Discussion #1: Unputdownable
The blurb on the inside flap of the book says it’s “unputdownable.” When I first read that description, I thought it sounded a bit presumptuous (not to mention that it’s a made-up word), but once I got about halfway in, I recanted my initial reaction. Because that’s precisely the word for it—I consistently stayed up way too late reading this book.
I was a little surprised I liked this book since suspense isn’t my typical genre and I didn’t like any of the characters. But the plot and pacing were killer (sorry, bad pun), and the author uncovered layer after layer of the story in such a gripping way that I couldn’t help but come back for more, gory-accident style.
Did Gone Girl reel you in? Would you read other books by this author?
Discussion #2: She Said
The author is masterful in the way she reveals Amy’s personality. I started out feeling sorry for Amy, and then as the novel unfolded, I marveled as the depth of her insanity was revealed. It was fascinating to get a glimpse into Amy’s mind, and although she is so far over the edge, I couldn’t help but think how in many ways she’s merely an extreme representation of our own neuroses.
What do you think made Amy the way she was? Was she born a sociopath, or did circumstances make her that way (e.g., the pressure from her parents and the world to always be “Amazing Amy”)?
Discussion #3: He Said
As we find out more about Amy’s devious, well-calculated plans, it becomes clear that she is certifiably nuts. (Seriously? She saved her own vomit?) But as the novel comes to a close, we discover that Nick may be just as crazy in his way. He chooses to live in the same house with her and sleep in the same bed, all the while knowing one false move on his part will have disastrous consequences.
In a way, it seems that Nick doesn’t know who he is without Amy:
Amy was toxic, yet I couldn’t imagine a world without her entirely. Who would I be with Amy just gone? There were no options that interested me anymore.” (p. 397)
Why do you think Nick stayed? And who was crazier: Amy or Nick?
Discussion #4: No Happy Ending
Not that I was expecting happily-ever-after for a book like this, but I have to admit that I was hoping for a little more justice…or at the very least, closure. I had a small moment of satisfaction when Nick wrote his book, but once again, Amy pulls a trump card when she announces she’s pregnant.
Nick has some moments where he’s about to crack and wants to kill her, but ultimately he decides that wouldn’t have been adequate. Here’s how he imagines justice for Amy:
Not kill her but stop her. Put her in one of her boxes.” (p. 397)
What did you think of the ending? How long do you think Nick and Amy’s tenuous arrangement (that he has to be the perfect husband) is going to work? In your mind, what would have been justice for Amy?
Discussion #5: The Author
After finishing the book, I had to wonder: what kind of person could write a book like this and capture these disturbed characters so convincingly? I read a little bit about Gillian Flynn on her author site, and she looks like a perfectly lovely, well-adjusted adult. She does admit, however, that she had a bit of a devious streak as a child:
I was not a nice little girl. My favorite summertime hobby was stunning ants and feeding them to spiders. My preferred indoor diversion was a game called Mean Aunt Rosie, in which I pretended to be a witchy caregiver and my cousins tried to escape me.”
Rating: ★ ★ ★
I would give this book three stars. It was dark and disturbing and some of the language was hard to take, but it was a compelling read. I recommend it for those who are not faint of heart! (And maybe don’t read it right before bedtime.)
How would you rate this book?