So unless you live under a rock, you probably heard all about last summer’s IT book, Gone Girl: a psychological thriller/mystery/on the edge of your seat novel that became a sensation and THE must read of the summer. Reese Witherspoon purchased the movie rights, and filming is now underway with Ben Affleck and Rosamunde Pike cast as Nick and Amy Dunne, with a scheduled release date of October 3, 2014.
Gone Girl will be anything but gone. It will be everywhere! There will be a resurgence of the book’s popularity and the movie publicity will be feverish.And guess what? I didn’t like it. I’ll admit it, I just didn’t get what all the fuss was about. And you know how it feels when people are RAVING about something saying it is mind-blowing and mesmerizing and who could possibly not love the twists and turns? Um, me, party of one. Over here. I didn’t like it. And I’m not just talking about the ending either. Don’t panic: no spoiler alert needed. I’m not going to dish on the conclusion. And I will give props to the author, Gillian Flynn: it was well-written, well thought out, and her skill as a writer is evident.
So what gives? If this is the IT book, just don’t get IT. Why didn’t I like it, exactly? Maybe because Gone Girl doesn’t give you someone to cheer for. I need a protagonist, and I hated the characters. Let’s just say readers are left wondering who they can empathize with. Maybe it’s my too serious side. Or the fact that I have little tolerance for dishonesty, which is one of the driving forces of the novel. But I think what bothers me more is this cultural depiction of marriage. For instance, Flynn said she wanted to examine how people within a marriage lie to each other: “Marriage is sort of like a long con, because you put on display your very best self during courtship, yet at the same time the person you marry is supposed to love you warts and all. But your spouse never sees those warts really until you get deeper into the marriage and let yourself unwind a bit.” My problem is with her statement is that this is being trotted out as UNIVERSAL TRUTH. I want to shout: “NO. That is NOT what most everyday, non-Hollywood people think about marriage-a ‘long con’–are you kidding me?” She is saying that it is horrible if your spouse doesn’t SEE you and can’t accept your warts because you never were able to show them. I am saying it is YOUR fault if you hid your warts and all and can’t be REAL with the one person you say “I do…forever” to.
I’m not naive–people do deceive while dating and marriage. The REAL problem is that people don’t know and love themselves before they bring another person into the equation. Yes, we are all flawed, damaged goods to be sure. And yes, I get it-it’s FICTION, escapism, a “beach read.” But why do we clamor for the sordid, juicy, cray-cray stories and not the ones that talk about the people who every day strive to put their partners first in their marriages? I know, because books about THAT don’t sell. But then what does that statement SAY about our society, about US ?!?
OK, sorry I was up on my soapbox for a while. Climbing down now. So, if you liked Gone Girl, what did IT for you? Do I have anyone else in this Book Club who agrees with me? Let’s discuss…post a comment and we’ll see where this goes….or if it’s so not a topic that it’s like the title says: Gone.