Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn


I started Gone Girl with no idea what to expect. Sure, I knew it was outrageously popular. But was it a mystery, or a thriller, or a romance, or a coming of age story? I had no idea.


And the characters. Our narrators. I didn’t know what to expect, and I got it wrong. There’s no greater thrill in a book than watching as everything you thought you understood is yanked out from under you.


I was actually saddened by the loss of Journal Amy. I really, really liked Journal Amy. I thought the story of their romance was interesting in its own right, a story of two people who fell in love with the idea of love, with the idea of marriage, and couldn’t cope with the reality. Sure, it’s the same story with Sociopath Amy, but it doesn’t have the same emotional punch on her side.


I also don’t really understand how someone who cannot feel those emotions was supposed to be able to write those emotions. How can she think of those reactions without being able to feel them? How can she see her reaction as rational while writing out the genuinely rational reactions? How can she not see herself as a monster, given that she can write from the perspective of a human? How did she not see the reflection of herself in her analysis of Desi? Maybe it’s that I’m far more capable of empathising with the autism-spectrum-inability-to-understand-others than her completely-understand-but-not-feel thing.


I had the fortune/misfortune to be simultaneously reading Val McDermid’s book on forensics. It was fortunate because reading about all the men whose inappropriate expressions of emotions were the first clue towards the murder made Nick’s smiles all the more creepy. It was unfortunate because it made me very sceptical about Amy’s schemes. The blood spatter of the cut in the house should have indicated self-infliction. They should have been able to see that Desi was drugged (enough to not struggle...that's a lot of sleeping pills) and they should have asked about the hair. What was the supposed reason for the double dye job? They should have even been able to deduce his position. Also, how was Amy disguising her wrists and ankles all that time?


But I loved the story anyway. I loved the way the little puzzle pieces fit together, the amazing number of factors Amy considered in her schemes. It started with Nick having nightmares of being falsely accused. She actually started with that.

(show spoiler)


I loved the characters’ voices.

I loved the way they used repetition. (She said.)

I loved the “Cool Girl” monologue, especially the “strong women” bit.

I loved the Amazing Amy and Able Andy motif.

I loved the diatribe about “clean and bleed.”

I even loved the disturbing, twisted  romance of it all.

If all of us are play-acting, there can be no such thing as a soulmate, because we don't have genuine souls.

It had gotten to the point where it seemed like nothing matters, because I'm not a real person and neither is anyone else.

I would have done anything to feel real again.

But what I loved the most is the way I got caught up in the story, even though I didn’t want to be.



Oh, one other thing.

I listened to this on audio, and it was excellent. The narrators are terrific, and I absolutely recommend it.

I know there’s a movie of this, and I know the male lead is played by Ben Affleck. I’d just love to know how that casting call went. “Hi, we’re looking for a guy with a handsome, douchebag face that is just asking for a punch. We need a smarmy guy with a stiff, plastic grin and a tendency to emote absolutely the wrong thing, whose expressions never seem to match the emotions that his words are trying to express. And we thought you’d be perfect!”