31 March 2017

Gillian Flynn: Gone Girl

I honestly probably never would have read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn if Stefan hadn’t bought it for me, and it wasn’t until I saw this great quote from Flynn discussing female violence that I felt glad I’d actually read it. I’m at a point in my life where I feel very angry, and I like to say that whenever I’m rewatching the David Fincher film adaption of this book that the men in my life should take it as a direct threat.

To start, I should say I went into reading this book with very low expectations. I know this makes me sound like a snob but I don’t usually read those who-done-it, straight to best-seller list books. I also even thought that by reading this book it would ruin the experience of seeing a new Fincher movie. So I’ll share that Flynn quotation I love so much, seeing as it completely changed my opinion of the book: 

That’s always been part of my goal — to show the dark side of women. Men write about bad men all the time, and they’re called antiheroes. A theme that has always interested me is how women express anger, how women express violence. That is very much part of who women are, and it’s so unaddressed. A vast amount of literature deals with cycles of violence about men, antiheroes. Women lack that vocabulary."

I should also say from here down there will just be every possible spoiler, but I can’t imagine anyone would be reading this who hasn’t read the book or seen the movie. My experience with the book has changed since seeing the movie. 

I remember exactly where I was when I first read the big twist: Flynn ends Part 1 of the book and when you start the second part you’re surprised that Amy is narrating and that she is alive. She immediately goes off about how much she hates Nick and I remember being incredibly creeped out. I had just finished watching the first three episodes of Hannibal and thought I would try to read to take my mind off the show by reading. I ended up sleeping with all the lights on in my apartment and with the blinds pulled back so someone could call the police if I was being murdered.

Because he says things like: 'I like strong women.' If he says that to you, he will at some point fuck someone else. Because 'I like strong women' is code for 'I hate strong women'."

The book ends with Amy coming back and changing the narrative to look like she was kidnapped and Nick was framed. And after reading this book I remember feeling enraged that she gets away with it. I felt frustrated that Flynn would write such a bleak ending with no justice for Nick. But after watching the movie I completely changed my mind. The more times I watch the movie the more I think she was right to do what she did. I know this makes me sound like a psychopath, but look at this bit from the movie adaptation: 

Nick Dunne took my pride and my dignity and my hope and my money. He took and took from me until I no longer existed. That's murder. Let the punishment fit the crime."

As someone who is considering getting a Game of Thrones “All Men Must Die” flag to hang outside her apartment, this really struck a chord with me. Isn’t she right???? He took everything from her and then topped it off by cheating on her? God guys are horrible. Like I said, all men looking at this should feel threatened.

I did a little bit of reading while writing this review and saw that I am pretty alone in my take on this book / movie … with many calling it anti-feminist, misogynistic, and that it undermines victim’s credibility. But, I gotta say, Gone Girl makes me feel strong. I also think this translated in the film, especially with Reese Witherspoon’s production company Pacific Standard, which was created so Witherspoon’s daughter would grow up seeing interesting, dynamic female characters in film, took the reigns on the adaptation. I’m not well versed in feminist theory, and honestly I don’t know what I’m talking about really, but this is my experience reading it as a woman.

Tampon commercial, detergent commercial, maxi pad commercial, windex commercial - you'd think all women do is clean and bleed."

The other topic Flynn addresses is marriage. Do you ever really know what your spouse is thinking, even after all the time together?

The question I've asked more often during our marriage, if not out loud, if not to the person who could answer. I supposed these questions stormcloud over every marriage: What are you thinking? How are you feeling? Who are you? What have we done to each other? What will we do?"

This exact line is used in the movie, and it opens and ends the film. (***Note: Flynn wrote the screenplay for the movie***). I don't know, even just Amy saying early on "everyone told us marriage is hard work," is kind of all I needed to read. It's simple and obviously true. Frig I am also thinking about some line in a movie where they say "marriage is tough on marriage," but I can't remember where it is from ... same thing, so simply put and incredibly true. 

We weren’t ourselves when we fell in love, and when we became ourselves – surprise! – we were poison." 

And of course this applies to long-term relationships, my faaaaavourite thing to discuss. How at first everything seems so, so perfect because you're not just falling in love with someone else, you're also falling back in love with yourself. But then all of your real personality traits start to show ... selfish, uncommunicative, depressed, insecure, etc.

Can you imagine, finally showing your true self to your spouse, your soul mate, and having him not like you?"

I should say that I hate the "cool girl" monologue because it sort of feels more like she is attacking the girls who try and fit this stereotype than the horrible, awful guys that made it in the first place. However, that scene does a lot of good for Kit Kat bars, as I can't even think of this movie without craving one.

In the end, I don't think I would have appreciated this book as much if I didn't read that "women express violence" quote as mentioned above, or if I didn't think about it in relation to Fincher's movie. I can hardly remember reading the book, so when I find myself mulling over Nick's crime and punishment I am often only thinking about the film. 

My favourite delivery is near the end when Nick calls Amy a cunt and she responds with:

I'm the cunt you married. The only time you liked yourself was when you were trying to be someone this cunt might like. I'm not a quitter, I'm that cunt. I killed for you; who else can say that? You think you'd be happy with a nice Midwestern girl? No way, baby! I'm it.

I'll probably never read this book again in my life, and I honestly wouldn't even really recommend it to anyone, but I'll be thinking about the movie for a very, very long time. So watch out.

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