22 May 2017

[Review of GONE GIRL the Novel] The Matter of Point of View


Who is Amy? (What is my wife thinking?)
(Nick, p. 82)
On the day of their 5th anniversary, Nick Dunne lost his wife. Amy Elliott Dunne was gone, leaving their house looking like a staged crime scene. Nick’s lack of alibi, his lies toward the cops and the public, and the clues that seemed to point toward him, soon made his image negative. Like one of the cliches found in movies, when the wife was gone or found dead, the closest one was likely the suspect. Who else if not the husband, then?

So, Nick, did you kill your wife?


A friend told me that she dislike this book because all the main characters suck. Yeah, they did. But, in my opinion, it’s just not fair if we hate a book because we hate the characters (I sometimes did it too, but only if the characters suck and the background of their characters are not logical. A good example of this kind of books is Dari Kirara untuk Seekor Gagak. You can find out why I dislike this book so much on my review here.). I like how the author made “alive” her characters, especially Nick and Amy, and how she elaborated the background of them. All the bumps in their marriage, the problem in each of their family, they seemed real.

It’s strange how little I own in this world when I used to own so much.
(Amy, p. 340)
As one of the main characters, we gotta know that there are three versions of Amy’s character: the one as seen on Nick’s eyes, another one as read from her writings on her diary, and the last one as read from the real her. This book consists of three parts: Part 1 – Boy Loses Girl, Part 2 – Boy Meets Girl, Part 3 – Boy Gets Girl Back (Or Vice Versa), and the real Amy began to take over the story telling since Part 2. While, in Part 1 we only know Amy through her diary and Nick’s point of view.

Amy’s diary showed us how her lovely love life with Nick since their first meeting until the earlier period of their marriage. And gradually Nick became distant and abusive, especially after he lost his job as a magazine writer. Poor them, Amy also lost her job as a quiz writer on a magazine. Considering their jobless-state-of-financial and Nick's mother’s dying because of cancer, Nick decided to move to his hometown, Missouri. Amy, who was born and grew in New York City, didn’t like this idea. But she tried to be cooperative. Even she kept trying to be good wife for him and lovely daughter-in-law for Maureen and Bill Dunne. Oh, poor Amy.

Moreover, Amy then gave up all her saving since her parents borrowed huge part of it and she gave the rest to Nick to buy a bar which was later run by him and his sister, Go. Her parents, who were the successful and famous writers of famous children book series Amazing Amy, were slow to realize that they were in financial problem since the book sale sank deeply and they stuck in their old high-class lifestyle.

And then, we know that Amy grew up as a girl who wasn’t considered as a child by her parents since they have their own ideal version of her which was written as Amy in Amazing Amy. She then became a vengeful, manipulative, yet smart and beautiful girl who try to be a Cool Girl.

...because at this point of our marriage, I was so used to being angry with her, it felt almost enjoyable, like gnawing on a cuticle: You know you should stop, that it doesn’t really feel as good as you think, but you can’t quit grinding away.
(Nick, p. 121)
(I love the analogy “gnawing on a cuticle” cos gnawing on cuticle is one of my hobby and it really is like what Nick had said. It is very addictive! 😂)

His character flawed by his trauma as a child who had experienced relationship problem with his mysoginistic and abusive father. His parents then had got divorced. Later, his father faded into dementia. Despite the horrible memory about his father, Nick did believe that he could be a good father for his own child... later.

Nick was easy to forget things, and this sometimes got Amy’s nerve. Nick also was not wise enough to show a right image to the public so they didn’t become to hate him. We, the reader, like the public in this book, somehow wished that he was not the suspect of Amy’s disappearing. But, then we know that the clues analysed by the cops and the media pointed toward him as a suspect. Moreover after Andie, his mistress, showed up and Amy’s diary was found.

He was also the kind of man who was easy to be touched at heart. When he started reading the clues Amy gave for the treasure hunt after she was gone (it was Amy who first had the idea to do treasure hunt to celebrate their wedding anniversary. This hunt should be end once Nick finished solving all the clues and reached to his anniversary gift but it often ended when Nick gave up trying to solve the clues.), Nick really felt that somehow he fell in love again with her wife.

points of view

Love makes you want to be a better man—right, right. But maybe love, real love, also gives you permission to just be the man you are.
(Nick, p. 170)
For me, it’s always interesting to read a story from more than one points of view. It makes the story clearer and more intriguing. A story of just one point of view is often flat. But, in the case of thriller fiction, telling the story from just one point of view or holding the other before the time comes could help it become more mysterious. The two sides to the story of this book, from Nick’s and Amy’s point of view, did present twists and even twist of twist.

If we glance at their points of view, at first they might look alike. But, after walking from chapter to chapter which are alternated between Nick’s and Amy’s point of view, we might feel that the two do have their own style and voice. For example, Nick’s style is more unadorned than Amy’s.

Amy liked to use quizzes in her narrative, like the one we found on p. 28–29:
I didn’t break my stride, just turned to him and said:
a)    ‘Do I know you?’ (manipulative, challenging)
b)   ‘Oh, wow, I’m so happy to see you!’ (eager, doormatlike)
c)    ‘Go fuck yourself.’ (aggresive, bitter)
d)   ‘Well, you certainly take your time about it, don’t you, Nick?’ (light, playful, laid-back)
Answer: D
From her quizzes, I can read that she was skilled at choosing the right act that would bring her expected reaction from the person she acted on. She had a knack of “putting on a show”. Amy used present tense to tell her story since Part 2 and afterward. While Nick, he kept using past tense.

such a wittyly humorous thriller

I always love shorter chapter in fiction, especially with the genre of thriller (mystery, suspense, crime, yeah, thriller and its friends) cos it help build the suspense. But I don’t really love very-short-chapter style like I found in Salt to the Sea cos it averted me to know each character deeper. In the other side, I also can stand a kind of book without chapter, like The Circle, because I had been carried away by the story.

In the case of Gone Girl, I love how the author kept the chapter short but doesn't averted me to know more about the character. But, I’d just begun to be carried away by the story once I entered the Part 2. The actions and character's mind-exploring had balance portion in this story. So, it’s not the kind of thriller that made me drenched in sweat and panting and screaming in my mind while reading it. No, it’s a thriller with a poise tone; it also had witty tone. Wittily humorous. For example,
Then maybe we’ll have sex again. And a late-night burger. And more Scotch. Voilà: happiest couple on the block! And they say marriage is such hard work.
(Amy on her diary, p. 46)
Gone Girl made me wondering, did of all this time people around me and I myself do much pretendings? It’s really horrifying if in our interaction actually each of us is wearing a mask. Nah, even I’m not be the real me to myself sometimes. Gone Girl also made me realise that it’s not impossible that in real marriage life such complex issues do happen.

Shit, Amy, I wish I can be as smart, persistent, cool, and horrible as you. Badass bitch!
No relationship is perfect, they say—they, who make do with dutiful sex and gassy bedtime rituals, who settle for TV as conversation, who believe that husbandly capitulation—yes, honey, okay, honey—is the same as concord. He’s doing what you tell him to do because he doesn’t care enough to argue, I think.
(Amy on her diary, p. 32)
my rating

book identity

Title: Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
Published by: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Published year: 2013 (paperback edition)
Number of page: 466 pages
ISBN: 978-1-780-22135-9
Price: UK £7.99

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