Jean-Paul’s rating: 3/5 Stars
I picked up “Gone Girl” because I had just finished my previous book and because it was both immediately available to download from the library and I had just seen that it was going to become a Ben Afleck movie. I had heard of “Gone Girl” before, but it never piqued my interest until I saw about the movie, which I will still likely see despite my, as you will see, somewhat tepid review of the book. As a general rule, I like to read the books before I see the movie.
“Gone Girl” starts out quite good. The two main characters, Amy Dunne and Nick Dunne, are fleshed out really nicely. The storytelling for the first half of the book is done alternating between a first person perspective through Nick’s eyes starting the day Amy disappears and a series of Amy’s diary entries retelling events from years ago when Amy and Nick first met up to the day that Amy disappears. It is a very cool, very effective way to tell a story. If only the story it had to tell was worth it.
My biggest problem with the story was the incessant bludgeoning of the reader with detective story cliché after cliché. When the twist comes along, you get to understand that all the clichés are kind of the point, but by that time you already feel like you’re stuck in a crappy detective novel.
What saves the book is that the twist is pretty freaking cool. I will not give anything away, but suffice to say, I was very pleasantly surprised at it and it fit in very nicely with everything that came before. Unfortunately, it then proceeds into another series of clichés that again reduces it to more of a tedious than enjoyable read.
The end is a huge let-down. It does one of those leave you hanging things where you’re left to wonder what happens to everyone. Normally, I go for this kind of things, but the preceding events are so outside of normal human experience that it’s very difficult to come to any conclusion as to what any of the characters are thinking. Seriously, there is some effed up psychological stuff going on here, which is again, kind of cool.
In the end, the problem with “Gone Girl” is that it doesn’t really cover any new ground. It’s the same old ground that twists into the same old ground. A cool twist is not enough to save a book. So why would I ever want to see the movie, you may ask? Because, in the right hands, I think this could make for a very good movie and I am interested in seeing how they bring the twists and ending to the big screen. We shall see.