GRAB(ook) Club: Gone Girl

If you haven’t read Gone Girl yet and are planning to do so, this post contains spoilers.  You have been warned.

Thanks to Mel from Stirrup Queens for organizing this book discussion as a part of the GRAB(ook) Club.  If you want to see other questions or discussions about Gone Girl, head over to her blog for more links!

I started reading the novel Gone Girl, not sure what to expect, and almost immediately found myself hooked into the story.  I read straight through.  It’s a tightly written thriller that lived up to the “can’t put it down” hype that surrounded it.

After reading the book, I read part of an interview with author Gillian Flynn.  One of the statements she made during the interview totally intrigued me: “To me, marriage is the ultimate mystery.”  I thought about that for a while.  Flynn’s right that no one really knows what goes on in another person’s relationship.  How many times have I seen couples and wondered a little what exactly it is that keeps them together?

Gone Girl presents many facets of Nick and Amy’s relationship, their marriage.  There’s the beautiful, perfect face they present to the world.  There’s Nick, talking about how much he despises Amy.  There’s Amy, angry and desperate to punish Nick.  There’s Diary Amy, loving but slowly weaving in more sinister themes.  As all of the narrators are pretty unreliable, it’s almost impossible to get the true measure of what binds this pair together.

Somehow, though, they are bound, inextricably and almost inexplicably.  Even as Amy gets pleasure from punishing Nick, she won’t let him go.  Nick, by the end, talks about how threatened he is, how he knows Amy to be a murderer and yet…he stays.  Sure, there’s the excuse of Amy’s pregnancy or that he worries Amy will harm him, but I wasn’t sure I believed those were the only reasons.  It felt almost as if there was something else that held him there.

So this is my question: What is it, in your opinion, that holds Nick and Amy’s marriage together at the end?  Is Nick telling the truth about his reasons for staying?  What about Amy?

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4 thoughts on “GRAB(ook) Club: Gone Girl

  1. Interesting thoughts and question. I don’t know to be honest. I guess Amy won’t let him go because in some way she wants him there after all. Or she simply wants to have control over him, acting out her psychopatic nature. Otherwise I struggle to see the point of it all, why go to all this trouble plotting and acting out the whole thing if not getting anything (or him) back. In that case she could have just left him because of the cheating.
    Nick is obviously to afraid to leave since he now knows what she is capable of, and the threat of it is enough for him to stay. But deep down, I do think he loves her. And in a twisted way they know each other and having had that experience together, they both might feel like they belong to each other.

  2. I agree — there’s more there. There has to be. The ending struck me as unrealistic, based upon the portrayal of the characters thus far. While both were flawed, I found Nick to be much more sympathetic. And I found it absolutely awful that he would decide to stay despite Amy’s psychopathic nature (and the fact that she almost put him away for life). The pregnancy twist annoyed me — it wasn’t necessary for him to decide to stay (if, indeed, he stayed for darker and sinister reasons, such as his own twisted nature). In fact, it seemed a little forced to me. Yes, it gave him a reason to stay — though I think that if he truly WAS concerned for the child, leaving (and taking the child with him) would be a much better option. But had the author simply wanted to show that marriage can be dark and twisted, and that we don’t always know what binds characters together, his staying without an obvious reason for it would have revealed that part of his nature much more dramatically. .

  3. I actually didn’t find it believable that he’d stay. So the ending didn’t ring true for me; though I’m not sure what I wanted instead. To discover they were in on the plan together? That this is a scam they’ve pulled before in a different way? Then I could believe that these two horrible people would remain glued to each other. But Nick’s gut instinct the night she comes back is to get as far away from her as possible. I don’t think he’d move from that reaction to staying.

  4. The ending made me not like the book very much. I didn’t find it believable either. Nick’s feelings leading up to his decision to stay (at least the way his feelings are described) does not mesh with the outcome.
    I think part of my dislike for the book after finishing it was that there were NO likeable characters for me. You almost start liking Nick, and then he makes the ridiculous decision to stay with Amy.
    That being said, I’m sure there are plenty of twisted characters out there staying married to each other!

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