18 March 2013

Gone Girl

by Gillian Flynn

At this point, I think that just about everybody in the world – and most definitely anybody who might be reading this blog – has read a plot summary of Gone Girl. It’s been on just about every bestseller list there is, and if your reading habits are in any way similar to mine, then Amazon steadfastly shoved it down your throat until you finally gave in and ordered it. When I reviewed it on Goodreads, I said that I’d had more fun reading Gone Girl than I have reading any other book in recent memory. I stand by that statement. I read a lot of crime fiction. A lot. I’ve gotten to the point where formulaic who-dun-its just don’t hold my attention, so even though I thought for a minute that Gone Girl might be just such a book, I found out differently after I finished reading the first section.

Some people have trouble liking books when they don’t like the narrators, and some people have trouble liking books when they can’t trust the narrator. I don’t suffer from that, though, and I generally enjoy books more when their narrators are flawed, just like real people are flawed. People have their biases and their own agendas, and I’m not sure why we so often presume that those very human traits will not exist in even our most beloved characters in our most beloved novels. Even more to the point, we know that eyewitness testimony is often some of the most unreliable evidence that exists, especially when eyewitnesses are telling us about events they perceived as traumatic. Even if a person isn’t actually trying to mislead, he or she is just as likely to benignly misremember and give us bad information.

Anyway, the plot of Gone Girl relies almost exclusively on misinformation, incorrect assumptions, inaccurate perceptions, and quick judgments. It’s full of surprises, and even once the surprises are over, it was icky enough and creepy enough to hold my attention until the end. Loved it. LOVED.

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