PB Fingers Book Club: Gone Girl

Let me get one thing straight up front: As a romance writer (and reader), I prefer “happily ever after.” When I get to the end of a story, I want to close the back cover with a happy sigh and a feeling that all is right in the characters’ world … that the bad guys got what was coming to them.

In Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl,” I got none of that.

That’s not to say I didn’t get sucked into the story. I devoured most of the book on a recent Sunday, reluctant to set it aside long enough for bathroom breaks, or even to refill my water bottle. (I developed quite the raging headache because I was too wrapped up in what was happening in the book to take care of even those basic needs.)

Flynn’s prose is really quite lush and evocative. More than once, the descriptions she used made me think “I wish I’d thought of that.”

Descriptions like “the deep sleep of a Ny-quiled child” and “A crop-circle stain marked where the carousel once was.” spoke to the poet in me … the part of my soul that loves playing with language.

My main problem with “Gone Girl” was that I didn’t like either of the main characters. In the type of writing I do, it’s essential to have a likable hero and heroine.

I understand “literary” books are different. You don’t have a hero/heroine so much as a “narrator.” Whatever you call them, I disliked both Nick and Amy.

When Nick’s wife went missing, I felt sorry for him. Then Amy’s diary entries made me as suspicious of him as the cops were. And then he revealed he was cheating on his wife and I hated him a little more.

At that point, I wanted to root for Amy … and then we learned her diary, with those damning entries, was all a work of fiction. That put me firmly — if somewhat reluctantly — back on Team Nick. I wanted to see him win … to see Amy get her comeuppance.

Comeuppance? Now there’s a fun, old-fashioned word. Do people really get what they deserve anymore, or can they, like Amy, lie, cheat and manipulate with no consequences?

I hope they can’t.

Even if I wasn’t thrilled with the way “Gone Girl” ended, I’m glad I took the time to read it. The writer in me appreciated — and was maybe even a little inspired by — Flynn’s use of words.

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