Just Finished Reading: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (FP: 2012)
Nick Dunne (played by Ben Affleck in the 2014 movie) has no idea what is going on. Finding his front door open and his wife missing, he naturally calls the police. But what they discover is even more confusing, for both Nick and the investigating officers. There is sign of a struggle that seems a little too perfect and there is blood in the kitchen that someone has rather clumsily attempted to clean up. But who would have the motive to hurt his beautiful wife Amy (played brilliantly by Rosamund Pike) and why is Nick acting so strangely unconcerned, even light hearted about it all? Did he has something to do with Amy’s disappearance or was it her former lover or creepy wannabe ex-school friend. As the police focus more and more of their attention on Nick and his possible motives for killing his wife Nick must unravel a whole host of clues before the police do so – clues that seem to be all part of an elaborate scheme to trap him in a web of lies and manufactured grievances designed by Amy herself. So has Amy been abducted or has she been killed? Or is she alive somewhere manipulating events from afar to make Nick suffer? But suffer for what and is Nick smart enough to finally out think Amazing Amy?
I saw this on DVD (having missing it at the movies) long before I read the book. It honestly blew me away with its cleverness and its totally surprising brutality – I’m not particularly easily shocked but the film did shock me. The book – somewhat less so. For one thing the movie and the book are very close. Some of the scenes alluded to in the book are brought out graphically in the film but much of it made it straight from the page to the big screen. This could of course make reading the book rather boring – it didn’t. For one thing there’s a great deal more background in the book both from Nick’s and Amy’s point of view. I liked the fact that the book allowed the reader to get inside both character’s heads. Films can only do so much and they have a limited time to play with – editing here is crucial if you want to keep the plot concise and focused. In a book you can cover much more ground and go into much more detail. This is one reason why I like reading a book after watching the film. If I see a film I particularly enjoy I inevitably want to know more – reading the book often gives me that opportunity.
Although the novel didn’t have the same impact as seeing the film I still enjoyed it a great deal Both main characters are very well drawn though neither is really likable to any degree. Amy is actually a very scary person who I doubt any of us would want to be involved with in real life. But what I liked, really liked, about the novel is just how so damned clever it was. It was very well plotted, had excellent pacing and managed to contain many telling criticisms of modern society and modern relationships. This is a highly intelligent book for intelligent readers and if you make the effort to dig below the surface story you’ll derive a lot from it – and not just by trying to work out exactly what’s going on. Highly recommended – but be warned: This book contains disturbing scenes, disturbing ideas and a LOT of swearing. Not for the easily offended!