I haven’t read a book since February this year, which says a lot about how busy my life has been. But with recent changes in my career I’ve slowly made my way back to loving reading. I read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn in three days. I’m back on form you could say, or the book was truly that addictive that I couldn’t put it down – that’s what everyone is saying, even the critic quote on the book cover says so!
The thing is, I loved it, and then it infuriated me. It’s a story of love, hatred, lust and the power of the mind. The ability to control how a reader may feel about a character is a powerful skill. But with that power, comes the ability to switch your opinion in an instant. Flynn is aware of this skill and will use it against you for her own enjoyment. With this thought I can happily admit that she is a terrifyingly brilliant writer.
I judge how much I like a book on how many emotions it manages to make me feel. I am stoic in character which ultimately was my undeniable understanding of one of the protagonists, Nick, but it’s also what makes me such a hard critic, in life and in relation to books.
What I felt unnerving was the clear gender stereotyping and therefore completely contradicting nature of Nick’s personality. I did come to the conclusion that this was intentional and it’s a theme that can be discussed in a lot more detail than I have time for. What I will say though, is the book release couldn’t be more perfectly timed in terms of current political discussion on feminism. One example of what I mean by this is a term that is mentioned numerous times – Cool Girl.
Page for page the book took me to a bottomless pit of hate, to pure disgust, to an optimistic’s candy floss world. I am a playful swearer, I swear profusely for comic affect but there’s a point where this language can be unnecessary and this was definitely the case in some parts of Gone Girl. Potty mouth doesn’t even cover it. Not only is some of the language unnecessary, but the behaviour of the characters and their blind reasoning really grated on me and what initially was a book I wanted everyone to read, came a book that I wanted no one to have to put themselves through.
If you have patience beyond all measure and an intrigue for this popular read then I would say it’s worth it. But if you’re someone who cannot let go of the emotions that a book can make you feel, I would steer clear of it.