It was sometime before the turn of the new year, when I finished reading Gone Girl; for reason’s unknown I am just getting around to writing about the experience now, several months after the fact. I had intended to pen my thoughts immediately afterwards, as it would be then that I figured the details of this intricate, spine-chilling tale would be fresh in my memory; but I needn’t have worried, because it will be quite some time before the remnants of this beautifully written masterpiece leave me.
Let me just say from the off that this isn’t going to be one of those, “Oh, the book is so much better than the movie” pieces. It’s worth noting, if you are indeed guilty of such self-satisfying pretentiousness (you know who you are), that nobody likes to have their experiences belittled with such infuriating statements as, “Ah, the movie doesn’t do the book justice”. Don’t be that person. It’s like turning to someone after they’ve just ordered the pepperoni, and saying “Oh, you know, you really have to visit Italy if you want to taste real pizza”.
No, you don’t. Shut the fuck up.
As it happens, the movie is sickeningly good; David Fincher (Fight Club, Se7en) is no chump behind the camera. I’ve always maintained that the mark of a good psychological thriller, relates to the number of sleepless nights endured thereafter; I didn’t sleep a wink for three solid days.
The book though, was an altogether different animal.
It leads with the tagline, “There are two sides to every story”, and it really does afford the reader the opportunity to explore both sides, allowing you to draw your own conclusions. This can be quite a terrifying expedition, as you may find yourself siding with Amy on occasion; there were times where I actually caught myself nodding my head in agreement. I would then have to read back over the words for clarification, realising that I was beginning to side with a crazy person.
Be warned, that if you do take the time to read the book, you may come to find that the psycho bitch actually makes a lot of fucking sense.
Additionally, there exists quite an accurate representation of the absurdity of monogamous relationships expertly weaved throughout the narrative; the ridiculous pantomime that we go through when we start upon the merry dance. The blissful and exciting beginning, where we tend to take the form of a sort of mirror reflecting outwards versions of ourselves that we think the other person would like to see. In doing so, we hide certain things, until such a time as we feel comfortable enough to reveal them; adequately satisfied to a point where we feel that the other person loves us just enough, so as not to make any harsh decisions when- inevitably- the breaking of wind becomes more frequent, the spontaneous oral escapades less so, and God forbid, we start to show our vulnerable side from time to time.
It’s a very difficult era in which to be a person, just a real, actual person, instead of a collection of personality traits selected from an endless Automat of characters. And if all of us are play-acting, there can be no such thing as soul mates, because we don’t have genuine souls.
– Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
And then there are the moments where you are left trembling, as the lines seem to melt from the page, and slowly seep through your skin; coursing through your veins like anti-freeze, her words a perversely addictive poison.
He won’t sleep with me yet. He sleeps in the downstairs guest room with the door locked. But one day I will wear him down, I will catch him off guard, and he will lose the energy for the nightly battle, and he will get in bed with me. In the middle of the night, I’ll turn to face him and press myself against him. I’ll hold myself to him like a climbing, coiled vine until I have invaded every part of him and made him mine.
– Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
Indeed, Gillian Flynn’s perfectly constructed tale is as enthralling as it is disturbing; it will distort your perception, invade your thoughts, and stay with you long after you turn the final page. Much like a crazy ex-lover, I would imagine (ironically enough).