Book Club Reflection: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

23 Feb

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve probably heard of Gone Girl. I read the book a few months ago and saw the movie soon after. In my opinion, this is a great story. My book club read it just before Valentine’s Day (you know, because it’s so romantic). It renewed my faith that this book is great but I hate the characters more than I can easily express in words. It seems that most others felt the same way.

WARNING: THE REST OF THIS POST CONTAINS MASSIVE SPOILERS FOR THE BOOK AND MOVIE. PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK.

We all liked the suspense and red herrings in the book. Especially at the beginning of Part II when you find out Amy is still alive! (What?!) The alternating points of view kept the book moving forward at a good pace. If you were more enamored with Nick, you knew he had a chapter coming up and if you wanted to see what Amy was up to, there was just a bit in the way before you came to that.

A few members had read the book twice by the time we met. They said that going through it a second time helped them find clues about later events that had been woven in and hidden really well by Flynn. I remember at the beginning when Nick was talking about how many times he had lied already that day. Knowing the truth, you could count them.

We debated whether the book was misogynistic or feminist and our group was split. Some of us didn’t like that the female characters were so unlikable and how often they were referred to in a derogatory way. At the same time, Amy is such a smart and in-control person, that it almost seems feminist. There’s really no right answer, in my opinion, and it’s a good mix of both.

When we first meet Amy, it’s easy to feel sorry for her. Even in the end of Part I we start to see how manipulative she is and how much she’s controlled what goes on around her. In Part II is goes crazy. We liked to see her at a loss when she was at the Ozarks retreat. She thought she was so smart and that Greta and Jeff don’t know how to outsmart her and her advanced degrees, but she never learned her street smarts in her ivory tower in NYC. As the reader, I did enjoy that a bit.

We were all shocked at Desi’s murder. Not only did Amy not feel a shred of guilt, but she didn’t suffer a consequence from killing him at all. Yes, it was self-defense, but everyone seemed to shrug off Jacqueline very quickly, faster than I thought necessary.

Moving away from home can be hard but Amy’s anger and struggle with moving to Carthage was extreme. Someone suggested that she started being angry and the first inkling of planning her scheme when they moved there. Someone had friends from NYC and said that those who move away see it as a defeat; NYC is the center of the world, why would you want to be anywhere else?

Between the two, we thought Amy was probably the better writer. They both had a talent, to be sure, but her craftiness and ability to write treasure hunts and elaborate plans made it obvious to us that she was a creative mastermind.

Her relationship with Nick was a game. She talked about being the ‘cool girl’ and how Nick loved that. Every girl plays the ‘cool girl’ at the beginning of a relationship. But there’s a point where that ends and you have to be real with your partner. Amy never did this. Nick had no idea she was capable of murder. If he did, he probably wouldn’t be able to live with her.

Nick made us angry. He lied about everything and wanted to be liked more than he wanted to be good. He only cared about being liked by the people around him at any given time but didn’t care so much about being who he was or true to what he believed. He wanted to project a good person even if he wasn’t one underneath. He seemed lost in himself. In that sense, he and Amy deserved each other.

His relationship with Margo was non-traditional, but a lot of our members said that it was common of what they’ve seen in twins. They have a unique connection and ability to communicate where they’re very close and honest with each other. I thought the ‘twincest’ thing was a bit far in the book and was the part of the media hype I hated the most.

With Amy and Nick as narrators, could we really trust anything that was said? Both were so selfish that they would skew the story in their favor to win over the reader. I think most things in the book have to be taken with a grain of salt with these two as narrators.

Most of us were disappointed in the ending. It reminded me of Rainbow Rowell books, which seem to end too suddenly. But really, that’s what life is like; it doesn’t end in a cute little package that we can put a bow around and smile. It had to end unhappily because Nick and Amy weren’t a happy couple. Relationships aren’t perfect and you sometimes have to settle with a flaw in your partner. Granted, it’s not usually murderer, but to each his own. It seemed that they had figured out the other’s flaws in the end.

We were scared that they were having a child. We thought about what that kid would grow up to be. At best, another Amazing Amy. At worst, he could be a school shooter. There would be some kind of psychological problems in the kid no matter what. There’s no good role model for him to look after.

Our next book will be Zeitoun by Dave Eggers. I’m about a third of the way done with it now and I’m excited to talk about it!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

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2 Responses to “Book Club Reflection: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn”

  1. Cynthia February 25, 2015 at 11:25 AM #

    I LOVED this book. And really, I don’t find it misognyistic that the female characters were unlikeable. Like you said, Amy was a very take charge and smart person. But women aren’t always likable. Some women are just evil. I am glad you enjoyed the book.

    Like

    • Sam February 25, 2015 at 11:29 AM #

      I’m trying to get my husband to read it right now because I like having a female villain some times. Girls can have a bad side, too!

      Like

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