In my update a couple of weeks ago, I claimed that I would have this post up in early March. Since book club has still to be arranged (and if I’m honest, it’s looking more like April now) I thought I’d go ahead and put up this post and add to it if anything comes up in the discussion with the club. Has anyone else noticed that Gone Girl seems to be everywhere at the moment? Here are my thoughts, and a little bit of background on our decision-making process!
So back to December, when we couldn’t decide what to read next, and so I had a think about my wish list and came up with three options:
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey (which I’m reading now), Heart-Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.
I put it to the panel, and as one of the bookclubbers decided to buy Gone Girl, it all went from there…
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn had been on my radar for a couple of months, reviewed across many different blogs and featuring on more than one Best Books of 2012 features, and chatted about by colleagues in work. It did not disappoint.
The story starts when Nick Dunne returns home to find his house in disarray and his wife Amy gone – and it all looks like some serious foul play. The structure of the book is so interesting – one chapter written from the perspective of the man, and the next a chapter from Amy’s diaries throughout their relationship – from the night they first met, to right up until she disappeared. It’s hard to discuss the structure of the book as a whole without giving too much away, all I will say is that there is a massive shift in Part 2 which completely changes the game, and for me, that is where this book got really interesting.
I think what I loved about this book was its intelligence. It is a thriller, yes, but one that reads like something more literary. The characters are incredibly smart and this is shown through their prose, their discussions with each other and of course the way that they interact with each other. Sometimes you read thrillers that are just page turners, they are enjoyable for what they are but are just not that smart, they don’t take you so deeply into the psyche of the characters or play around with form so much. Before I read it, I was expecting something along the lines of Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson, which I read early on in 2012. It is a psychological thriller too, and although it deals with a similar issue of knowing your partner within a relationship, Gone Girl was SO MUCH better at this. It really is the type of thriller I’d always like to read – smart, playful and literary. Gillian Flynn’s début novel Sharp Objects is now firmly on my wish list.
Without discussing the ending too much, all I’ll say is that there are revelations which make you seriously judge the characters, sometimes you love them, pity them, judge them, are disturbed by them or are simply impressed by their intelligence, wherever it may have led them. It was infuriating at points but in the best way possible.
You know when you’re reading a book and you’re actually talking to it out loud, going ‘Oh what?!’ and ‘Oh ho ho, that is SO clever!’ and just generally interacting with it physically in a way that some books just don’t evoke. That’s what I was like with Gone Girl, it was so engaging and I got completely sucked in by it all. My friends and I were even texting each other about it to see if we’d reached a certain point yet, and to discuss it all as we were still reading it.
I really enjoyed reading this book and it kind of represents what book club should be about, getting excited and generating discussion with friends about books, whether we like them or not. Both We Need to Talk About Kevin and Gone Girl have been like that – here’s hoping the next book will have the same effect!
We still haven’t fixed upon a date for the next book club meeting, and yes, we may be somewhat disorganised – we do however have a possible book for next time, which is What Have I Done? by Amanda Prowse. I don’t have it yet and I’m not sure it’s going to be my cup of tea – has anyone read it?