This review may contain spoilers.
I think I am discovering that I’m not a huge fan of thrillers. Oh, they keep me obsessed, interested, enthralled, on the edge of my seat. But at the end, they leave me feeling either disgusted or empty. Maybe both.
I’m not sure I feel anything but disgust at the human condition after this read. That’s not necessarily an indictment of the book.
I only had it for 48 hours on audiobook, once I was available to listen to it, so I binge-listened. Maybe that was the problem: you can only take so much description of evil and depravity at one time? It should come with a “take only in small doses” label? I’m just spit-balling here.
The mystery was not readily predictable (because the characters were more insane than you imagined they could be). It was effectively shocking. The voices of the narrating characters were very distinct and well crafted–all versions of them, since they play different versions of themselves. It felt real. It was compellingly written. The uses of language were appropriate for the story: drastic, visceral, bold, unapologetic. It was darkly funny–humor tucked into the dank wasteland of the unfolding events. So, those were qualities that kept me going.
Gone Girl presents a very bleak outlook on love and on humanity. The book is rife with characters, even the outwardly-“good” ones, who are horrifyingly dark, even evil. It left such a bad taste in my mouth that I want to disparage it as being “needlessly, exaggeratedly dark,” but maybe that’s the point: we tend to think better of ourselves than we ought. The darkness in us cannot be exaggerated. Even the nicest, most put-together of us have a sliver of ice in our hearts.
I am very intrigued to see what the movie does with the story. One would hope that with David Fincher’s record, he would be able to handle this kind of content, keeping the effect intact. Can the filmmakers, can the audience, stand to have this level of depravity represented? Or will we get a redemptive side of the story–convincing us all that we’re really not that bad after all?
I would recommend the read if you’re into this kind of genre. But it’s pretty dark and graphic.