I read Gone Girl with my real-life book club. I hadn’t expected to enjoy it, but read it made me remember how much I love suspense/thrillers. I can’t even remember my objection to it now, but I read it only a year after it came out. Heads up, I am going to talk about the ending. Spoilers, but it has been years since the book came out and a year since the movie. Watch and/or read it already!
So many good suspense novels focus on women. While our main character may be a man, very often things focus on things done to women. The story is often about the woman taking control after being out of control. Maybe the woman helps find the person (typically male) who hurt her. Other times it is the woman seeking her own revenge. What I enjoyed about Gone Girl is that this is about how a woman hurts others.
I love stories about second (third, fourth, fifth) chances. These novels often focus on the woman changing her circumstances in some way: escape, murder, helping authorities. For a woman to be the cause of the problem, well that is very different.
Let’s be honest, as terrible as Amy is, Nick and she deserve each other. He deserves some of this reaction. Amy just also happens to be a sociopath and a psychopath. They are both completely unreliable narrators, which is why their different POVs is so refreshing. We aren’t bouncing back and forth between the two. We clearly see it all play out from Nick’s POV and then from hers. As much as I love a second chance, there is something very fair about Nick being stuck for a while. At the same time, you realize that everyone is terrible in their own way. Nobody is an innocent.
For me, that is something at the heart of realizing you can fix a mistake or have a second chance. We often look at the world and the people around us and think everyone else is better than us in some way. Nobody is better. Everyone has their issue, their flaw, and their problem. When we stop trying to live up to a standard, most people are happier. When people realize this they are often able to make the needed changes to their lives.