I had to see what all the fuss was so I picked up Gone Girl on New Year’s Day, and I’d read all 415 pages by January 6. Now I am dying to talk about it.
First, if I had known it was part of the crime fiction genre I never would have picked it up, because I hate crime fiction. The only other crime fiction I have read was Presumed Innocent. I’m still a little mad no one told me the genre, but now I have read the book, so I should probably let that go.
I won’t give anything away in case you plan to read it, but I will say this: How is it possible to love the book, but hate the characters? I assume Gillian Flynn wants us to hate the characters, because the addictive pull of the story is how loathsome they are, but I can’t think of any other story where I loathed the characters, but ultimately loved reading the book.
At first I thought it was just me, but then I got a text from one of my favorite reading pals: “Hated both of the characters . . . . Loved the book.”
Silly me, I thought that a “great book” had to have characters that readers fell in love with. Some of my favorite books have characters that I adore, see Charles Darnay, Holden Caufield, Hester Prynne, Jay Gatsby (though I am more of a Nick Carraway fan), and Sethe (from Beloved).
Conversely, I hated that stupid priss from Mill On The Floss, Raskolnikov gave me the heebee jeebees, and I wanted to punch Rabbit Angstrom in the kisser. Thus, the books that birthed those characters do not appear on my “must read” lists. Also, there were lots of Tudors that I hated so that makes Shakespeare a little thorny for me.
Ultimately, this is good news, though. Here I am writing a book hoping that the love I feel for my characters will resonate with readers. But hell, maybe you will hate them and still love my book enough to catapult me to the New York Times bestseller list. Now I don’t have to work so hard to make them appealing to readers.
Also, the ending of Gone Girl is controversial because apparently people hate it. I loved it. It’s the only ending that makes sense for the characters. I didn’t find it unsatisfying, even though justice was not served. It was chilling and frustrating, which is exactly how it should have been.
Have you read it? What did you think? Did you hate Amy and Nick Dunne? Who else do you hate in popular literature (besides Christian Grey and Ana Steele)?