Review: "Gone Girl," by Gillian Flynn
A best seller several years ago I desired to read this novel before the movie came out and made it by a single day. This was an interesting roller coaster of a read, not only because the author wants to take us on a ride, but because of my reaction to it. The prose was standard fare, smooth and serviceable, but nothing to rave about. Flynn has a rather mundane workmanship quality to her prose and some of the characters feel very, very poorly rendered, in the sense that I get no feeling for who they really are (the cops, his high priced lawyer, both her parents). Some characters come through, especially his sister Go. If you're not going to tell us about the characters than show them through their dialogue. The characters mentioned earlier feel like cardboard cutouts.
The story starts off in a standard fashion. We know something is going to go awry here and trying to second-guess the author's intentions is something I've simply given up on (mainly because I'm almost always wrong. I have a tendency to simply take the ride rather than figure out how the bus was made and where the driver got their training and a whole lot of other questions that other readers might ask.)
So, in the beginning the two main characters get fleshed out and we see a loving, great relationship slowly falling apart. Then, eureka! Wife is missing. Husband is crestfallen, sincere, the town is mobilized. I like the ride. Whoops, he's not such a nice guy. He had an affair with a student...hmmm....that's why he's lost his way with his beautiful, sexy adoring wife. Liked it a little less. Now we come to find out that she's a conniving, demented, long-planning lunatic and has escaped additionally wanting to punish him. I liked it. The finger points at him, the bastard, and the country turns against him. O.K. I liked that. Now lost wife has some adventures trying to escape and in a weird turnaround becomes, not only a murderer, but also a returning wife, taking her husband off the hook! Really? I liked it not at all. Not. At. All. Preposterous...of course. Ridiculous...yes. But what made it worse for me is that it simply turned into a cartoon. I see her in the glare of the klieg lights with the reporters surrounding the house, tragically stepping up the sidewalk with the bruises and ligature marks around her wrists and ankles and I want to...laugh.
But the ending redeems it for me. No one wins. She hooks him forever by her deviousness and it settles everything into a noir, hateful, sick relationship that sits there and will fester forever. The gravity of insanity and stupid decisions merges into a nasty little domestic snapshot. Here's a spoiler - Feel real bad for their soon to be coming offspring.