Gone Girl

Book cover, Gone GirlGone Girl
Gillian Flynn

Spoilers abound, so be warned.

And Triggers. Domestic Violence, Rape, Murder. BS fucking rape culture and victim blaming. I just can’t even.

When this book came out, I remember people raving about it.  Raving. Bestseller, on all the must-read lists, personally recommended to me. So finally, I read it.

And I hated it. Hated. It.

From the first page, when Nick is creepily talking about the shape of his wife Amy’ skull, I knew this was not going to be a book for me. First of all, did I mention that it really creepy? Second, it was crystal clear to me that Nick was not going to be responsible for his wife’s disappearance. It was way too obvious.  Of course, part of me was still hoping it was him. (To me, the twist-that-wasn’t would have been a better, scarier, more realistic literary point). As the book points out, when a woman is killed, her partner becomes the prime suspect. That’s for a good reason – forty percent of murdered women are killed by a partner.

Then I was hoping against hope that Amy’s creepy, stalker ex had her tied up in his lake house. Again, this is a horrible thing to be wishing, but at least it would fit in a bit more with actual patterns of abuse. Yes, this is kinda what happens in the end, but not before we hate Amy for being a sociopathic liar who deserves whatever happens to her.

She is painted as a woman who never deserved Nick in the first place, who drove him to cheat, who expected too much of her husband because he expected to listen to her when she talked. I mean, what guy has time for that when he’s busy imagining her bones?

She manipulates people, tells horrible lies, falsely accuses a nice, geeky guy of raping her, then pretends to be the perfect Cool Girl to snag the lovely clefted-chin Nick. Yeah, Nick’s no saint, but can you blame him for wanting her to return from  wherever she’s hiding out so he can kill her? Dear reader, admit it, you hoped that when he wrapped his hands around her throat he’d have the ability to see it through.

No no no no no.  No.

I can hear people now: “But it’s just a book! Stop taking it so seriously!” I will take this shit seriously because it deserves to be. It’s another story celebrated and held up to be edgy! and suspenseful! The reviews on goodreads are nearly uniformly positive. Those that aren’t tend to focus on the characters becoming increasingly unbelievable as the book goes on, without delving into why they are so unbelievable. It’s because this shit doesn’t happen. (Yes, I know it’s a book. No, I’m not saying women never abuse men.)

Count me among those not interested in reading books that glorify this type of BS.

Further reading:
Bureau of Justice report on Intimate Partner Violence 1993 – 2010 (non-fatal incidents)
Another Bureau of Justice report on Intimate Partner Violence (fatal and non-fatal incidents)
No Safe Place: Violence Against Women
Shakesville: Domestic Violence Awareness Month; Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month
and for Liss on all topics: More

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6 thoughts on “Gone Girl

  1. I really liked this book…but I really hated both Amy AND Nick. I never blamed Amy for Nick’s actions. I DID, however, partially blame Amy’s and Nick’s PARENTS for both of their actions. They both had screwed up childhoods, and I think they BOTH needed therapists. I think that’s why I didn’t get angry like you did. Everyone in this book was totally screwed up–I never rooted for one person over another.

    • (Also, I knew someone who was just like Amy in lots of ways–she was always the one mistreating everyone, and lying, and conniving, and she used guys hardcore. So many of Amy’s actions were believable to me.)

      • I find it believable that Amy was manipulative, but looking at the whole story, including the expressed reason for her return, did not ring true to me.

        And while individual reader may not blame Amy for Nick’s actions (I didn’t either), it felt like that was what a reader was *supposed to* think. And maybe it wasn’t – I’m not the author. But it’s a serious problem if that is a very understandable reading of the work.

      • Oh, I agree. If Amy was meant to be blamed for Nick being shitty, I highly disagree with that reading. I honestly hadn’t even thought of it that way, but I can see where other readers might have.

        (If it makes you feel any better, two men I know well both read the book and also didn’t blame Amy. They read it the same way I did.)

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