GONE GIRL * Gillian Flynn Book review

gone-girlDo you remember that very cool movie with Ben Affleck? The one that made you doubt your choice of having a relationship with another human being? Well, it was based on a book by Gillian Flynn and, even though the movie was brilliant, the book was better.

Follow the story of a couple – Nick and Amy Dunne – during their fifth wedding anniversary and see how a treasure hunt turns into a murder investigation where the wife is presumed dead and the husband is the main suspect.

Written from both points of view, enter a riveting tale that speaks about love, betrayal, and the best murder framing I have seen in any book / movie. The woman was psychotic but hey, he cheated on her so he deserved it?

When I watched the movie with my dad, I was rooting for Nick, to find his crazy wife and show his innocence. My dad, however, thought that Nick was human scum and she was right to destroy him and I quote – “the poor girl”.  While reading the book, I must say Nick was more of a scum than I thought he would be but Amy, I loved Amy. I felt like I could connect with her. I was Amy for a short while as I saw in her so many things of me.

When I think of my wife, I always think of her head. The shape of it, to begin with. The very first time I saw her, it was the back of the head I saw, and there was something lovely about it, the angles of it. Like a shiny, hard corn kernel or a riverbed fossil. She had what the Victorians would call finely shaped head. You could imagine the skull quite easily.

I’d know her head anywhere.

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Amy is perfect. Amy is a smart girl and Amy is in love. She faced the same problem that women face when looking for a man – how much of yourself do you reveal to a potential partner. How much do you re-invent to make him like you, to make him love you?

“Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl. 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. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl.

Men actually think this girl exists. Maybe they’re fooled because so many women are willing to pretend to be this girl. For a long time Cool Girl offended me. I used to see men – friends, coworkers, strangers – giddy over these awful pretender women, and I’d want to sit these men down and calmly say: You are not dating a woman, you are dating a woman who has watched too many movies written by socially awkward men who’d like to believe that this kind of woman exists and might kiss them. I’d want to grab the poor guy by his lapels or messenger bag and say: The bitch doesn’t really love chili dogs that much – no one loves chili dogs that much! And the Cool Girls are even more pathetic: They’re not even pretending to be the woman they want to be, they’re pretending to be the woman a man wants them to be. Oh, and if you’re not a Cool Girl, I beg you not to believe that your man doesn’t want the Cool Girl. It may be a slightly different version – maybe he’s a vegetarian, so Cool Girl loves seitan and is great with dogs; or maybe he’s a hipster artist, so Cool Girl is a tattooed, bespectacled nerd who loves comics. There are variations to the window dressing, but believe me, he wants Cool Girl, who is basically the girl who likes every fucking thing he likes and doesn’t ever complain. (How do you know you’re not Cool Girl? Because he says things like: “I like strong women.” If he says that to you, he will at some point fuck someone else. Because “I like strong women” is code for “I hate strong women.”)”

In this image released by 20th Century Fox, Rosamund Pike appears in a scene from "Gone Girl." The film, based on the best-selling novel, will release on Oct. 3. (AP Photo/20th Century Fox, Merrick Morton)
In this image released by 20th Century Fox, Rosamund Pike appears in a scene from “Gone Girl.” The film, based on the best-selling novel, will release on Oct. 3. (AP Photo/20th Century Fox, Merrick Morton)

Knowledge is power, and never more so than in an intimate relationship.
What if your spouse knew you so well that they could anticipate your behavior in any circumstance, and thereby manipulate you without your realizing it? When Amy finds out that Nick had been cheating on her with another woman, younger, prettier, she looks at herself and finds out she no longer loves the man she married. She is angry, vengeful and determined to frame him for her murder while she enjoys his torment somewhere warm. She was planning on committing suicide too..

A lot of people lacked that gift: knowing when to fuck off.

Gillian Flynn takes the common marital concerns about money, in-laws, and parenthood, and turns them into toxic waste in the case of Nick and Amy Dunne. Amy is revealed through her diaries, and Nick narrates his experiences as he follows the clues in the anniversary treasure hunt laid out by his wife before she disappeared. Did Nick kill Amy? A lot of people think so, but her body hasn’t been found. Is Amy still alive? What was lurking beneath the surface of their marriage?

DF-01826cc - Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) finds himself the chief suspect behind the shocking disappearance of his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike), on their fifth anniversary.
Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) finds himself the chief suspect behind the shocking disappearance of his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike), on their fifth anniversary.

GONE GIRL is a thriller, but it’s a slow burn. Flynn strings you along. She doles out just enough information to make you think you’ve figured things out before she hits you with another “GOTCHA!” revelation that changes everything. And she saves the biggest gotcha of all for the end, which is shocking in its subtlety. The way it ends puts the final seal on what a truly sick relationship Nick and Amy had.

“My gosh, Nick, why are you so wonderful to me?’

He was supposed to say: You deserve it. I love you.

But he said, ‘Because I feel sorry for you.’

‘Why?’

‘Because every morning you have to wake up and be you.”

The path is twisted, disturbing, and sometimes horrifying. It’s also irresistible.

Sensitive readers should proceed with caution. The book does contain coarse language as well as some violence and sexual content.

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