Gone Girl is one of our most recent ‘It’ books, a must-read, a page-turner that everyone was talking about. As a result, I could not wait to read it; I wanted to be a part of the action that everyone was raving about. I purposely avoided watching the film at all costs, well-aware of the damaging effects film adaptations can have on reactions to books, constantly having another option when it was suggested that we watch it. And I am so glad that I did! The whole time I was reading (which, admittedly, was only a few days) my boyfriend would attempt to spoil parts for me: “Have you got to the bit where [insert something strange that Amy does] yet?” And yes, I always had, because of the dual-narrative, I was able to learn both sides of the story almost simultaneously.
I must admit, it did take me a while to get hooked on the story. At 70 pages in I was questioning what all the fuss had been about and considered stopping reading. Of course, I didn’t, principally because, as I have mentioned before, I hate leaving books unfinished. I’m still not sure whether that was a good idea or not, considering I devoured the remaining 400 pages of the novel in just a couple of days which, whilst it was enjoyable and tense, did mean I left a lot of things in my actual life undone ( I favoured an extra 45 minutes in bed to read over my usual morning workout, and decided that perhaps the spinach and lined paper I needed from the supermarket could wait another day).
At first, I was frustrated that Amy’s chapters, or sections, were much shorter than Nick’s, and given that the whole plot surrounded her disappearance, I wanted to know as much as I could as fast as I could. I also presumed that I had the story worked out, that it would simply end in Nick being convicted for her murder and that would be about it- SPOILER: That isn’t what happens (although, given that I’m so late to the Gone Girl party, most of you probably knew that before I did).
Once I had realised that I was, in fact, wrong, I could really get into the plot, backing Nick and becoming hugely frustrated with Amy’s parents, the police and talk show host that believe he is to blame. However, at the same time, I was becoming progressively more fascinated and amazed by Amy (well, she does call herself ‘Amazing Amy’) and I found myself admiring her intelligence, wishing that I could ever have the ability to achieve what she does. Taking out credit cards in a partner’s name and cutting and dying hair are obvious moves, but the backdating her diaries and faking your own antifreeze poisoning are on the next level. Although, I must admit that her readiness to harm herself is somewhat unnerving: a box-cutter to the wrists, forging rope marks and faking a rape to the point of physical injury…I’m not sure I have the words. I did also hope that people from Amy’s life pre-marriage that Nick spoke to on the phone had been pre-planned by her, but perhaps that was asking for too much?
I was a little disappointed with the somewhat unrealistic ending, although Flynn did succeed in building up suspense. I was sure that it would result in either Nick killing her anyway, or the police at least obtaining some form of punishment for murdering Desi. I think what was more frustrating was that Amy’s intelligence meant that any lead the police may have got to frame her as culpable would have been short-lived. I also feel frustrated that Nick did seem to give himself up so easily at the end, simply because he knew what she was capable of. I can’t help wondering if the final result was really a feasible outcome, if everyone really would just surrender to someone like Amy in the real world. But I guess that is the point of fiction, it isn’t necessarily supposed to be the ‘real world’.
There is no denying Flynn’s ability to create tension and to prevent her readers from putting her book down, especially in the final 150 pages, and I would be shocked if she were able to top Gone Girl. In fact, I’d probably also be a little scared to read such a text; I’d worry about the author’s capabilities.
In short, I thoroughly enjoyed Gone Girl and am excited to find another book that urges me to read so fast and so intently. I am now intrigued to watch the film, but fear that it will frustrate me and that some of the best (according to myself) parts will be forgotten or changed.