Saturday, 22 June 2013

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Book Club review

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn was the Big Comfy Book Club's first book club choice. The Big Comfy Book Club got off to a storming start with nearly 50 people joining the online club. Out of the 7 choices available we voted for Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn as our first book. I received a lot of messages over the next 4 weeks telling me what they thought, where they bought it and what other books aill be in the future. It's been great already! But lets talk about the book itself. Beware, there are spoilers a-plenty.

The book has become a huge success both over in the USA and on our own Isles so the expectation by me and several other book-clubbers was high. A quick read of praise from the national newspapers on the cover gave it more gravitas too. So lets delve into it, did it excite and move me? Did it make a lasting impression on the club? In short. Not in the slightest.

The story revolves around Nick and Amy, a 'normal' couple living in New York. They have the great big posh flat, they are both authors and journalists, they met in a very meet-cute way. They are a Sophie Kinsella couple. But the story really starts after all this and how their relationship has dwindled due to the death of Nicks mum and his dads dementia. Amy has a huge trust fund from her parents, (Authors! Wow!) as their books are based around Amazing Amy, a fictionalised version of their real daughter. One day Nick gets a call from a neighbour saying his front door is wide open, so he returns home and sees that his wife has been involved in a struggle, and she's disappeared. She is Gone Girl. The resulting 250 pages are seen through the eyes of both Nick, at the time, dealing with what has gone on, the subsequent police investigation and the reveal of an affair, and Amy in the form of her diary written over the past 7 years. The format works to a degree but neither Nick or Diary Amy have many qualities to make you like them, Nick is weak and obtuse whilst Diary Amy is a pushover. I'm calling Amy Diary Amy as half way through there is a big reveal which I loved (the best part of the book). The format shifts slightly to the real Amy.

This shift kept the book alive for me as it was really starting to have that bad-movie kind of feel with very clich├ęd characters. The mum being posh and snooty, the dad being all 'hey sport' with the son-in-law, the good cop, bad cop couple. But really what I disliked was Nick. He's an idiot. He does the stupidest things for no reason. Only his twin sister Go (short for Margot) seems reasonable and normal. With the change in narration it gave a real insight into Nick from a different angle. But it didn't last long. The whole book was dragged to the finale. Gillian Flynn had written herself into a corner and had no way out and didn't have an ending. It was a frustrating, annoying read.

Once we'd all read it we had a long discussion on Facebook about it and nearly everyone agreed with me. We are still baffled as to why it has become such a best seller.

I've given it 3.5 on the comfometer. The lowest yet.

If you fancy joining the online book club then hop on over to the Facebook group and add yourself or alternatively if you're not on Facebook, just send me an email, tweet or comment on this blog telling me you're reading along. We've just started our next book, Neil Gaiman's American Gods.

Michael