I can’t even begin to express what I feel after reading Gone Girl. I’d watched the movie with friends and had been left feeling shocked and uneasy. For some reason, revisiting all that seemed like a good idea at the time I bought the book. Not such a good one now! It is said that most of the times, books are much better than the movies that are based on them. But in this case, I cannot decide which is better.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is a tale that sucks you in like quicksand. When I started reading the book, it sort of hit me like a freight train. Amy was wronged after all, I thought. The story from Amy’s perspective is told as diary entries for most part of the book, and I liked her, sympathized with her, and felt furious on her behalf.
That was until I got through the first half.
The next half spun me around and round and round and threw me on the floor, a rightful berating for having forgotten the story. My God, Flynn can write a thriller like none else! Every flip of the page is apprehensive, because you never know what you are going to find on the next page. You never know what is awaiting the characters. You never know what anyone is going to do.
Gone Girl leaves you feeling disgusted and shocked at how someone can be vengeful, and spiteful while being so selfish that everything else fades into oblivion. Flynn manages to keep you on your toes without breaking a sweat through the narrative. It is dark, it’s scary, without bringing horror into the equation, and succeeds in showing a face of ‘marriage’ that not many show to the world. Couples who want to destroy each other while putting up a show of perfection – Nick and Amy Dunne are one of them.
Gone Girl starts off with Amy being sweet and Nick being the arrogant-looking charmer that he is described as. But as pages and chapters go by, the plaster falls off and the chinks in their personalities are laid bare. What they do for each other, to each other. And as Nick asks Amy in his mental ramblings, “What have we done to each other?”
The storyline, rather intriguing in its own way, is successful in maintaining the suspense throughout. With the vast power of psychological play that Amy holds over Nick, there is absolutely no chink in the armor in the way she’s been portrayed. She’s genuine, in the sense that she does what she thinks is right. And in that sense of genuineness, she finds her yardstick of judgment, meting out horrors to those she believed wronged her.
In the movie, you could see Rosamund Pike execute Amy very well. But the problem with movies when compared with books is that they take away the reader’s creative power. While movie Amy’s intentions could be seen on her face (obviously), book Amy made you wait and work your brains to reveal her true intentions. And book Amy is much more dangerous than the onscreen one. Because you are so jittery at the end of the narrative, you sort of are resigned to the fact that you cannot do anything, while being horrified on all accounts.
Gone Girl, the book, is so well-layered and surprises you ever so often that you just begin to expect the unexpected. It’s brutal sometimes, the writing giving free rein to your imagination while holding the story close. This makes sure that all the characters in the story from Nick to Amy to even Bill Dunne and Rhonda Boney stay with you for a long time after closing the book. It’s a relief to know that it’s just a story and that no sequel has been penned. Yet. At least I hope so. I don’t want to know what happens next. There were far too many shocks in this one.
All in all, Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl is a wonderfully, intricately carved masterpiece of a thriller that sends chills down the spine. I couldn’t shake off the frissons of fear that went through me whenever I saw Rosamund Pike after watching the movie – such was her skill – and now, I’m not sure when I’ll be emerging from the pit of shock and ‘WTF’ that I’ve trapped myself in after reading the book.
Rating: 4/5 stars
P.S. Join me in the pit! I’d definitely recommend it!
Picture Courtesy: amazon.co.uk !