First things first… she (Gillian Flynn) went to my alma mater, the University of Kansas. Second, she grew up in the same area I did. I found this out after fawning over her writing, so these revelations are in no way causing a bias in my review of her books. Only extreme pride. Excessive fangirling. And excitement that the Kansas City area is now a bit more on people’s radars, if even just the slightest bit.
Last year I first read Gone Girl. I was skeptical, as I am not much of a crime/thriller/suspense fan when it comes to my choice of reading. But… it was part of the buy-two-get-one-free deal at the bookstore I was wandering around in London. I was visiting my friends for New Year’s, a quick jaunt from Munich, and spent much of my time perusing while they were at work. I knew I needed to load up on English books, my mind having become mush in the past six months from having read so many German books. It doesn’t matter how fluent you are in a language, your active translating, 24/7, takes its toll. It’s mentally exhausting…
Anyway… I grabbed Gone Girl and two other books (you guys, I’m far too embarrassed to admit what they were. Let’s just say they were not worth toting back to the States when I moved home. And that’s saying a lot, considering books are like my children).
I began reading it on my flight back to Munich, then on the subway, then raced back to my apartment, hardly throwing off my bags, definitely not taking off my winter layers, and I sat on my couch and finished that puppy by morning.
I couldn’t not read it. I had to know. Right then. Sleep was for the weak.
This book had taken control. I won’t delve into the details of the plot, you can find reviews of that and the like anywhere online, trust me. I just want to suggest you go out and grab a copy now. It’s phenomenally written with a remarkably hard to predict plot. (And I’m notorious for guessing the ending of movies, books, plays, you name it. I owe that ability to my years and years of watching TV, paid off!)
But here are some quotes to give you a little taste of both the writing and the plot. Consider this your appeteaser (see what I did there, heh.) and go ahead and order the chef special. Someone you know has a copy, trust me. In fact, mine’s currently making the rounds in my family. 😉
“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-eared script.”
“Love makes you want to be a better man. But maybe love, real love, also gives you permission to just be the man you are.”
“Give me a man with a little fight in him, a man who calls me on my bullshit. (But also who kinda likes my bullshit.) And yet: Don’t land me in one of those relationships where we’re always pecking at each other, disguising insults as jokes, rolling our eyes and “playfully” scrapping in front of our friends, hoping to lure them to our side of an argument they could not care less about. Those awful if only relationships: This marriage would be great if only…and you sense the if only list is a lot longer than either of them realizes.”
“Because you can’t be as in love as we were and not have it invade your bone marrow. Our kind of love can go into remission, but it’s always waiting to return. Like the world’s sweetest cancer”
“’My gosh, why are you so wonderful to me?’
He was supposed to say: ‘You deserve it. I love you.’
But he said,’Because I feel sorry for you.’
‘Because every morning you have to wake up and be you.’”
“Ironic people always dissolve when confronted with earnestness, it’s their kryptonite.”
“Because isn’t that the point of every relationship: to be known by someone else, to be understood? He gets me. She gets me. Isn’t that the simple magic phrase?”
“It’s a very difficult era in which to be a person, just a real, actual person, instead of a collection of personality traits selected from an endless Automat of characters.”
“Men always say that as the defining compliment: the Cool Girl. She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means that I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl.
Men actually think this girl exists. Maybe they’re fooled because so many women are willing to pretend to be this girl. For a long time Cool Girl offended me. I used to see these men – friends, coworkers, strangers – giddy over these awful pretender women, and I’d want to sit these men down and calmly say: You are not dating a woman, you are dating a woman who has watched too many movies written by socially awkward men who’d like to believe that this kind of woman exists and might kiss them. I’d want to grab the poor guy by his lapels or messenger bag and say: The bitch doesn’t really love chili dogs that much – no one loves chili dogs that much! And the Cool Girls are even more pathetic: They’re not even pretending to be the woman they want to be, they’re pretending to be the woman a man wants them to be. Oh, and if you’re not a Cool Girl, I beg you not to believe that your man doesn’t want the Cool Girl. It may be a slightly different version – maybe he’s a vegetarian, so Cool Girl loves seitan and is great with dogs; or maybe he’s a hipster artist, so Cool Girl is a tattooed, bespectacled nerd who loves comics. There are variations to the window dressing, but believe me, he wants Cool Girl, who is basically the girl who likes every fucking thing he likes and doesn’t ever complain. (How do you know you’re not Cool Girl? Because he says things like: ‘I like strong women.’ If he says that to you, he will at some point fuck someone else. Because ‘I like strong women’ is code for ‘I hate strong women.’)
I waited patiently – years – for the pendulum to swing the other way, for men to start reading Jane Austen, learn how to knit, pretend to like cosmos, organize scrapbook parties, and make out with each other while we leer. And then we’d say, Yeah, he’s a Cool Guy.
But it never happened. Instead, women across the nation colluded in our degradation! Pretty soon Cool Girl became the standard girl. Men believed she existed – she wasn’t just a dreamgirl one in a million. Every girl was supposed to be this girl, and if you weren’t, then there was something wrong with you.”
Also, Gone Girl is becoming a movie. It has a trailer and everything. It’s going to be good. I feel it in my bones.
And Gillian Flynn did a Reddit Ask Me Anything. Flavorwire did a recap of her best answers.
Just finished the second two of her novels, both qually intriguing. Definitely recommend. Will write more on that matter later, though…