Monday, September 24, 2012

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I very happily managed to stay unspoiled for this book apart from people's BIG reactions to it, but I don't have plans to continue that courtesy to others. :) Just kidding, of course, I will block out all conversation about this book, but you need to click on it to read it. I hope you will!

I went into this book knowing only that it was about...a marriage gone bad? And that people found it gripping and shocking. And while it was a fast fun read, it was the ideas in the book that I found more intriguing and unsettling than anything else. So alas, if you wish to remain unspoiled read no further, if you have read the book and wish to discuss, please read and comment!

Marriage is complicated, and while I'm not married myself, I've certainly heard people say that you don't really know your partner before marriage--that it's only through being married that you get to know them...I don't know how true that holds now when people live together for long periods of time before marriage, but it's like Gillian Flynn decided to have fun with this idea and thus wrote Gone Girl. But it's not just this idea that we can't really know each other, it's also about identity and the many different images we create in order to survive in this world and how hard it is know yourself?

For example, Nick says at one point,

We were the first human beings who would never see anything for the first time. We stare at the wonders of the world, dull-eyed, underwhelmed. Mona Lisa, the Pyramids, the Empire State Building. Jungle animals on attack, ancient icebergs collapsing, volcanoes erupting. I can’t recall a single amazing thing I have seen firsthand that I didn’t immediately reference to a movie or TV show. A fucking commercial. You know the awful singsong of the blasé: Seeeen it. I’ve literally seen it all, and the worst thing, the thing that makes me want to blow my brains out, is: The secondhand experience is always better. The image is crisper, the view is keener, the camera angle and the soundtrack manipulate my emotions in a way reality can’t anymore. I don’t know that we are actually human at this point, those of us who are like most of us, who grew up with TV and movies and now the Internet. If we are betrayed, we know the words to say; when a loved one dies, we know the words to say. If we want to play the stud or the smart-ass or the fool, we know the words to say. We are working from the same dog-eared script.

I found this concept pretty interesting, the way we immediately associate the things that should give us wonder in this world with the existing narratives we know. And not only that but the second hand experience is better...we are constantly taking the raw and the real and trying to make it more beautiful...I mean just think about how models are airbrushed or scandals are spun into a more palatable story. What Flynn does in Gone Girl, is strips these characters down to their most true selves. They are both guilty of spinning stories around themselves and creating identities that they think are more acceptable and in line with what the world wants to see. And yet they are both also just...really hungry to be known. I think that's what I find most fascinating about the book. When Go accuses Nick of using the child as an excuse to stay with Amy, I really think that's what's going on. While on the one hand, Nick hates Amy and what she's done to him, on the other hand, he is fully known by her. She has his number completely and he's not yet ready to lose that. Sure he's still writing his own story and plotting his own escape before that, but therein lies the tension between the real and the image.

Oh and also on this same topic, it was interesting how Nick couldn't remember anything about Amy and that annoyed her, but Desi remembered everything, but just knowing the details about Amy didn't mean that he knew her any better than Nick did. His knowledge was a tool meant to control her and had nothing to do with love. Which brings up interesting questions about what it means to know someone.

Or as Marie put it, it's what happens when "we realize that the perfection we've been promised is pulled away, again and again and again." I think this is a good way of putting it...that we attempt to create a perfect world, but ha that's doesn't and can't exist and so look out.

Anyway, BESIDES THAT. I thought the book was really smartly written, and surprising. I'm curious if you felt like the ending was a letdown? It did seem like it was building towards something and then just completely came to a surprising halt. Also, kind of amazing how Amy could think of absolutely everything with regards to Nick but was completely stupid about her money on the road.

I want to know how you all felt about it? I should have written this right away, I already forgot so many things I wanted to comment on!

Rating: 4.5/5
Things you might want to know: haaaaaa
Source of Book: Bought it
Publisher: Crown (Random House)


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