A Book Club’s Response to Gone Girl: Don’t Marry a Psychopath

Gone Girl

Last night my book club discussed Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  If your book club is looking for a juicy read, I have to say this was a great discussion.  You won’t find a book with more twists and turns  than this one.  Everyone in the group had a visceral reaction.  But before we get into that, let’s discuss the plot.

We meet two seemingly normal people, Nick and Amy, who met 7 years ago at a party in NYC.  For all appearances sake, they were a normal, happy couple. In her diary, Amy wrote about it:

Tra and la! I am smiling a big adopted-orphan smile as I write this. I am embarrassed at how happy I am, like some Technicolor comic of a teenage girl talking on the phone with my hair in a ponytail, the bubble above my head saying: I met a boy!

When they meet, they are both employed writers. They have a wild, crazy romance and what appears to be a good marriage.  When his mom gets sick and they both lose their jobs, they decide to move to Missouri.  That’s not such a good move as things start to slowly unravel soon after. The book starts out on the morning of their 5th anniversary and we read Nick’s thoughts about it:

Amy peered at the crepe sizzling in the pan and licked something off her wrist. She looked triumphant, wifely. If I took her in my arms, she would smell like berries and powdered sugar. When she spied me lurking there in grubby boxers, my hair in full Heat Miser spike, she leaned against the kitchen counter and said, “Well, hello, handsome.”  Bile and dread inched up my throat. I thought to myself: Okay, go.

And then Amy disappears and the fun begins.  Each chapter alternates between Amy and Nick’s narratives and we find out what’s going through each of their minds at various times of their histories leading up to her disappearance.  They are mad at each other and at any given time, you suspect one is guilty…and then you suspect the other is guilty.  The book is a roller coaster ride and it’s titillating from beginning to end. One minute you think that Nick killed Amy, then you think Amy is framing Nick, then you don’t know what to think.  They both want you think the other one is guilty and they both do really good job.

As my book club discussed the book, we realized just how many layers the book has. Nothing is as you think it is at any time.  Adjetives used to describe how several members felt reading the book were: Desperate. Creepy.Wild ride. Roller coaster. No likable characters. Plot driven. Most of us liked, loved it.  Several members weren’t as taken with it.  I, for one, want to pick it up and read it again.

We all loved Amy, despite how crazy her character is.  Nick doesn’t realize it when he meets her, but Amy is a psychopath with a capital “P”.  She reminded one member of Cathy from East of Eden.  She is a true psychopath.  One minute she’s Amazing Amy, the subject of a kid’s book series her parents wrote that supported their existence financially until recently, the next minute she’s a true psychopath.  A woman with no conscience, no remorse, no sense of concern for the well-being of anyone, not even family members.  No struggle with shame and the surreal ability to conceal her true psychological makeup from everyone, including her husband.  She’s so smart, so clever that it’s frightening.  One member’s takeaway from the book: Don’t marry a psychopath. To all the single ladies out there, read this book.

I don’t want to give away everything about this book, but overall, it’s a very, very good book club pick, make it your next one.

 

Comments

  1. I’m hosting this book at our book club in November and I *seriously* can’t wait!

  2. we are discussing it this Sunday…any suggested treat themes or Gone Girl ideas for snacks for the discussion? looking forward to discussing.