SEPTEMBER BOOK CLUB DISCUSSION: “Gone Girl”

This review contains spoilers.

September is almost over, which means it’s time to recap this month’s Literally, Darling Book Club pick “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn. I have to admit, I couldn’t put this book down. I read this book on the metro, I read it while “running” on the treadmill at the gym, and from the first few pages I knew this book was special. Unfortunately my enthusiasm dwindled as the plot moved forward, and I’m not sold on the ending, but I’d still highly recommend “Gone Girl” as a quick and easy mystery to read.

Earlier this month we kicked off this book with a few discussion questions. What’s with Amy’s obsession with being the cool girl? Who is the victim here? What did you think of the two part narrative?

“Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl” (222)

I love this line, because it’s something I think a lot of women, myself included, can relate to. Cool Girls don’t cry, Cool Girls don’t have feelings and Cool Girls love to ride shotgun with the windows rolled all the way down because Cool Girls don’t care if their hair gets messy. I spent a lot of time in college angry at this persona that all men seem to believe exists, and so when Amy goes on this rant…I get her. I get why it’s hard to compete when everyone else is playing to this persona that doesn’t actually exist. Does her obsession with being Cool ruin her? Arguably, yes. Nothing in her life, including her marriage, is real. Everything she has is based off this act that she feels the need to keep up, and once Nick sees the real Amy without her Cool Girl mask, he doesn’t love her anymore. So she sets out to kill him.

I was Team Nick throughout the majority of this book, and if I have to pick sides I guess I’d pick him. Couldn’t Amy see what she was doing? Didn’t she realize it was her own obsessions that made her crack? Sure, Nick isn’t the most sympathetic character. He cheats on his wife, he’s self-involved, etc. But he is also kind of a coward, which makes him slightly more sympathetic than the strong, manipulative and cunning Amy. She gets to play the villain because she’s smart, Nick plays the victim because he doesn’t have a clue.

As I mentioned, I loved the first half of this book. It was quick and smart and thrilling and piecing together Nick’s story alongside Amy’s journal was fascinating. But as things moved forward, and especially Part Two, the whole thing felt weak. I missed Amy’s voice and “inner dialogue,” even though, as we come to find out, it isn’t exactly true. “Gone Girl” ended on an unsettling and unsatisfying note, which was maybe the whole point? Whatever it was, it wasn’t enough. I wanted Nick to win. I wanted Amy out. It was like all of a sudden this wild and crazy murder mystery case just ended, and we were back to square one. Everybody lost, including the reader.

I’m hoping the ending translates better on screen, and we get a more satisfying ending to the Dunn family scene. The movie comes out October 3rd!

What did you think, darlings? Tweet at us, @litdarling!

Hannah

Hannah likes nail polish, the boy who lived, and rooibos tea. She lives in Washington DC and spends her free time trying to convince her husband to buy her a cat.
Hannah

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