Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

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Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

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1jfetting
Out 8, 2012, 9:34am

A non-official discussion thread for those of us who want to discuss Gone Girl, the latest by Gillian Flynn. I'm only a couple chapters in, but it doesn't seem quite as dark as Sharp Objects or Dark Places. I'm sure it'll get there, though.

Who has read it (or is currently reading it)? What do you all think?

2labwriter
Out 8, 2012, 10:18am

I just started this last night. As I said on my 75 thread, I don't know this author and can't figure out why, since mystery/thrillers are one of my guilty pleasures. So obviously I haven't read the other two and can't compare this one to them.

I'm reading this on my Kindle, so I'm going to need to mark things as I go along, which I didn't do last night. My first impression of the book is that I know the author is young--I imagine 30-something. I'm fascinated by the Amy character--to me she's so unlikeable, and I'm imagining her as a daughter-in-law--oh woe. The first entry of her diary I found to be very off-putting, because I wasn't sure whether this was being written straight or tongue-in-cheek. Now after a few more entries, I think I've got it. The "Amazing Amy" books and her parents--hilarious.

I love the twin thing with Nick and his sister, Go. I also love it that Flynn hasn't felt the need to explain her name (yet).

I wish I had more time to sit and read today.

3jfetting
Out 8, 2012, 11:21am

Me too! I think Amy's diary entries are off-putting too.

4labwriter
Editado: Out 9, 2012, 8:53am

Last night was less sleep, more reading. so I made some progress on this one. I definitely don't want to insert any spoilers here, Jennifer, until I know how far you've read. So I'll just make some general comments.

We were commenting on names yesterday. This is cute. Flynn creates a neighbor character who has 3-year-old triplets: "the three-year-old IVF triplets--Trinity, Topher, and Talullah. ('I hate them all, just by name,' said Amy, a grave judge of anything trendy. When I mentioned that the name Amy was once trendy, my wife said, 'Nick, you know the story of my name.' I had no idea what she was talking about.)"

Flynn has created a group of characters here who are all fairly unlikeable or who at the very least she encourages her readers to laugh at. It takes a skilled writer to pull that off, since readers generally like at least one character they can root for or relate to in a positive way. However, I think she's doing it, she is pulling it off, though I do find myself wondering at times if I really want to spend so much time with these people.

One thing that's changed for me: where I really didn't like the Amy character in the beginning, I find myself feeling less critical of her as the book moves along. The poor dear really does seem to be trying, although her expectations of marriage are from Mars or something. And her parents--they're a scream--"Mom, Dad, Baby, they were three advanced people with three advanced degrees in psychology--they thought more before nine A.M. than most people thought all month."

That statement reminds me of a book I used to read to my son when he was very small--Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. There was a recurring line throughout the book saying that Mike Mulligan and Maryann (the name of the steam shovel) could do more more in an hour than most others could in a day, or some such. Her parents make me laugh.

Happy reading!

5labwriter
Out 9, 2012, 8:55am

The other thing--are we dealing with two unreliable narrators here? We certainly seem to have two competing views of reality. Yikes. I don't believe either one of them.

6jfetting
Out 9, 2012, 11:17am

Oh, I think that we are definitely dealing with two unreliable narrators.

I was pretty amused by Nick's description of their anniversaries, and Amy's insistence on the treasure hunt w/ all the important memorable moments that Nick has no clue about. It is exactly the sort of crap that women's magazines & fiscal responsibility websites promote, and which never work. I do laugh at them.

I had to work last night, so I didn't get any farther. I'm glad Amy gets less obnoxious as the story unfolds.

7jfetting
Out 10, 2012, 1:56pm

Ok, last night I read up to the Big Reveal (aka the Black Page). Some more thoughts:
1) I laugh at Amy - you are right, her diary (and how reliable is that?) makes her out to be a ridiculous but not necessarily unlikeable character. Especially since I now think that the diary reveals a made-up character. Her parents are funny, but I do think that they are acting in believable ways considering the circumstances (if I had a grown-up child who went missing, I would probably self-medicate with gin for a bit too)
2) Nick is just a jackass. The sentence where he says something like "This is the part where you stop liking me, if you even did before", I was basically like "nope, jerk. Can't stand you one bit". The way he is behaving, and the way he reacted when the lawyer told him he needed to rid himself of certain baggage (have you read that far?) - what is wrong with him?

I do know people in RL like Nick, unfortunately. The whole whiny, constant need of approval, loss of interest when approval isn't always forthcoming, excuses aplenty types. Thank goodness not EVERYONE is like that, but far too many in general.

I loved Flynn's first two books, and I think this one is really absorbing too, and I think she is doing a great job portraying two people who just suck (for want of a better term). They deserve each other, I think.

8labwriter
Editado: Out 10, 2012, 5:19pm

Hi Jennifer!

Jennifer wrote: It is exactly the sort of crap that women's magazines & fiscal responsibility websites promote,

I guess I get the idea of why something as goofy as "treasure hunts" etc. would be promoted by women's rags, but why "fiscal responsibility websites"--and what are those?

>7 jfetting: You seem to be much more disgusted by Nick than I am. I grew up with three brothers, I've been married to the same guy for almost 40 years, and I have one son, which is why I "get" guys a whole lot better/easier than I do females. I am the lowest maintenance and least girlie-girl kind of person you would ever meet. I do not believe I've ever even owned an article of clothing that was pink or purple. What I see in the dynamic between Nick & Amy is Amy wanting (and also feeling like she can) to mould (mold--I've been reading too much 18th-century English lit) Nick into anything she'd like him to be. I don't necessarily see Nick as whiney or looking for approval. I just see him as being a guy--fairly normal, run-of-the-mill guy. He's got issues, but what guy doesn't--haha.

I think I'm farther into this read than you are (reading it on my Kindle--is "the Black Page" literally a black page?). At some point, Nick says something like, he's the best man he's ever been with Amy, which is just a stupid idea, on his part. The person who really brings out the best in him is his sister. When he's around Go, he actually seems like a reasonable, semi-likeable human being.

I would agree with you and say that Amy & Nick deserve each other, except that I don't think anybody deserves a narcissistic psychopath (or is that psychopathic narcissist?) in their lives.

Is anyone else reading this with us?

9jfetting
Out 10, 2012, 5:18pm

"Fiscal responsibility websites" - like MSN money or other personal finance blogs. They do a lot of "10 ways to save money on gifts" stuff and inevitably the whole "do a treasure hunt to places that are meaningful to you two!" thing comes up.

Yes, it is literally a black page. It introduces Part 2, I think, if there is a part 2. The part where it is revealed where Amy is. It is this big scary black page after Nick goes in Go's woodshed.

Nick whiny & looking for approval - I get this almost directly from Go, actually, as well as from Amy (not that I believe Amy anymore). Go says (right after she finds out about Andie) that Nick is always lying to win approval and avoid conflict. He stupidly and repeatedly lies to the cops, the reservations at the fancy restaurant being the one that leaps out most quickly. Also, I do want to point out that my whole "people who are whiny, constant need of approval..." doesn't just describe guys - this is a cross-gender characteristic! I would also argue that he is whiny around Go, too. She keeps pointing out to him that he needs to behave better, and he's just all "God, leave me alone, I'm suffering here".

I think the others have all read it already, and might jump in when they get a chance.

10labwriter
Out 10, 2012, 6:25pm

Jen wrote: Yes, it is literally a black page.

I wish ebooks would do a better job with this sort of thing.

Don't get me wrong, I think Nick is a DA for taking up with one of his students. However, Andie is 23, she's not 12. It's a good life lesson--don't take up with a married man, because he will never leave his wife for you, no matter what he tells you. And Go is appropriately incensed at him. She tells him, in her own way, "Snap out of it. Stop being a stupid jerk." I've certainly said that sort of thing to my brothers. I can call them on the stupid things that they do, but when their wives or SO's do it--watch out.

And of course Nick is stupid for repeatedly lying to the cops--what's your point? (OK, that's guy-speak, and it's meant to get a laugh.)

11jfetting
Out 11, 2012, 9:48am

OK, that's guy-speak, and it's meant to get a laugh. And it did, out loud, here at work.

So I absolutely did not expect the plot twist that came with part two. Now I almost feel a little bit bad for Nick, because I cannot even imagine having to be around a person like Amy. But then his OWN LAWYER comes along, and asks him where he was that morning, and he says "It isn't relevant". NOT RELEVANT?!?! Dumbass.

What do you think of it overall? Worth reading? I'm getting a big kick out of it - it is so funny in places.

12labwriter
Editado: Out 11, 2012, 1:30pm

Oh absolutely, worth reading. I feel the same way, I'm getting a real kick out of it, which seems like a strange thing to say about a psycho-drama.

My favorite character is still Go. I would love to see Go unleashed on Amy. I have a brother who is 13 years younger than I am, and my mother pushed him off onto me a lot when he was little. He's had a really hard life, so even though he's 47 years old, I still feel protective towards him. He hooked up with a 40-something woman a few years back. Before I even knew her name, my brother was telling me, "Guess what, you're going to be an aunt" (it was a first child for both of them). This woman (I"ll call her Amanda) is aggressively manipulative, and my brother is super nice but a lot like Nick in that he's weak and vulnerable to the pathology that I think Amanda exhibits (she reminds me of my mother, but that's a can of worms better not opened). It's been horrible--like watching a train wreck in slow motion. So far Amanda has had someone kill my brother's cat (seriously, the cat mysteriously and conveniently died when she moved in with my brother); she and my brother moved my mother out of my town and to another state without telling me they were going to do it; Amanda recently spent 8 months in prison for 12 DUI's (how does somebody get twelve DUI's?). It seems like the crazy stuff is accelerating, and I'm terrified for my brother, not to mention my small niece. They live several hundred miles away, so it's hard to keep track of what's going on. If I lived in her town I think I would be stalking her--seriously.

I've never come up against anything like this woman in my life, and that's probably why I found Amy to be terrifying but also fascinating. Maybe I should write a book--haha. I also found her pathology to be very believable, making me wonder who in Gillian Flynn's life is like this?

13tloeffler
Out 12, 2012, 9:52pm

Just so you guys don't think you've been abandoned...

Knowing the ending, it's probably better to wait until you get there before the rest of us chime in! And personally? I agree with Becky--"absolutely worth reading!"

14Donna828
Out 12, 2012, 10:52pm

I've been staying mum, too, but I love the conversation you guys are having. Becky, I really liked Go as well. Can't wait until you two get to the end! Makes me wish I was reading the book for the first time.

15labwriter
Out 13, 2012, 7:13am

I'm finished, Jennifer. Me too--I don't want to say any more until you get to the end.

16jfetting
Out 13, 2012, 11:48am

I'm finished too! Yes, absolutely two people who completely deserve each other. That poor, poor baby! Can you imagine having to grow up with those two? No, no, no.

My opinion of Amy changed about 7 times over the course of the book, and in the end I agree that she is completely terrifying but also a really fantastic character for a book. I'm not sure I can think of a character who isn't creepy though (maybe Go?) - even though Amy is obviously a sociopath, when she ended up in Desi's house I was creeped out for her, and wanted her to get out of there because Desi seemed like someone who might murder her for real (had that backwards, didn't I?).

17Donna828
Editado: Out 13, 2012, 7:24pm

I had the same horrified reaction to a baby on the way, Jennifer. I can't even imagine the mind games they will play with that innocent child! Or, knowing Ms. Flynn, the baby will inherit the worst genes from both parents and create hell on earth for them. Not a bad idea for a sequel.

18labwriter
Out 14, 2012, 3:26pm

I left the book still feeling like I would have liked to see Flynn unleash sister Go on Amy. Although I don't think Go would have "won," I do think it might have been an interesting scene. I thought that Flynn made Go a little too quick to judge her brother as acting badly. I think, especially as a twin, she would have stuck up for him all the way. I really liked the twin dynamic, because I think it allowed Flynn to reveal things about Nick in a way that the reader could trust.

I thought the scenes with Amy's parents were good. I actually found myself liking her father when he went with the younger guys to the mall to try to find out what was going on there. Flynn chose a good way to "explain" Amy's psychopathic personality; unfortunately, in real life, there's not always such a pat explanation to point to.

I liked this book, a lot. It was put together in a very interesting way, but I didn't feel like the "book craft" got in the way of the story. I like that she explored the theme of young marriage, even though in this case it was a marriage gone terribly wrong.

I'm looking forward to reading her second book, but I'm going to let some time pass before I do that. Is the first one worth reading?

19jfetting
Out 14, 2012, 5:49pm

It was put together in a very interesting way, but I didn't feel like the "book craft" got in the way of the story.

I really like how you put this, because it was really polished and cleverly done, but without ever making me think "Yes, yes, you're very clever. Now knock it off". It was a very clever way to tell the story. And I think that the story really did tell a very extreme and deranged version of a problem spot in some relationships - when you finally feel comfortable enough to stop acting like your best selves, and realize that you don't actually LIKE the other person's normal self, and/or they don't like yours.

I really enjoyed the book a lot. I've liked both of her previous books, but I don't think the first one is nearly as polished as Gone Girl. I did, however, read Sharp Objects in one 5 hour sitting, so I definitely think it is worth reading. I thought it was a Missouri Readers group read, once upon a time, maybe before you joined the group?

20sjmccreary
Fev 8, 2013, 1:07pm

I'm nearly finished with this book (Amy has just gone fishing with Jeff). I stopped reading this thread at post #15 to avoid spoilers since everyone had announced that they were done. I love all the comments up to that point and don't have a single other thing to add. Go is great. Nick is an ass. Amy is pyscho. I can't wait to find out how it ends.

21sjmccreary
Fev 10, 2013, 10:23pm

I just completed the book. Wow. Didn't see that ending coming. I even had to re-read the last page to be sure that it really was the last page.

22tloeffler
Fev 13, 2013, 8:42pm

Yeah, I don't think you were alone in that...