Thursday, May 23, 2013

BookHungry May Selection: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

It's that time again.  Time when five twitter buds come together to read and review a book chosen by the circle.  This month we read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

Description from Amazon:

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer? 

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

Sounds intriguing?  Right?  Yes, it does.  But in theory while this book made me think, I can't say I liked it.  Was the writing done well?  Yes.  Were the characters developed?  Yes.  So it may be a little difficult for me to adequately explain why I didn't love this story.

Oh, who am I kidding.  No it won't.

The first part of the book carry's us through the story of Amy and Nick.  How they meet and end up moving from New York City to a little town in Missouri.  In Nick's passages we are with him in the present.  In Amy's, we follow her through diary entries.  

I didn't like Nick.  I wanted to like Nick.  What I did like was the reference to The Sure Thing.   I could write paragraphs telling you about that.  Unfortunately, we're not here to discuss one of John Cusack's best flicks (in this humble girl's opinion).  No, we're here to talk about my feelings toward Gone Girl.  Can I just say in reference to The Sure Thing there is a scene where John Cusack's character is explaining why Nick is a really good name for a guy.

"Yeah, Nick. Nick’s a real name. Nick’s your buddy. Nick’s the kind of guy you can trust, the kind of guy you can drink a beer with, the kind of guy who doesn’t mind if you puke in his car, Nick!"

I think this sums of the main character in this book absolute.  Or at least the kind of guy Nick wants to be.  He is very aware of how he appears and works hard to portray certain feelings and emotions, or at least the ones he thinks people want to see.

Contrived and sneaky.

Speaking of feelings.  I had plenty reading this and they varied in intensity.  Times I sympathized with Nick.  Times I felt his pain, real or imagined.  But then we learn what that burner phone he carries is really for and just like that (snap) I was over Nick.  

In the beginning I felt for Amy too.  Sympathy for her life and how she was raised.  The one thing Gillian Flynn did brilliantly was send my loyalties careening back and forth between the two characters. 

For a time.  

Then we hit part two and while the book moved much faster for me here, this is where it also went off the rails.  I felt my dislike bloom and grow for these two needy crackpots.  And crackpots they were.  Both of them.

This is a "thriller" so I don't want to give anything away.  The story was well written, but at the end I just didn't have any emotional investment in either Nick or Amy.  And don't even get me started on the ending.  The last sentence rings true for these two, but I would have preferred something more in keeping with the story.  

Don't take my word for it.  Read it.   Come back and tell me what you think.  Because this story will make you think.  And think and think.  Even now, a week later, I'm still cringing and a little repulsed and extremely glad these two are fictional or at least I hope they are.  

To be fair, I think it takes a talented writer to create characters that you don't or can't like and write a story that is cringe worthy while still leaving you on the edge of your seat.  Don't worry, if you don't want to read it, I heard they're making a movie out of it.

Have you read it?  What did you think?  Tell me.


Linda G. said...

No thanks. I'll take your word for it. ;)

Frankly, there isn't enough time in my day to spend with the characters I really do like. I'd rather not squander it on unlikeable characters.

Karla Nellenbach said...

I think it's interesting that you liked the first part over the rest and for the reasons I preferred the second and third parts over the first. I didn't truly connect with the characters until we actually got to see the "real" Amy. THAT'S when I couldn't put it down. Before that? eh. I could take it or leave it.

abby mumford said...

i totally agree with karla and you. i liked the first part, but it scared me because it seemed too obvious, too perfect, too TV show and then when part two rolled around, it scared me even more when we got to know the characters more in depth.

as i said during our call, i HATED the characters, but i LOVED this book and i'm sticking by that statement.

Patty Blount said...

I kind of liked the way Gillian Flynn f*cked with readers.... You think you got Nick and Amy pegged and then, you hit Part 2 and go WHAT?

Anonymous said...

Like you, my sympathies ping ponged between Nick and Amy in the beginning as well. Neither one of them was very likable yet there was something in each of them I could connect with which is scary, so I'm just going to chalk it up to my background in counseling. I "relate" from a counselor's POV. Yep, that. ;-)