From the time I was freaked out by the movie ‘Gone Girl‘ and decided against reading the book, I read 2 other novels by Gillian Flynn. As I liked her work, I decided to read Gone Girl but I couldn’t find a good edition in the library. I mostly came across those tiny print books and not the larger hardcover edition for the last few months. The moment I saw the hardcover edition, I picked it up.
So, have my opinions changed since I last wrote about it?
For starters, I have become fairly familiar (and not too shocked) with psychopathic characters and their behaviour as I read other novels with similar characters and read other books by Gillian Flynn.
I found the book a bit slow in the first 120 pages and then it was terse and great. I do wish I had read the book before the movie and it is quite rare that I have watched a movie before the book. I have to admit that I would not have seen it coming the way I could in the movie.
I felt the book overall, had an undercurrent of hatred running through it.
- Nick and his dad – Seem to hate women
- Amy – Seems to hate her parents and Nick and men and has contempt for everyone.
I liked how the book explored additional things like how Nick felt when Amy came back, thoughts running through their minds and the additional people Amy had harmed. One thing I could not get, was how 2 psychologists could not see the psychopathic tendencies of their own daughter. Also, I felt Nick should have walked away citing (publicly) that he was not good enough for Amazing Amy, the moment, he found and destroyed her vomit jar and not have informed her that he threw it away. His reasons for staying pre-baby seem unsatisfactory to me.
This book paints a very depressing and creepy picture of Missouri.
Did I feel it was a portrait of a marriage after reading the book?
Not at all.
The section that seemed like a commentary on marriage was the first part with Amy’s diary entries but clearly it was engineered and written by a psychopath after studying people and other media (books, movies etc.). Psychopaths are great at studying others and make it seem like they get it but they really don’t and they can be highly intelligent and never get caught for all their lives. These mundane things like normal relationships bore them. They love playing and challenging people, both of which Amy did. I think it is pointless to try to understand the mentality of a psychopath because we never can. They are great at manipulating by mixing what triggers us at the raw emotional level with what they want. At the time of the book, Amy wanted a perfect marriage.
- Amy pretends to be a ‘cool girl.’
- Then, some guy (Nick) likes her.
- Nick with a huge need for approval from everyone was also pretending to be this likeable guy .
- All seems normal till now because many people are pretending while dating.
- However, she is a perfectionist and has contempt for every human fallibility (another psychopathic tendency).
- Everyone and everything has to be perfect.
- They stop pretending after marriage.
- She fills with hate when she realises that he doesn’t like her the way she is and when he is not perfect either.
- Of course, the guy is a total douche bag and deserves to be dumped.
- She plans for an entire year and works hard to frame him for murder.
- He plays her and makes her come back.
- He is shit scared of her.
- He stays because he can’t settle for the normal girl anymore.
- She gets pregnant by her own scheming.
- He stays to protect the baby.
If marriage with a psychopath and a crazy jerk is the portrait of a marriage, then Gillian Flynn’s other books should equally freak us out about trusting our own parents and siblings. So, should Angela Marsons’s books. Because, everybody is out to kill you by that token.
Was this book feminist or misogynistic (one of the critiques to the author)?
Neither. Nick’s dad was misogynistic. Nick was afraid of turning into him. Amy zooms in on everything that can go wrong in marriages and wants her marriage to be perfect. Additionally, she goes on ‘feminist’ rants when men seem to like the woman she pretends to be and not what she really truly is and how she has to pretend. To me, this comes of as this man-hating anger and full of resentment and not really feminism. Amy has contempt for everything that is not perfect, so there’s nothing surprising there.
It also makes me wonder how when a guy is a psychopath, he is just a psychopath. When a woman is a psychopath, she becomes a representative of all crazy
bitches women and cannot be just viewed as a psychopath.