5 out of 5 Brussels Sprouts for Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Posted May 23 2013, 4:27 am in , ,

Warning: adult content and some spoilers ahead

I got to choose this month’s Book Hungry selection. I picked Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. This rarely happens, but Karla, Abby, Blake, Kelly, and I all pretty much had the same impression of this book. 

We HATED the main characters and by hated, I mean wanted to snatch them from the pages and murder them ourselves. 

“But, Patty,” you’re probably saying. “You gave it a 5.” 

Yeah, I know and that’s the thing about this book. It’s a total mind-screw that leaves you feeling wrecked and homicidal and sick to your stomach and shaking your fist at the sky, screaming, “I just invested x hours reading and THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS?!?  Are you effing kidding me?”

Sorry, no joke. 

Gone Girl is a… *thinks*… *thinks some more*…  well, story just doesn’t come close to describing this book, but we’ll stick with that word. Gone Girl is a train wreck of a story about Nick and Amy, a couple about to celebrate their fifth year of wedded bliss when Amy disappears. From the first scene, in which Nick imagines opening his wife’s skull, you know theirs won’t be a story that ends happily and yet, you just can’t look away. You turn the pages, you wince, you throw up a little, and you keep reading because — and this is a HUGE because — despite the unlikeable characters, Gone Girl is brilliant.

This was hard for me to get my head around… how can I hate the main characters but still like the book? I’ve done a lot of thinking about this and I think it’s a matter of professional respect. When I was querying one of my first novels, agents sent back the same rejection. “Your characters are not likable.” I took this to mean the book was not sellable and therefore, not publishable. Here’s Gillian whose book not only got published, it became a best-seller and yet, her characters are despicable. This blows my mind. 

The book is split into three parts. Within those parts, the chapters alternate point of view between Nick and Amy. Nick’s chapters are real time, starting with the day of Amy’s disappearance. Amy’s are diary entries going back to when she and Nick first met. Typical police procedure is to look at the spouse as the prime suspect and Nick is both stupid and arrogant, so the case against him practically builds itself. Amy is perfect. She’s the trust-fund baby of child psychologists-turned-author parents, who cowrite the Amazing Amy series. Amy’s diary entries frequently include little Amazing Amy references. 

Sounds great, right? Oh, and it is — because none of it is real. That’s what Part 2 is for. And just when you think you’ve got this all figured out, Gillian Flynn bashes you with Part 3 and I promise you, by the end of this book, you will hate Nick and Amy as you have never hated anybody before. 

Now…here’s the part where you have to ask yourself, “Why do I read?” I read because I enjoy getting out of my own head for a while and into someone else’s. I like falling in love. I like happy endings. But reading Gone Girl didn’t give me happy feelings. Does that mean it’s bad? On the contrary, I think it proves how gifted Gillian Flynn is at her craft. In On Writing, Stephen King says writing is telepathy. Reading this book is one hell of a mind f*ck. 

Oh, you’re probably wondering why Brussels sprouts. You won’t BELIEVE what Amy kept hidden in the freezer, inside a box of frozen Brussels sprouts. Are you cringing? Good. That’s how this book works. 

 Have you read Gone Girl? What was your impression of it? Please check out blog posts from the rest of my Book Hungry sisters: 








7 responses to “5 out of 5 Brussels Sprouts for Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn”

  1. Kelly B says:

    Chicken.(you know why I said that)

    You are being generous. This book was really hard to finish, and don’t get me started on the ending. I hated it, but only because I can’t imagine what kind of offspring these two crazy kids will produce. Shudder.

    And then I remember its a work of fiction. I hope. And I know I will sleep better.

  2. Linda Grimes says:

    Uh…brilliant or not, I believe I’ll pass on this one. Doesn’t sound like something I want in my head.

  3. See, this is why I LOVE our book club. I can’t say I LIKED the ending, but it made sense for the book and these characters. I will admit that the first part dragged for me, mostly because I could feel something was off in Amy’s diary entries and I was like “WTF?!!? There is no possible way this Amy and the Amy in Nick’s descriptions are the same bitch!”

  4. abby says:

    oh, patty. i like this review very much, except for the brussel sprouts part (i concur with kelly on that. ha.) you explain the book far better than i did and i love how you broke down what you liked and didn’t like. that’s the sign of the writer in you.

  5. Blake says:

    Great review, Patty! I wholeheartedly agree! And the brussel sprouts reference? Well played! ;-)

  6. […] How often does one recommend a novel even though they don’t like the main characters? At least in my case, not often at all. But this book I have to recommend. Gillian Flynn’s plot and writing are phenomenal! She dove headlong into the dark, raw elements of human behavior and I found it absolutely fascinating. If you like psychological thrillers, I think this story is for you. But don’t just take my word for it! To find out what each of my Book Hungry gal pals thought of GONE GIRL, just click their names: Abby, Karla, Kelly, Patty. […]

  7. Donna Coe-Velleman says:

    This is intriguing me. I’ll have to check it out. Thanks Patti