Saturday, October 20, 2012

Not Recommended: Gone Girl (Spoilers)

You might wonder why I've got an Amazon link if I say right in the title that I don't recommend this book.  I'm hoping you'll drop by Amazon and maybe buy something else.   That helps me caffeine addition.

Anyhow, I think this must have been another Entertainment Weekly recommendation and I might just have to stop reading EW soon.  Well, all I really read these days are the book reviews in my wife's subscription, but I'm not having great results lately, seems like their taste in books is different than mine.

I will admit, the device in this book, at least in part one is pretty interesting.  It starts on the "day of" for Nick Dunne, which you come to find out is the day his wife disappears.  Or the day Nick killed her.  Or something.  Their fifth wedding anniversary, but this is a deeply unhappy couple.

The next chapter is her diary entry from the first time she met him, over five years prior.  And so you flip back and forth, he moving forward a day or two at a time dealing with her disappearance and navigating suspicion by the police, dealing with his inlaws, etc.  At the same time, you're moving forward in time towards this date, months and years at a time along her timeline through far too detailed journal entries.  (I find it hard to believe anyone would keep journal entries that complex.)

Did he do it?  If not, what happened?

By 200 pages in to this 400 monstrosity, her entries have caught up to the day she disappeared and he's over a month out and you learn that she's a horribly unreliable narrator, that her entire journal was fabricated with diligent fact-checking on the internet for current events.

In Act II the journal premise is dropped and as you travel with this woman (I've already forgotten her name) forward in time, racing to meet up with Nick in his timeline, you find out that she's manipulative, really smart, calculating, cold, obsessive and at the same time, a bit stupid.  Also, she's willing to go to great lengths to torture herself physically.  Additional journal entries not shared with her earlier allude to where she's poisoned herself with antifreeze and saved her own vomit in the freezer should she ever need to prove the her "suspicions" in her diary that he poisoned her.

At this point you're groaning and wondering just how much longer you have to endure, but you're so far in you don't want to bail now.

And so you keep plodding forward.  It's no longer fun, it's a chore, one you must endure, like standing in line in the DMV.  Soon enough it will be all over.  Soon enough it will be all over.

By Act III, the timelines have converged, she returns home and then becomes the battle of wills to prove she's a manipulating psychopathic killer.   But she's convinced of one thing - he's hers and will do whatever she wants and she's got enough aces up her sleeve to make sure that happens, including his banked sperm that allows her to become pregnant with his child.  Which, conveniently, eliminates his only real escape (suicide) from this situation because he now has to protect this child from his wife as long as she's alive.

In the end, she wins. In Girl Gone, it's not that the girl has disappeared, it's just that she's gone way, way, way off the deep in.

A very disappointing read.  Usually I hate criticizing books because a lot of effort goes into writing one, but this one was just such a disappointment, considering the unique and interesting device of Act I.
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