4 Reasons to Read Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl

Four reasons to read (or reread) Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl now that it’s on DVD

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If you haven’t seen the trailer for Gone Girl, click through and scroll down. You’ll have chills down your spine, and not the Grease kind. The film starring Academy Award nominee Rosamund Pike is now on DVD, which means you can leisurely dive into this psychological thrilling novel for your first or second time. It may seem like an endless read when you pick it up, but trust me: you won’t put it down. Sure, going straight to the movie instead of losing 3 days of your life reading non-stop cover to cover seems more efficient, but now that I’ve read the book then watched the movie… I want to re-read the novel. But you don’t have to take my word for it…

“Don’t miss out on the luxury of using your imagination.”

EMILY DREIBELBIS: I love having the power to imagine an entire story just from words on a page. When you see a movie before reading the book, you lose the luxury of using your imagination; you can no longer create the characters because someone else has done it for you. Instead of understanding a character based on the author’s description you immediately picture some famous actor. To this day, when I think of Harry Potter I immediately picture Daniel Radcliffe, and the face of the character I had created as a child is blurry.

As an adult I feel the same about the relationship between books and movies, and I’m sure Gone Girl will be no exception. I read the book before I knew it was going to become a movie and could not put it down until I got to the end two days later. The movie will be over in two hours and, like all movies, will inevitably leave out crucial parts of the story. Gone Girl is filled with so many twists and turns that it would be a shame to let it end so quickly. Although Ben Affleck is undeniably gorgeous, he is definitely not the Nick Dunne I imagined.

Get to know these characters better.

JEN SMITH: Characters are one of the best reasons to read books.  A good writer develops her characters over the course of the novel, capturing the reader’s attention and taking them into the characters’ mind to see their motivations. Movie viewers tend to focus on the moment and consume what they see, rather than think about the characters and their nuances. Gillian Flynn exposes key details about the characters at critical points in the novel, and the movie will not do these details justice. Do yourself a favor, and get the full experience of getting to know the Dunnes.

It’s a crazy ride with sharp turns and quick drops.

KATE FEHLHABER: Within a few hours of beginning this book, I had consumed over a third of its pages. I could never find a good time to put it down because the story went through wild oscillations of elated joy and disheartening melancholy. In fact, my GoodReads status update was “Happy Sad Happy Sad Happy Sad Happy Sad.” This crazy ride is filled with sharp turns that make your head whirl and quick drops that make your stomach float (just wait ’til the end!).

Some chapters are told by the husband, Nick (Affleck’s character), and others are told by his missing wife, Amy (played by Rosamund Pike), but their voices are also present in each other’s chapters. How honest is each person in the way they explain the series of events that led up to this moment? The characters are so well crafted that you often forget to question their honesty. You may even grow to like them… but this only lasts a short before Flynn pulls the rug out from under you, and you soon start to hate that character again. It’s truly a vicious cycle!

Overall, this story is fun, smart, and suspenseful. I’m curious to see how the movie adaptation deals with all these subtleties in the narrative.

You’ll walk away wondering what you learned.

CATHERINE ABALOS: I couldn’t put this book down. Without giving away any details, the twists were great and the plot compelling. Plus days later I was still considering what I learned from the experience. I found the characters unexpectedly nuanced, and I liked that I was rooting for different ones every few chapters. The entire time I was thinking about what a great movie this would make, and in that sense it was an engaging read. A year later, my presumption came true, and I saw how the movie interprets Flynn’s work; now I want to reread it from a newfound perspective (one you can get from watching the movie and reading the book club questions in the back).

Have you read Gone Girl? We want to hear your reactions!

Originally posted on The Single Diaries. With special thanks to Emily Dreibelbis, Kate Fehlhaber, and Jen Smith

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4 thoughts on “4 Reasons to Read Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl

  1. Yes, I have read Gone Girl. I agree that it was such a thrilling read, with many twists and turns. But I was not pleased with the ending. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but would like to. I always seem to like the book more. I just finished reading The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks (picked it up on a whim at the airport), and now I see it is soon to be a movie. I’m SURE the book was better! 🙂

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    • I agree; I didn’t like the ending. It was probably why I gave it 3 out of 5 stars, but after watching the moving and reading some of the discussion questions (which I tend to avoid before I read the book) I feel compelled to reread. Funny story… I was on a group project in college with the male lead in The Longest Ride. I did a double take when I saw the preview!

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