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November Book Club: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Discussion in 'Books' started by Not the Bees!, Nov 1, 2014.

  1. Not the Bees!

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    Alright folks, the book for this month is Gillian Flynn's massive hit Gone Girl. Feel free to discuss comparisons to the movie etc, but make sure to provide spoiler warnings.
     
  2. Juice

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  3. Kampf Trinker

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    There are a lot of audiobooks on youtube as well. Here's Gone Girl -

    After listening to the first few minutes I don't really care for the reading style on this one so I'm probably going to stick with a hard copy, but it's a nice option to have available if you're like me and hate reading books on a computer.
     
    #3 Kampf Trinker, Nov 1, 2014
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  4. The Village Idiot

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    The first thing that struck me about this book is the points of view. In fact, that's how my wife talked me into reading it in the first place, as it wasn't the type of book I'd typically read.

    The bit where he says 'this isn't the first time I've lied to the police' is fucking awesome. It is always taken for granted by the reader that the POV you are reading is telling you the truth, unless otherwise stated. That's what really drew me in.

    The first third of the book is masterful in setting up a bunch of things. I've read one other Gillian Flynn novel, 'Dark Places' and while it was good, she definitely got better with this one. I really enjoy the dual POV format of this book, and the fact that you're not quite sure who is the bad guy.
     
  5. Angel_1756

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    Was anyone satisfied with the ending, by any chance? I actually threw my e-reader across the room and sulked for a day when I saw how it was going to play out.
     
  6. The Village Idiot

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    Not really. I could think of several more satisfying endings, but after much thought, I think she ended it in a way that was consistent with both of those characters. Sometimes being consistent to a character is unsatisfying.

    He could have left before the affair, he could have left during the affair, he could have left when she first got back. I think ultimately he was never going to leave. In that sense, he's a coward, and she knows it. Predators find their victims.
     
  7. Angel_1756

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    I don't know, I just didn't like the way it ended.

    It seemed like a cop-out for him to stay and for them to carry on in this plastic little life they'd built, knowing what each knew about the other person. I guess my desire for some kind of justice wasn't satisfied and I just got angry at both Nick and Amy for still wanting to be with the other person at all. Yes, they were both crazy and needy and well-suited for each other, but having Nick just go back with her knowing what she did because he admired how much work she was willing to do to frame him for her fucking murder? Bah. I just didn't like it at all.
     
  8. audreymonroe

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    I'm not sure whether or not we should be bringing the movie into this, but when I read the book I hated the ending, and I was looking forward to the "new" ending that the movie was rumored to have. I was listening to it as an audiobook, and I thought I somehow fucked up the download and it had cut off mid-chapter or something. I went to a bookstore to look up the ending and when I saw it was the same thing I was so angry and thought it made such little sense. But somehow I left feeling much more satisfied with the ending of the movie, even though it was the same. At first I had felt kind of cheated and was expecting one last final blow, but after having some time to think about it (I read the book a year before I saw the movie) I realized it's actually the most twisted, fucked up possible ending. Now I kind of love it.
     
  9. CharlesJohnson

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    Personally, I adore the ending. Left me with a sick, hopeless feeling for about a week. For a writer to elicit that kind of guttural response is pure talent. I like when a writer surprises you or purposely tries to screw with you. She's allowed to take the reader wherever she wants, and I accept that it can be this way and no other *if* it's done well, executed honestly, without being cheap or stupid. I don't think this required a neat ending. It's a really fucked up story, and the ending totally fit. I might have been pissed off if it ended neatly. The final line, how it is left dangling almost, makes it so much worse because you have to really think about what happens next. I said to myself, more than once, "Yeah, I can see that happening. Reminds me of *old friend*."

    It's all so clever. So elegant. I'm hard pressed to think of anything in recent memory with so many plot twists. Flynn steers you into them pretty well too. Really mastered her craft. It will be surprising how her next one turns out. That bar is set high.

    Also a fun little fact: book has sold approximately 8 million copies. That's more than any Motley Crue album sold, and twice as many books as Tucker Max sold in his entire oeuvre. Really neato when so many people converge on one book.

    My original review from the book thread about a year ago:

     
  10. Kampf Trinker

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    I thought the book was ok. I don't mean ok as in it's the kind of book that held my interest just enough for me to keep going, but ok in the sense that what I loved and hated about it balanced each other out. The first hundred or so pages of the book are immersive brilliant social commentary. Unfortunately, the rest of the book never lives up to the lead in. As the plot gets rolling it became painfully predictable. Flynn foreshadows everything well before it happens, and it made me irritable waiting for the inevitable to happen. The last 50 pages of the book got away from this a bit, but it was consistently my main frustration in reading Gone Girl.

    The back cover tells you this is a thriller/mystery so immediately you assume that Nick isn't the guilty party in Amy's disappearance. Of course, the most obvious answer as to why Amy would do this to herself is that Nick is having an affair. Cliche and predictable. As the book moves through part 1 Amy's early entries feel authentic, but more pages are focused on Nick, and eventually it becomes apparent that Nick's Amy and diary Amy don't match up at all. The idea that it's as simple as they're perceiving things differently becomes ludicrous.

    I knew Andie was going to go to the press. I knew Amy was going to get robbed because she kept worrying about her money. I knew she was going to call Desi because he was obviously going to pop back in. I suspected she was going to kill him after he traps her in the lake house. I knew Nick wasn't going to put Amy behind bars because there wasn't nearly enough pages left for that to properly work. I somehow didn't see Amy using his left over sperm to knock herself up though.

    The ending felt perfect, and got rid of a lot of the negative feelings I had while reading the book. What I loved most about the book was it seemed to break new ground. When women are the 'bad guy' in books and movies they're usually something ridiculous like Eva Greene in 300. I don't remember ever reading, or seeing a character like Amy, which is strange because I think everyone who's read this book thought to themselves, 'Hey I've met her'. The shallowness, the vindictiveness. The giving up of soul for the sake of petty outward appearances. The need to be worshipped and in control, which is a trait generally just attributed to men, but in reality has no gender bias. Maybe Roxie in Chicago? I really can't think of a character that compares to her.

    It's a shame really, because women villains have a lot of potential for fun that goes unexploited since they can be so much more creative and patient. I did a brief google on Flynn after finishing the book and apparently getting outside these stereotypes is a main motivation for her female characters. It was definitely a nice change of pace from vulnerable sugar kittens and brave abused heroines that's typical of most novels.
     
  11. miss_c

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    I also wanted to throw my e-reader across the room at the end. I also sulked. But after seeing the movie, I get the ending more.

    The whole relationship is contrived from the beginning. Amy is being a character of Amy. Nick is not an authentic Nick. They are both playing a game, in the relationship. Leaving would mean Nick would finally have to be something "real" rather than this person he has spent the last 5 odd years playing. I believe he obviously felt a responsibility to the kid as well, because anyone raised solely by Amy is bound to be a psycho.

    The movie was also enjoyable. In fact, from the moment I started reading the book, I imagined Ben Affleck playing Nick. I think he pretty much nailed the role.

    I read her other two books only last week. Both were enjoyable (Sharp Objects moreso, if not more predicatable). I look forward to what else she has coming out.
     
  12. LatinGroove

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    I finally got around to reading the book. I wanted to finish it in one sitting, but thankfully we've been slow at work so I got to finish reading it in about two days. With that being said this book was AWESOME.
    As another reader mentioned I loved the dual viewpoint aspect of writing. The first 1/3 of the book I particularly enjoyed because of the twists and turns and you never really figure out who the bad guy is. The last 2/3rds of the book while I still enjoyed because of the writing style, was more than a little predictable. One particular theme I noticed which made me angry was her take on marriage. It made me angry because I see the truth of it in today's society and why I'm personally waiting to get married, I only want to do it once and get it right. She explains it perfectly in this passage:

    Fuck, that's brutal, punch you in the face honesty.

    This passage reminded me of another quote I read in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and why I feel the vast majority of men are a bunch of apathetic pussies these days. Very rarely do people stand up for what they believe in anymore and when they do, their stances flip flop and change like the passing winds.

    One thing which I also found funny because I found myself doing the same thing when my sister died. We were at the hospital when she was still hooked up to the machines waiting for organ donation and I could NOT stop looking at her friend in the yoga pants and low cut shirt. The ridiculousness of the entire situation made my brother and I laugh. It also reminded me of one of one poster here who said he went to a funeral and one of his uncles smuggled in a beer and it was so quiet when all of a sudden you hear the "tsk" of a beer can opening and everyone turning to both of them with the stink eye.
    Then there is this passage which should sound familiar to anyone who has ever been in a toxic and emotionally manipulative relationship. Passages like this is what made the book immensely enjoyable to me. The stupid little things you think of in your head but don't really vocalize is what makes the book so humanizing and easy to enjoy.


    This particular passage resonated with me and why I mostly keep to myself and have a small circle of friends. The fakeness of most people is irritating to say the least:


    After everything is said and done I give the book four out of five stars. The love notes Amy wrote to Nick made her immensely likeable at the beginning of the book (I'm a romantic at heart, why can I say?). Of particular note I found the author used A LOT of parenthesis which I've always thought was a clever way of writing internal dialogue. The predictability of the last 2/3rds of the book including the ending made me hold out on my last star.
     
  13. guernica

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    I absolutely hated the ending, but the movie made it grow on me a bit more. Now I'm kind of glad there wasn't a happy resolution for either character.

    In terms of the writing style, it's the first book I've read where there was an unreliable narrator, so to find out Amy's letters were a lie was a huge shock for me, as I didn't see it coming at all.
     
  14. Crown Royal

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    Done.

    What a brilliant toxic stew this was. The characters are written uber-compassionately and its twists are nasty and don't pander to an audience at all.

    I think what Inlike about this is how it shines a light on unreliable storytellers and how every story has two sides in he said/she said situations. You want to believe who you root for and hate the person they have contempt for...but what if you've been rooting for the villain this whole time?

    This book is claustrophobic, corrosive and all-too-real. I see it making people swear off relationships for life, especially male readers. With that, I cannot recommend it enough.

    Now I get the hype it produced.
     
  15. The Village Idiot

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    Yes, maybe it's just my personality (or witnessing Milli Vanilli win a grammy for Best New Artist) but when I hear a bunch of people screaming how great something is, I get very circumspect.

    But I agree, this book did live up to the hype.
     
  16. TX.

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    I'm a little over halfway through the book....where Amy reveals that she staged her own disappearance. Definitely planning on watching the movie after I finish this. Amy...what a cunt.
     
  17. Kampf Trinker

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    Finally got around to seeing the movie. I liked the book better as a few parts in the movie seemed rushed, and that's pretty much inevitable when you're cramming 560 pages into 2 1/2 hours. I have to say though that Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike were absolutely perfect for their roles. Exactly how I pictured those two characters. I can't decide if seeing Rosamund Pike hump herself with a wine bottle is the most hilarious or most terrible thing I've seen in a movie.