Gone Girl

21480930I picked up Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn completely due to peer pressure. That and I like a good mystery/suspense novel.

My mom got me hooked on mysteries when I was in middle school. By the time I was in seventh grade, I had read all that was available to me by way of Sweet Valley Twins and Sweet Valley High and all the other series that were aimed at my age group. I needed something more challenging.  That was when my mom introduced me to Agatha Christie. It didn’t take me long to read through ALL of Christie’s novels. More than once.

By high school, I needed something else. My cousin introduced me to Mary Higgins Clark and from there I also found John Grisham. I haven’t picked up too many mystery/suspense books since then, although when a good one comes along, I try to get to it.

That being said, I wasn’t going to read Gone Girl because I don’t tend to like books with a lot of hype. But everyone hated the ending and everyone was so mad when they finished, so of course I figured, “well now I have to read it because I will probably like the ending…or at least be able to defend it,” because I am snobby and full of myself that way.

Ok so I started it and I was bored to tears. It took me forever to get through the first third of the book. I didn’t particularly like any of the characters–not enough to care about them or root for them or anything. The story is an old one: wife goes missing; husband is a suspect; reader tries to figure out if he’s guilty before the book tells you. The challenge is to keep it interesting, which it was NOT for the first part of the novel. I liked that every other chapter bounced between first person accounts from the husband and the wife–his present-day thoughts and her past-tense thoughts from her diary, but it wasn’t enough. I quit the book.

I told all this to a friend of mine who then asked, “Well what part are you up to?” When I told her she replied, “Oh stuff is about to BLOW UP. Start reading again!”

She was right. I read another chapter and then BOOM! Plot twists and turns and bombs dropped. Just when you think you know what’s going on? Nope.  So I started binge reading.

Then I got all bored again once I knew what happened to the wife.

By the time I got within a few chapters of the end of the book, I totally knew how it was going to end, but I couldn’t put it down because this book had just enough surprises that even though I thought I knew, I wasn’t sure I knew. Ya know? I ended up being mostly right about the end, but I wasn’t angry like everyone else was.

I didn’t think the ending was “fair”, but it didn’t surprise me.

In fact, I likened Gone Girl to The Great Gatsby in the following ways: it’s sort of a boring basic plot, none of the characters are likable–or trustworthy, for that matter, and the ending pretty much makes you mad because that is NOT how it’s supposed to go.

The difference is that The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite novels of all time particularly because I know so much about Fitzgerald’s process and his writing style/word choice make my literature nerd heart happy. Gone Girl, on the other hand has Ok writing, but it’s not enough to make me want to re-read and love to hate the characters the way I do with Tom, Nick, and Daisy.

I’m not mad that I gave in and read Gone Girl, and despite this review, I would actually recommend that if you haven’t read it, maybe you should. I do want to see the movie too.

Talk to me: have you read it? Have you seen the movie?  Thoughts?

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About Katie

Just a small town girl…wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.

Comments

  1. Funny, I found myself comparing Gone Girl to The Great Gatsby too. Both books are in my top 10.

    Never before has a book screwed me over (for lack of a better term) like Gone Girl. I thought it was smart and savvy and kept me intrigued right up until the last page.

    I saw the movie the day it came out and thought they did a great job. Ben Affleck was perfect as Nick and Rosamund Pike did great too.

  2. This is basically my exact experience with the book.
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  3. I did not read the book but I did see the movie. My mom read the book and loved it. She wanted me to read it but it’s a big-ass book and I’m a slow reader so it would have taken me like a year to read so I watched the movie. I was really curious about the book/movie because of the hype but I didn’t think it lived up to it, tho. The ending did surprise me but endings usually do since I am not once to figure things out, I get too caught up in the story. It was a good movie, I’d watch it again.

  4. This definitely makes me want to read Gone Girl now… I was holding off like you did, and like you said because of the hype surrounding it, but I think I might have to find a copy now! Great post, thanks.
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  5. The biggest problem with seeing the movie after reading the book is that alllllll the plot twists have been revealed to you.

    So instead of being surprised (by ANY of it) you’re watching for clues you might have missed while you were reading.

    And I felt no heat between the two main characters. Which is kind of a problem.

    That said, I loved the book, but I read it before all the hype which made it easier to appreciate.
    If end up on the tail-end of a blockbuster book, I am almost always disappointed when I get around to reading it.
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  6. I held off reading this because of the hype as well but then my father-in-law was raving about the movie and said we HAD to watch it so I read the book before watching the movie.

    I liked that you couldn’t really like any of the characters, especially Nick and Amy. It made them more realistic to me…they both had faults that led to their marriage being in the situation it was in but then Amy just takes it one step too far that made the book almost unbelievable. I’m still undecided if I like the book and I read it 6 months ago.
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  7. I am catching up on your blog after a couple of weeks of missing it!!! I read Gone Girl about a year or so ago…and yes to everything you said. I hate all of the characters, they suck. And I was so bored by the beginning of the book. And when everyone hated the ending, I totally defended it. How else could it end, really? With these insane, awful people…what else could happen?

    I really liked the movie. But I love movies. Now my husband is the major movie critic when it comes to books he’s read. He hates just about every movie based on a book. But he really liked this one. I think it was excellently cast and since so much of the book was internal monologue…you didn’t lose any of the plot. Rosamund Pike was AMAZING in it.
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