Title: Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
Originally published: 2012
This is a top shelf book.
My innate need to do exactly opposite of what everyone tells me to do is the very thing that led me far, far away from Gone Girl for the last two years. All the rants and raves and accolades and demands that I read it made me, somehow, believe I really wouldn’t like it once I set my mind to it. However, after both The Silent Wife and Sharp Objects made their way into my past read pile with pleasure I figured I should give it a shot.
While I felt that Sharp Objects was slightly lacking in maturity, planning, and suspense, Gone Girl makes up for it tenfold. It is a clear showcase of a writer’s maturing style over the years, novel to novel, and a progression of ability to be envied. The plot is thick and twisted, but not confusing, and so well thought out you wish you had been in Flynn’s brain when she had been planning it all in the first place. She must have had some mean character sketches done before delving into this one because they are flawless – the perfect mixture of strength and weakness, beauty and ugliness, to offset each other at just the right moments, creating a tug of war storyline, all of them given an inch but refused the mile by one another.
I love a writer, especially a female one, who isn’t afraid to get down and dirty with her words if it is suitable to the story. Flynn throws in all sorts of euphemisms for vagina, intercourse, and various other insults along the way. It is not gratuitous or unnecessary, it is crucial to character development, and used in such a way to improve the story rather than detract from it. She ensures all of her characters have their own, strong voice, one that you would recognize from a mile away, and she uses language (both the aforementioned “bad” and the regular) to give them that.
A book full of characters you never really like, never really believe, and never really want to win is not normally a book that would garner so much critical acclaim. This is part of Gone Girl‘s brilliance: there is very little redeeming about its contents, very little you want to get behind and root for, but my god do you want to make it to the end (and aren’t you just a tiny, little bit saddened when you realize it’s over?). This book pulls you along for a ride you never asked for and never knew you wanted but once you’ve read that last page you’re sitting there, tossed aside on the shoulder, wondering what the hell you just went through.