That was intense.
It took me less than three days to finish this book because I could not. put. it. down. I haven’t seen the movie version, but I did know the spoilers. That didn’t make it any less of a thriller to read; if anything, it made the story more riveting – knowing exactly what was going to go down and savoring the whole, intricately deranged spectacle.
I’m going to warn you right now, there will be **SPOILERS** after the title/author/page count break.
Title – Gone Girl
Author – Gillian Flynn
Page count – 415
**Another warning for spoilers. Like I said, it didn’t make the experience any less thrilling for me, but if that’s something that would bother you, STOP READING NOW**
Another warning, this is definitely an R-rated book. Swearing, violence, sexuality, the works. That’s not something I believe makes a book “bad” but, again, if that’s something that bothers you, know that the content would definitely be classified as “adult.” The violence isn’t terribly graphic, but still. Lots of f-bombs.
A summary: Amy and Nick are the stars of our show, and the book alternates between their narrations of the story. Their marriage began as a happy one but has slowly gotten more tiring, frustrating, grating as the years press on. When Amy suddenly disappears under suspicious circumstances, her husband is the prime suspect. The evidence dominos fall one by one until no one doubts that Nick did the deed, and Nick’s evasive lies don’t exactly help his case. What we find out is that Amy is actually the mastermind behind the whole affair, framing Nick for her murder and mindf***ing with him along the way for good measure.
After a bit, I wondered…what does it say about me that I’m feeling empathy for a person who framed her husband for murder and then herself murdered someone? I found an article from not long after the book came out which reassured me that I wasn’t on my way to becoming a murderer. The post talks about the Cool Girl trope discussed in the book and the implications of writing a woman as the villain (this book is ripe for an academic dissection about representation of women in media, especially women who seek power; this usually translates into them being “unlikable” and everyone knows a woman’s worth is based on her likability). What I’m feeling maybe isn’t best described as empathy, but instead is frustration by the lack of permission for women to feel (and ultimately act on) darker emotions and appreciation for Amy’s unwillingness to be walked on like a doormat. Amy is by no means the perfect role model (see the, um, murder mentioned above), but she does demand respect and attention and will not settle for anything less that exactly what she wants, especially if it would mean sacrificing herself in the process.
Here’s Amy’s description of the Cool Girl trope I mentioned above:
“That night at the Brooklyn party, I was playing the girl who was in style, the girl a man like Nick wants: the Cool Girl. Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth…while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot…Men actually think this girl exists. Maybe they’re fooled because so many women are willing to be this girl…Every girl was supposed to be this girl, and if you weren’t, then there was something wrong with you.” (p. 222-223)