Now that anyone can have a blog and a public identity and share their message with the world, what would yours be? I gravitate towards people who send a message of love and compassion. Gillian Flynn, in Gone Girl, does just the opposite. Gone Girl is filled with foul language, hatred, fear, shallow characters, and derogatory material towards both women and men. While all of these elements can be used to great effect in literature, skilled writers generally use them as a counterpoint to some other message, or to accurately portray a character or time period. In the case of Gone Girl, these elements are the message. There are no likable characters in this book. There is no redemption.
Gone Girl is the story of Amy and Nick Dunne. When Amy disappears on their fifth wedding anniversary, all evidence points to Nick as the murderer. Through multiple plot twists and shifts in narrative point of view Flynn keeps the reader guessing what happened. As tempted as I was to give up on this book, I was also intrigued by Flynn’s manipulation of the plot. I was curious to see if the book (and characters) could redeem themselves in the end. I needn’t have bothered, and neither should you. The ending was worse than all the rest of the book put together.
If you are still on the fence about reading Gone Girl, then know that Ms. Flynn spent much of her writing career as a journalist for Entertainment Weekly. This may explain why the characters act like spoiled rich people who are completely out of touch with what it is that makes us human. Don’t waste your time on Gone Girl – there are thousands of excellent books out there that will teach you something about the real world, books that will test the limits of your compassion and stretch your brain with new ideas.
Now that I’ve broken all six of John Updike’s Rules for Reviewing Books, I’m stepping off my soap box. It won’t happen again. Carry on.