A review of Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl
I read it in two weeks. It’s what I call the perfect novel length: enough to sustain your interest but not requiring months of commitment. Excited to get started, I read the first fifty pages in one sitting. When I put it down, I looked out my window to the squirrel hanging upside down eating a nut, and I felt the usual pang of disappointment and anger. I felt duped. The writing was weak. It felt childlike, as if written for a teenage audience. But the storyline, well, that was good. Really good. The novel covers the disappearance of beloved wife Amy, and follows her husband, Nick's unravelling in front of the modern world of twenty-four hour news and commentary.
I continued reading because I really liked the two-story narrator format, the mystery driving her disappearance, and the time-lapse sequence of events that jumped back and forth in time. All good tools for a great story. As I continued reading I only wished the writing would have been more mature with a bit more depth. The characters were infinitely interesting but yet lacked credible qualities. I found myself having a hard time relating to either Amy or Nick in the story and genuinely not liking either. I had a hard time believing Nick, some of his dialogue and attitude seemed distractingly female, while I felt Amy was more believable as a character, it was still lagging. Ultimately, I read on hoping to develop a stronger relationship with these two characters, only to reach the end to feel very empty indeed. But maybe this was the point. Neither of the main characters was likeable, but they didn’t even like themselves either.
As a thriller, it was missing some of the suspense and gory details that make thrillers exciting and nerve wrecking. The only times I felt any sense of suspense was with the characters, Greta and Jeff. They seemed more believable than Amy at times and yet they come and go from the novel in just a couple of chapters. I would have liked to follow that storyline a little more. And again, there was more suspense near the end with Desi. There I felt was a character that was darker and more complex than Amy and Nick. I found Desi’s role could actually have been the main character. I could picture it as an episode of Criminal Minds or CSI.
Overall, I can see an interesting movie from Gone Girl and it was a fun read with a good story but I would have liked a little more character development, and for a thriller, a bit more suspense. I look forward to seeing how the movie develops, as I believe Flynn is busy writing the script.
To buy Gone Girl, visit amazon here.