Sunday, 23 November 2014

Gone Girl Review

Author: Gillian Flynn
Genre: Thriller
Originally Published in: 2012
Pages: 463

Surprise, surprise! Guess who read Gone Girl and loved it. You might be tired of hearing how good that book is, but truth is stuff like that should not remain a secret. So, here I am joining the massive fan base that Gone Girl is enjoying today…

Important Note One: Usually, I am one of those snobs who prefer to read the book before they watch the movie. You know the ones: we prefer to be a step in front of everyone else so we can point and laugh at them. So that when we walk into the cinema, we know what we are getting ourselves into. And, of course, we are, thus, able to criticize the film adaptation on a whole more knowledgeable level – you know, we have read the book, and this entitles us of a certain opinion. However, in this case I watched the film first. That is due to the fact that I didn’t even intend to read the book – truth is, the moment I first watched the trailer, I was immediately hooked and could barely wait till the release date. Add to that David Fincher, Rosamund Pike, and a better-than-usually Ben Affleck, and my excitement was getting out of hand. Once I saw the movie…a different story.

Important Note Two: You read a book you love from start to finish. You:
       a)      Immediately write a review on it for your blog
       b)      Take a few days to carefully write a very honest and informative review, full of quotes and witty remarks
       c)      Rave about it for ages, keep postponing reviewing it, finally doing it in a month.
Answer: C, definitely C.

First things first, reviewing books like Gone Girl is a bit tricky since it is pretty easy to spoil them. That is, when there is a twist after twist, you can’t just go and talk about it with people who haven’t yet read it, because you will ruin the whole experience for them. So, I will keep this short.

It is the morning of the fifth anniversary of Nick and Amy Dunne’s wedding, when Amy suddenly disappears. The police’s prime suspect is Nick as everything points to the fact that his wife was growing scared of him. Although he denies it, his charming smile when posing next to the poster of his beautiful, missing wife, is not helping him. So, what really happened? Where is Amy?

The story is gripping – there is a reason I keep seeing people on the underground reading it. Once you start it, you just cannot put it down. What makes it so addictive is not just the mystery element to it, but the characters themselves – they feel real and utterly believable. What Gillian Flynn does in this book is a very honest portrayal of marriage and human nature. It is easy to put yourself on the place of these characters and ask yourself how you would act in such a messed up situation. Would you even put yourself in such a situation? Nick and Amy eventually fall in the traps of daily life – they turn into clichés, into stereotypes – but is that all they are? Sometimes turning into a cliché is what scares us the most and drives us into doing things we wouldn’t believe we would normally do.

“I was the embodiment of every writer's worst fear: a cliché.”

At the end of the book, I find myself understanding all of the characters involved – especially Nick and Amy. You get the feeling that everything comes into place, and even if you didn’t expect such an end – it somehow feels like the only real ending to their story.

Apart from the brilliant psychological side to the book and the very serious matters it reflects on, the story, as a whole, is entertaining. I found myself laugh on more than a few occasions – especially at Amy’s witty remarks. The book definitely did not make me cry, but it made me laugh. A lot. And it made me think about characters. Take the idea of the Cool Girl, for instance. I would not say this is just a description created purely for fictional reasons – the idea of a Cool Girl very much exists in our society. Here are just a few lines from her descriptions and tell me she does not sound familiar: “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 like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding.”

Another major issue in the book, is the media. In Gone Girl, the outcome of Amy’s disappearance hugely relies on the way the media portrays her, her husband, her parents, her friends and neighbourhood. During the course of the book, you can see both people and police falling in and out of love with Nick, hating him, then admiring him – all depending on the way he is represented in the news. Now, this is what makes the story even more believable and causes you to think about the media age we live in today. For is that not the way we shape our opinions nowadays? Especially when it comes to huge criminal cases: what you see on the news, is what you usually end up thinking.

I recommend Gone Girl to anyone who loves a good thriller, or just a good modern book in general. If you need a break from reading the classics – read Gone Girl. If you need a break from your marriage – read Gone Girl. I am not saying that everyone will love it. What I am saying is this: the book works on many levels and gives a very poignant portrayal of society today, of men and women, and their roles in it. I am pretty sure you will find something for yourself. I do not promise you will like that something.

Did you see my top 5 quotes from Gone Girl? Also, if you have read the book, let me know what you think of it and let's get this discussion going...

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