I remember looking at the picture of the slender Gillian Flynn beside the description of Gone Girl on Kwench and wondering, ‘Wow, how pretty she is!’ To believe something such sinister could be plotted and made into a book by someone so beautiful seemed unlikely, but having seen the movie, I knew what to expect. The sheer wickedness of this book stuns you and makes you wonder if this could really be true, and how insane it would be if it were true. I understand people go through nightmares in their married life – often in the form of abuse – but for someone to be so sinister-ish sends chills across the spine.
I wonder if Flynn is the modern feminist who likes to take a dig at men by making Amy, a girl with a name as cute as Amy, the ultimate anti-hero – someone who’ll make you sick to the stomach, so sick that you dare not be unkind to her. Dare not abuse her.
Amy is brilliant, and she seeks validation in everything. I somewhat relate to her, because I have a similar streak – I seek validation and it is something I am working on. So when she wants revenge, I understand her motive. When she wants to punish, I feel her anger. You cannot, like Nick, but be amazed by the sheer brilliance of Amy’s mind. What are you thinking? What have we done to each other?
Flynn, on so many levels, brings out a clear picture of compromised married life. Boy meets girl, or vice versa – things seem great for a year or two and then begins the same old drama of being pissed out, being angry at all times at each other’s annoying habits, tired of the smooth sameness that everyday life brings. I wonder, as I think of a married life ahead, if it is possible to be happy all through life, to promise yourself and someone else that you will not be like the average couple who start picking on each other after a couple of years. When you are young and in love, marriage seems a blissful thing – a new beginning. To have your own home and one person who is really, truly yours. But can you really be content with the same person all through your life? What if some weird habit of his irks you to your toenail and he does not give up on that habit, even after being repeatedly told by you to? Then I think of my parents and the close to quarter century of married life that they have lived together and remember the fights they had while I lived with them, on the simplest of issues -my father not being able to bargain well at the grocer’s, my mother being constantly worried about her aged parents, which pissed my father off at times. And I think, it’s all good. At the end of the day, when your family is gone, your father and mother are dead and siblings, if you had any, are settled somewhere else, you think it is okay to compromise a little and live a okayish married life. Your parents have done that. Your grandparents have done that. And I don’t want broken homes for my kids either.
So, I will never be as sinister as Amy. But as much as you hate her, you cannot but appreciate the nastiness of her scheme and praise her for not giving up. In the end, like Nick, you feel sorry for her, because you wonder how hard it must be to wake up every morning and be Amy.
I enjoyed the biased, parallel two-character narrative that Flynn followed. When the first part gets a little monotonous, Flynn strikes back hard with a completely changed Amy POV, which will shock any first time reader. And I liked it better because unlike in most books, the girl is the real villain. Once in a while, I think it feels good to see others do things that you will be never be able to do. Just to know that there are other possibilities to deal with a situation, as in an Amy way, as opposed to your way. In their own gruesome, scary way, Nick and Amy make a perfect couple.
I also love that Gone Girl is so much more that simply adultery. I like how Flynn captures the effect of joblessness and childlessness on marriage.
Ms. Flynn, respect!