After staying away from the hype (along with the movie) and waiting for it to die, I’ve finally read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Crime isn’t one of my favourite genres – Sherlock Holmes was the only one that interested me, but now Gone Girl has joined Sherlock. The book blew my mind. I couldn’t put it down. The structure and writing are perfect, giving the sharpness and multi-layerness of the story.
The story is about Nick Dunne who discovers that his wife Amy is missing on their fifth wedding anniversary, and he is suspected to be involved in her disappearance and possibly her death when evidence starts to pop up. Even the media rips him apart. “There are two sides to every story”. That’s right. We find that Amy is alive and well, and she’s framing Nick because she’s a “psycho bitch” with a history of manipulating and ruining people’s lives. People who disappoint her and that includes her husband. He’s not the perfect husband. She sets up her disappearance and fabricates a fool-proofed story to back her up. She self-harms, steals some semen (yeap), hacks into Nick’s credit cards and laptop, writing a fictional account or persona in a diary, leaving plenty of evidence that would imprison her husband. And plenty of evidence to make her return to society.
Nick eventually discovers who she truly is and starts to play the game. The ending leaves Nick and Amy staying together, pretending to be perfect for each other, that their marriage is the way it should be…according to Amy. We are left with Amy still suspecting Nick and we don’t know if she’s going to pull another plan on him, now that he’s in the game too, on her level.
One of the things that I bothered me was how angry and hateful I was towards Amy. I didn’t feel sorry for her. I wanted her to die. I was hoping for Nick to kill her or have her arrested and I got mad that he stayed…because she’s pregnant and couldn’t leave the baby in her hands. Yes, that’s very noble of him but still…I’m sure that the lack of resolution played a part in my feelings but Amy is just [incoherent screaming]. I feel suffocated by her – maybe that was the intended effect. I hate that I feel so against her and that the book has provoked internalised misogyny in me. I kept telling myself that it’s just her character, not because she’s a woman. But maybe that’s the point. Maybe Gone Girl is critiquing on how society still treats women and even treats men wrongly, and analysing different views on feminism.
I was conflicted on whether Gone Girl is feminist or misogynistic or misandrist. I guess it’s a bit of all three. Both Nick and Amy are driven by society’s ideals – Nick constantly tries to prove that he’s a “real man” and Amy puts on the “Cool Girl” facade. They also try to change each other. Frustrated with society’s double standards, Amy went to extremes to change Nick and he did, but she doesn’t really change. She’s still her true “psycho bitch” self and that’s one of the few things that I admire about her. That she’s very intelligent and doesn’t change for a man. That behind a pretty face, she is twisted but she keeps that under wraps. That she only pretends to be “normal and cool” in public but she’s scheming to have some sort of revenge in private. She’s playing with everyone like a puppeteer and they don’t know it. This is a monster that society has created. I’m starting to sympathise with her a bit as I write this. But most of me still hates her. It’s complicated.
Anyway, I recommend Gone Girl, rating it 10 out 10, and you don’t have to be a fan of crime or feminist to enjoy it. It’s open to interpretation.