I read Gone Girl because of a novel idea I had, and I was advised to read this book as research. Well. My idea for my own novel has flown out through the window, though not because there is any similarity of any kind whatsoever with the book by Gillian Flynn. That credit goes to my two years of sitting on the idea and pretending that it will turn itself into a novel.
It is quite sobering to think that a story like Gone Girl has caught the fancy of at least two million readers or more. The “female noir” (catch phrase of the day) novel has now been made into a movie, starring Ben Affleck, and other stalwarts of Hollywood.
I don’t know. I really don’t know. Is it a part of me that has never outgrown the “quite contrary” child and adolescent I was? The whole world likes this, so I must take a stance and refuse to. Is it an inability to understand subtleties, a failure to face the real problems that grip modern society? The novel left a bad taste in my mouth. I am pretty sure that was what the author intended. Nevertheless, I did not like the taste.
Gone Girl, purportedly, looks at the modern marriage, and peels off the layers of mirages that enshroud the relationship, making or breaking it depending on “who is next to you in bed”(quote, Gillian Flynn). Mostly break, in today’s world littered with relationships and love gone sour. It is very clever. Gillian Flynn worked harder at being clever, than at story telling. To me, the beautiful marriage with unforeseen undercurrents of melodrama, hysteria and betrayal, the oh so surprising plot twist number one, never quite rang true. By Plot Twist Number Two, I was on the lookout for more. Apparently, plot twists are a signature style of Gillian Flynn, if those who have read her previous books are to be believed. The marriage never seemed pure and blissful, and Amy’s narcissistic portrayal of her own life, did not ever quite ring true. The pure, sweet, romantic ex cut throat career woman from Manhattan never took shape in front of my eyes, and I kept switching back to the previous pages, wondering where the catch was.
I have my share of cynicism in my nature, possibly more than my share, as some will testify. I know that people never really, truly, completely know their spouses, and even less, sometimes, themselves. But does it really need a megalomaniac, psychopathic, narcissistic, manipulative character to bring to light the inner shadows that haunt so many relationships?
Apparently it does. Witness the popularity of the novel, and the speed with which Hollywood jumped on the bandwagon.
I have read a few books that I have been underwhelmed by, or have been negatively affected by at first reading, but have grown to like, admire, or even love as the story has sunk in through the days, weeks and months following. I seriously doubt Gone Girl is one of them. In fact, what I liked best about the book was its cover!