found myself thinking "Thank God I'm not married." But as soon as we found out that Amy is pretty much crazy, the thoughts went from "Okay, so marriage probably isn't this bad" then back to "No, maybe it is." One thing I've noticed: women tend to complain about what other women do, a lot. I guess maybe it's an attempt to not be "that girl," plus it's probably some insane internal competition to win at relationships. I'm sure I've done it too, although nothing is coming to mind right now.

I was pleased when, halfway through, we found out that Diary Amy was not Real Amy. I hated Diary Amy. She seemed like one of those Sex and the City characters, with a smattering of accomplishments but no sustained interests. Plus, that "writing" job. I couldn't believe she deluded herself into thinking that quiz-authoring was a good use of a masters degree. But most of all, I hated how Diary Amy seemed to think her life was aspirational, because all women want to be rich, thin, urban, and married.

Anyway, I thought this book definitely worked from the marriage angle, but it seemed that Flynn also tried to make a comment on the media, which didn't work quite so well for me. Yeah, print media is dying, news is sensationalists, and the husband is always the murderer. Valid points, I guess, but nothing really new there.

Casey Fun fact: I have a masters degree in psychology and I have never once thought about framing my boyfriend for my murder. Maybe that will have to wait for marriage.

message 10: by Alex (new) - rated it 4 stars

Alex Well, clearly you're wasting your education.

Agreed: the media angle was old news. And the conclusion relied a lot on that: Nick feels like he has to go through this awkward plotting thing because he can't bear the way he'll look in the media if he just divorces her already. The stakes are so high at that point, with the whole "sleeping with a murdering lunatic" thing, that I couldn't buy it; Flynn was overdoing her point there.

Alex Another thing: I got really uncomfortable for a minute, like 2/3 of the way in, when it turned out that Amy had faked a rape. Because yeesh, deep water here. I found this quote from Flynn on her website:

"I’ve grown quite weary of the spunky heroines, brave rape victims, soul-searching fashionistas that stock so many books. I particularly mourn the lack of female villains — good, potent female villains...I’m talking violent, wicked women. Scary women. Don’t tell me you don’t know some. The point is, women have spent so many years girl-powering ourselves — to the point of almost parodic encouragement — we’ve left no room to acknowledge our dark side. Dark sides are important. They should be nurtured like nasty black orchids."

I thought that was an interesting thing to say, and I kinda bought it. Did y'all get squicked out by that part too? Or am I just being a typical Massachusetts pansy?

Kelley Great quote, and I agree there is a lack of great female villains in lit. I would imagine the rape-framing would be a guy's worst nightmare. In that way, it was the perfect thing for a female villain to do.

Meghan Sorry to be late to the party. I have to say, there are a lot of things I really liked about this book. Mostly, the diary and how she totally sucked me in then did the "gotcha". Great twist. The writing was well done and very compelling.

But this wasn't Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction. To me, Amy wasn't deliciously wicked in a fun "scare my pants off" kind of way. Maybe there was a bit too much "realness" in her psychopathic ways. I found her disturbing and in desperate need of help and so the ending really fell flat for me.

Meghan I kind of thought all your comments about marriage really applied to the first 1/3-1/2 of the book. But then the story just went somewhere completely different and I just can't apply it to the end.

The only thing I could really take away was neither of them were who I thought they were 2/3s of the book. So first impressions and sometimes second and third aren't always accurate. It does take time to learn about a person.

Also, if someone has a bunch of stalkers in their past, you best just say no and walk run away.

Meghan Alex wrote: "I was just reminded of an episode from my marriage:

Early on, my ex said, "You know what? I hate when girls complain about guys not leaving the seat down. I don't care! Go ahead and leave it up!"..."

That is the perfect example of cool girl.

The best thing about being divorced is that now I know exactly what I'm NOT willing to put up with. I think had I not gotten divorced I would have miserably tolerated it because that was "a part of marriage". But now I have my non-negotiables. And it's very liberating...for me at least.

Alex Meghan wrote: "I kind of thought all your comments about marriage really applied to the first 1/3-1/2 of the book."

Agreed. As both characters get more and more outsized, the comparisons to real relationships started to seem less useful.

The best thing about being divorced is that now I know exactly what I'm NOT willing to put up with.
Ha...what a smart thing to say. I'm gonna put some thought into that. I have had some thoughts like that - "Wait a minute, why did I think that was okay?" (I'm sure my ex has had plenty of her own.) I hope that gives me some perspective the next time around.

Katy I'm super-duper late to this! Just enjoyed reading your comments, here. Thanks, Alex, for the book.

The whole time I was reading the book, I was wondering how people said they didn't like it. Then, I got to the ending. I was disappointed that things didn't happen the way I'd wanted. But, I loved the book overall.

Sociopaths fascinate me.

I thought Cool Girl was brilliant. I recognized her.

Katy My phone is not suitable for composing these sorts of things. Sorry!

Katy OK... yeah, Cool Girl... I loved that part. I loved the whole exploration of how we try to be someone else for other people. And, what is great about Amy is that as a sociopath, she can be completely cynical about the whole thing. She was completely conscious of what she was doing. Diary Amy, of course, was delusional, with her disdain for the Dancing Monkeys. Awesome Amy really believes that monkeys are meant to dance to her tune. I thought that that bit was just brilliant.

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