Paperback RRP £7.99
Many of the negative Goodreads reviews for Gone Girl exemplify the classic traits of the casual book reviewer: “I didn’t like it because the characters were meeean.”
That’s kind of the point. Twisted, obsessive characters appear to be Gillian Flynn’s forte. Neither Amy nor Nick is the good party, but I still read this book cover to cover in a matter of hours and cared about where the plot was going. Lack of empathy is no excuse for disliking this book.
I disliked it because, by the end, it was soap-opera levels of unbelievable.
I’ve given it three stars because I had a lot of fun reading it: the cliffhangers were thrills of the cheapest (best) kind, coming thick and fast; the gripping diary entries; watching Nick throw more and more shit at a very large fan. It was like a really good Nicci French novel.
And part of the problem actually lies there. The midway plot twist has been seen in a French novel (I won’t give it away but it’s one of the most well-known ones). Maybe it’s been in other places, too, but I’m not well-versed in crime novels. I called it before I’d got halfway through the first section (which might be because I REALLY like that particular Nicci French novel, but I’m not sure).
Then the book continued and I thought Oh, right. There’s more to say? OK. OK let’s hear it. And for a little while, Flynn stokes many a fire of hatred for one half of the central couple, and it’s compulsive reading. There are some fantastic lines (paraphrased: “I’m penniless and on the run. How fucking noir.”) Amy’s distaste for just about everyone is portrayed with an uncomfortable level of realism.
And then it just balloons into this great grotesque mockery of a made-for-TV film.
I refuse to believe in the sheer unprofessionalism of the police. I refuse to believe that some of the clues left scattered about would be understood quite so quickly by the person discovering them, given how said person is presented. I refuse to believe that anyone is so insane as to actually exist in the ending situation that the characters just settle into. The characters are sick, but they’re too sick. Flynn tries her best to build it gradually but it still didn’t fly with me.
I enjoyed Gone Girl a ridiculous amount. Unfortunately, that involved reading a large amount of ridiculous. Good try, but not a great one.