Sometimes I jump on bandwagons – never for sports teams, but occasionally for books. Last week I decided to jump on the Gone Girl bandwagon. This cunning thriller has been the talk of the summer at my library and has been mentioned on almost every ‘Best Books of Summer’ list I’ve seen. There are still over 100 holds on it in my library system and more requests being made by the hour. I really wanted to see what all the fuss is about.
Gone Girl starts out as a traditional missing woman novel. Amy disappears one morning from her Missouri home and all clues lead to her husband, Nick, as being the prime suspect. The story moves back and forth between Nick’s account of the investigation and Amy’s past journal entries. The reader quickly realizes that we’re dealing with two unreliable narrators and the first half of the book is a dizzying journey through the heads of this couple with many twists and turns driving the plot along a compelling, but unknown, road.
The second half of the novel has a much different feel because we find out a startling fact about Amy that changes the entire landscape of the novel and very cleverly switches the feel of the book from a murder investigation to an examination of marriage. All of the big (and little) issues that can infect a marriage are intensified here and completely transformed into psychosis. It is well-done and fascinatingly so.
However, I didn’t really like this novel. I was left with a sense of vague disappointment that I feel after reading most contemporary thrillers. I think this is a matter of personal taste rather than anything wrong with the quality of the book. I definitely recognize the excellence of the plot and writing, but I don’t like the overuse of profanity, the crudity or the general sense of modern malaise. Yes, I am old-fashioned and somewhat of a prude and feel more comfortable in the world of Barbara Pym than in the world of Gillian Flynn.
If you are a fan of thrillers I would recommend this, though. It is a very good suspense novel and obviously appeals to a lot of people. It has a unique plot and is undeniably absorbing. It just wasn’t for me.
I’d like to know – how do you feel about profanity in novels?