reading with the masses: Gone Girl/Gillian Flynn

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


I know you didn't particularly see this coming, but every now and then I do stop to read what everyone else seems to be reading (no, not Fifty Shades, never Fifty Shades).  What is heating up the collective pulse?  What is hiding behind the hot-edged covers of all those books?

Last week, while ordering a number of stuffy-sounding research tomes for a book I haven't yet written a word of, I slipped Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn into the mix.  I've had a no-vacation (except for two shore days) summer.  I'm under enormous work pressures.  I've been reading books to analyze and review them.  I wanted just to read.

And so:  Gone Girl.  Wicked smart, Porsche paced, suspensed (yes, I made up that word), and even if I smelled the plot twists long ahead of their pronouncements, I have had fun reading Flynn's meditation on young marriage (twisted young marriage), cinematically-pilfered-and-puffed life philosophies, and 21st century murder.  Flynn is au courant.  She nails unhappiness and spite, bewilderment and tainted nostalgia.  She is a gorgeous woman who renders mouthy, one might argue rancid characters, and perpetually keeps you reading.  I get why people love this book and don't love it in equal measure (surely the mark of a bestseller).  I appreciate its intelligence, which is to say Flynn's.  I take my hat off to its never-look-back, take all prisoners, affront all prisoners fiesty-ness.  I would not know how to write a book like this one.  I respect Flynn for not just knowing, but for doing.

Here Flynn is, smoking through what she believes many of us have become:
I can't recall a single amazing thing that I have seen firsthand that I didn't immediately reference to a movie or TV show.  A xxxx commercial.  You know the awful singsong of the blase:  Seeeen it.  I've literally seen it all, and the worst thing, the thing that makes me want to blow my brains out, is:  the secondhand experience is always better. The image is crisper, the view is keener, the camera angle and the soundtrack manipulate my emotions in a way reality can't anymore.  I don't know that we are actually human at this point, those of us who are like most of us, who grew up with TV and movies and now the Internet.  If we are betrayed, we know the words to say; when a loved one dies, we know the words to say.  If we want to play the stud or the smart-ass or the fool, we know the words to say.  We are all working from the same dog-earred scripts.   


6 comments:

David Stanton said...

Funny -- this is the next book for my book club at work. I think you convinced me to not drop out this month. :-)

Lynn Rosen said...

Totally agree with you, Beth!

Amy said...

I haven't had a chance to read this yet, but I'm really glad you enjoyed it.

Melissa Walker said...

I JUST finished it today! And this?
"affront all prisoners"
So true! I admired it greatly and was totally riveted.

kelly said...

I read this quite awhile ago --before I realized I was part of the masses :-) My feelings about the book aside, I'm happy so many people are reading something that's this taut and well-written. Gives me hope for the world.

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