Julie Christine's Reviews > Gone Girl

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
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bookshelves: mystery-crime-thriller, read-2012

ETA 11/16/14 to say I enjoyed the heck out of the movie. More than I did the book.

I begin with the obligatory "If you haven't read this and you hate spoilers, read no further." Okay? Still with me? Righty-ho.

Take a healthy dollop of the darkly comedic marital disaster film "The War of the Roses", sprinkle in some mind-bending scenes from "Momento," add a dash of Stephen King everyman folksy-creepiness and drizzle it all with the blood of an Ann Rule true crime sociopath and you get the spicy stew of Gone Girl.

I enjoyed this entertaining thriller and Flynn's crisp and sparkling writing, but its principal characters - the primed-for-prime time Amy and her witless spouse Nick- and their sham marriage are too cartoonish to sustain deep themes. Although there are elements of social satire, I'm taking it at face value as a literary thriller. The author invests her energy in confounding the reader with plot twists, just skimming the surface of the superficiality of attraction and the fleeting nature of success.

I never try to get to the bottom of a whodunit when I read thrillers - I'm not that clever. I just enjoy going along for the ride. But even I figured out that Amy is a whack job - and still very present among us - as her diary burbles along, long before she surfaces at a roadside motel in the Ozarks. That doesn't diminish the fun, but Flynn demands considerable suspension of disbelief, which does diminish the element of surprise. It also makes the back cover author blurbs a bit hard to stomach.

Yet, Flynn's writing is just so dang good - her pacing is perfect, the dialogue is one hundred percent natural, the details of setting and character are precise and pulsing with life. There is an array of terrific secondary characters: Nick's sister, Go, his mistress Andie, Amy's insufferable parents, Detective Rhonda Boney - even the bit parts played by Shawna Kelly, Stucks Buckley, Nick's Alzheimer's-affected father, and many more. Each is fully-developed and believable. Which throws the Nick and Amy Show into sharper relief as pretty silly.

I say, "Read this" because the writing is superb. Enjoy the crazy ride. But don't scratch below the surface for themes of the tangled, unfathomable web of marriage, or dysfunctional families or the tabloid press or insights into the brain of a sociopath. It's all just too preposterous to take that seriously.

Several years ago I read Flynn's debut Sharp Objects. My review consists of one sentence: "A wretched, ugly train wreck of a book." Based on my experience with Sharp Objects, I was prepared to give Gone Girl a wide berth. I'm glad Flynn has lightened up - the fun she had in writing this current release is evident. I hope she remains in the light, not mired in self-serious gruesomeness.

But I gotta say, I think the ending is just perfect. Not the whole "held captive in the lakehouse by creepy admirer with an Oedipal complex" part. I mean the very last page. The final three paragraphs. These, at last, make the hairs on the back of my neck come to attention. What fun!

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Reading Progress

September 20, 2012 – Started Reading
September 20, 2012 – Shelved
September 22, 2012 –
page 100
25.06% "Not sure how I'm going to feel about this one. Intrigued and irritated. Think I'll try to plow through it today.."
September 22, 2012 –
page 242
60.65% "Coming up for air to make some lunch. Determined to finish this today so I can move on to something that doesn't make me feel like I ate a whole bag of Cheetos."
September 22, 2012 – Shelved as: read-2012
September 22, 2012 – Shelved as: mystery-crime-thriller
September 22, 2012 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-9 of 9 (9 new)

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Lisa Smith Ooooh. Looking forward to your review!

Erika Nerdypants Can't wait to hear your thoughts Julie!

Julie Christine Right, well. Done with that. Great entertainment, tons of stellar writing, but completely ridiculous. Like a James Bond movie- the good ones, with Sean Connery or Daniel Craig. That's my impression as I close the book. I'll let things simmer a bit before reviewing.

Katherine You've expressed what I think of this book better than I could have! Fun--right down to those last paragraphs--but so silly! I was on the fence about reading more of her work, but now I'll move on.

Julie Christine Katherine wrote: "You've expressed what I think of this book better than I could have! Fun--right down to those last paragraphs--but so silly! I was on the fence about reading more of her work, but now I'll move on."

Thank you, Katherine! Sharp Objects was very painful - pun slightly intended - I'd proceed with caution or take an abrupt detour. Good reading vibes to you!

Marty Selnick Great summing up, Julie. Just finished reading. Not ready to review it yet, but I do think you've done a fine job of expressing my own feelings about this book. "It was great fun, but it was just one of those things..."

Julie Christine Thank you, Marty. I love to be entertained, amused, and surprised, but the more I thought about this book the more annoyed I became with the expected suspension of disbelief combined with mean spiritedness. Fun but forgettable, I guess!

message 8: by Robyn (last edited Apr 15, 2013 04:50PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Robyn Markow I really got into this book;& no,I thought the two main characters were quite realistic;I've known people similar to Amy(unfortunately) not the Murdering Sociopath types(Thank Gawd)but people who better have their way or else they'll make life pretty miserable for you types. The kind who seem to attract the outwardly genial, yet emotionally repressed types like Nick. That being said, although I liked this book a lot, I felt the ending was bit unsatisfying as I really wanted Amy to get her comeuppance. However,I felt the author might write a sequel or believes revenge is a dish best served cold. Overall though,this book was creepy good fun.

karan Oh my gosh! THANK YOU! At last someone loved the ending as much as I did. I thought it was just perfect.

Just perfect.

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