Books, Thoughts

Off the Shelf: Gone Girl

Gone GirlGone Girl by Gillian Flynn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 instead of 4, mainly because I’m reading this after having seen the movie, so the novelty is not as fresh for me. Gone Girl is a clever deconstruction of a marriage and the romantic comedy tropes that relationship stories can fall into. She’s from New York; he’s from the Midwest! They met in the city & had a whirlwind courtship–what happens when life (money problems, family illness, marital boredom) catches up to them?! For this reader, Gone Girl is a harsh breath of cold air after having read so many articles lately about the death of the romantic comedy. (Why, why, why is this a topic?) Flynn makes this genre inversion work by granting Nick and Amy the odd cynical position readers nowadays find themselves in with the prevalence of information and news at our easy access–reflecting the attitude of ‘We’ve seen this, or even if we haven’t, we can’t be surprised by it because clearly we don’t have the excuse of not knowing anything anymore.’ This idea of jaded understanding plays a large role in both Amy & Nick’s outlook but Flynn keeps her story from falling into a ridiculous caricature by giving the couple the desire to find something new for themselves. Even if it means a little murder & manipulation. Though I had seen the movie, I enjoyed reading Amy & Nick’s detailed thoughts on their situation, which can’t be portrayed as well in film, and gave me new insight into their characters. The ragged atmosphere of North Carthage was also better conveyed in print, as both of them describe the slow failure of society around them. I would recommend the book to those who are interested, whether they have or haven’t seen the movie. But I will that say reading the specific ins & outs of how manipulation can bring out the worst in two people can sometimes be as tiresome as reading about the nuances of attraction between new lovers.

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