Friends, I must brainstorm with you. I have this strange need to just chat about a book with book lovers, and try to understand a couple of things.
I just finished reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.
I'd heard the book was good, twisted, and dark. It was all of those things and more. I literally could not put it down. When I began Part Two, my eyes bugged at the twists. I shook my head in wonder at the author's brilliance.
After reading the final words, I wrote this on Facebook:
Just finished reading "Gone Girl." Holy cow. Wicked, twisted, and totally entertaining. I hope the movie is half as good. Who's read it?
But a couple of responses surprised me and really made me think.
My cousin Marcia said this:
"I didn't like it. It was well written but I don't enjoy stories where there is not a single redeeming character."
She's right! Except for maybe the sister and one of the cops, these characters were awful people. Selfish, manipulative, spoiled. Why in the heck did I care what happened to them? Morbid curiosity? What had the author done that made me turn the pages when I should've been cooking dinner? And why did I love a book that was peopled with unlikeable characters? WHY?
I'm still pondering that one. My writing lessons learned post about this book is coming soon.
My friend Kris said this:
"Totally sick and twisted! I really disliked the ending!!"
She's also right! The ending was NOT happy. It wasn't even satisfying. It was frustrating. I wanted to chuck the book at the wall and scream "NOOOOO!" I gravitate toward satisfying endings. After spending so much time with characters, I want to turn the final page and know that things are going to be ok--that these people will go on to live normal lives. This is SO not the case with Gone Girl.
As a reader, I didn't love the ending. As a writer, I admired it. Maybe that's why this book still haunts me. Maybe because I was reading it as a reader, while also marveling at the writer's skill. I'm rarely this surprised by twists, and believe me, this one has some gems. I can't even hint at them without giving away the story.
If you've read the book or seen the movie, and want to read an entertaining thread, there's a fascinating conversation over at Book Journey. Warning! Serious spoiler alert. I mean, they're talking about the twists and the ending.
Whether people like the book or not, it's definitely had an impact.
This book reminded me why we love books. They're entertaining. They make us think. They make us happy and afraid. Gosh, I love reading.
Can I understand why I sometimes love a disturbing book? No. But I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Have you read Gone Girl? Seen the movie? Have you ever thought about a book long after you've turned the final page? Have you ever loved a book with twisted characters? Have you ever enjoyed an unhappy ending and wondered why? Friends, help me understand!!
(No spoilers, please! I don't want to ruin it for anyone else)