I never got round to reading Gone Girl among all the hype when it was released, and I never saw the film either, and yet I recently found myself with a copy, thinking I might as well give it a go to see what all the fuss was about. Honestly, I was kind of disappointed.
I understand why we need so much background information, but the entire first half of the book just failed to really engage me – the typically long drawn-out investigation into whether or not the husband (Nick) was involved in his wife’s disappearance/suspected murder. It was just so slow considering it was supposed to be this amazing thriller. I reached the point where I found myself leaving it on my bedside table for days at a time with no real desire to pick it up again other than needing to know the eventual outcome. I considered simply skipping to the end, but decided I’d stick with it and give it more of a chance. Then I reached the end properly, and it left me feeling kind of cheated, like nothing had actually been achieved a little bit of hindsight and a whole lot of frustration. In fact, the story’s only saving grace was the big twist in Part 2. That was the moment my interest piqued, the moment I saw how clever this book actually was.
If I have to give it any kind of props, it would be the intelligent narrative construction and the depth of each character’s personality. Every element was so well thought out, and the character of Amy (the missing woman) especially was fascinating. In fact, looking at it from a technical standpoint, it’s pretty incredible and I get what the author was trying to do in the way she built up all these characters that have come and gone from Amy’s life, through both her diary entries and Nick’s investigations, all suspects at one point or another, but all with their own version of the story too.
Though unfortunately, for me, cleverness can’t make up for boredom. I tried so hard to enjoy it but I just couldn’t. I mean, the fact it’s taken me the whole month to finish when I’ve also read entire novels in a single day illustrates this perfectly. At the end of the day, I’m not much of a scholar, so I’d rather read a shoddily-written book that hooks me than the opposite. Again, after it began to get interesting and the characters really developed, the end just felt lazy to me rather than mysterious and harrowing – such a complete and utter let down. Why this story has retained such good reviews even several years later is beyond me. But I guess you can’t always rely on the hype to get you through a smart but ultimately unsatisfying story.
I endavoured to read it at least one book a month this year, as I’ve recently got out of it (Life and all that). I just hope February’s review(s) turn out more positive…