Thursday, February 5, 2015

Gone Girl: Book Vs. Film

Yes, I know, I must be the last person on the planet to read Gone Girl. I've had the book for a while but just hadn't had the chance to read it yet. With the movie coming out on DVD I figured this was as good a time as any. Why not read the book then watch the movie and see how they compared? So that is exactly what I did!

Gone Girl: The Book


Mass Market Paperback: 560 pages
Publisher: Broadway Books (August 26, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0553418351
ISBN-13: 978-0553418354
On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?


What Did I Think About The Book?

I think it's fair to say that Gone Girl might be one of the most twisted books I have ever read! Its motely crew of unsympathetic characters - running the gambit from mildly offensive and unlikable all the way up the ladder to downright sociopathic - somehow made me care enough about their lives to want to keep turning the pages to see what happened to them and how they would react to the next ball that dropped in the continuous mystery of what was truth and what was illusion. Now how could they do that? Quite simply because the writing and story structure were phenomenal.
The story started out somewhat slow, showing this couple of good looking, seemingly enviable people, at a place where they have grown apart and are now more playacting at marriage then anything else. After only five years of marriage this couple have gone from being completely enamored with each other and living an idea life in New York City to living a shell of a life in Nick Dunne's hometown in Missouri. Then Nick comes home the afternoon of his anniversary to find his house in disarray and his wife, Amy, missing. And at this point, when the story begins to spin a little faster, my attention was peeked.
My very first instincts about this couple were that Nick was an uncaring, indifferent jerk of a husband and Amy was kind of a hyperactive, spastic wife. They seem about as different as two people can be: Nick comes from working class stock, always bottling up his feelings and trying desperately not to become his emotionally abusive father; Amy is a spoiled rich girl who is always going a million miles a minute and is disappointed when the world can't keep up with her. Seeing these two people as they had become and watching how Nick deals with Amy's disappearance and the mounting evidence that seems to point towards him having a hand in it, I thought I had a handle on what was really happening. And then about half way through the novel we find out what REALLY happened to Amy and I had to throw out everything I thought I had figured out. And it is at this point in the story that things get really good!
I don't want to say too much about the second half of the novel because I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't read it, but be prepared to either want to keep reading no matter what you have to give up in order to do so or to keep putting the book down and starring at it because you are a little (ok a lot) freaked out about what is going on within the pages. I battled against these two feelings for much of the novel and was just in awe not only at the depths of crazy going on but at this wonderfully involved and plotted story.
The writing is just brilliant, with all these witty quips and a natural flow that seems so effortless when I can only imagine the thought and planning that had to go into its twisting and changing storyline. There are so many little points that have to be taken into consideration in order for the rest of the plot to keep working, much of it dealing with criminal evidence and the legal system, and when you think you have an "a ha" moment you realize how  many balls are stilling spinning in the air and how  much you still don't know. Getting the story from the minds of both Nick and Amy and from Amy's diary entries allows the reader to feel a part of the inner turmoil while those characters on the outside have no idea. But even being right in the thick of it only those with a mind as distorted and perverse as the ultimate sociopath in the story would be able to fully see the final outcome. 
Gone Girl is a frightening insight into just how much you can't know a person and how anyone can pretend to be whomever they choose, at least for a while. I'm still slightly stunned by the ending, which I can't say I found satisfying at all but which does seem to fit into what the reader learns about these characters.  I am whole heartedly impressed with Gillian Flynn's writing and will be sure to read her other novels as well to see how they compare.
My Rating: 4.5/5.0

Gone Girl: The Movie



 US Release Date  (in Theaters): October 3rd, 2014
US Release Date (DVD): January 13th, 2015
Director: David Fincher
Starring: Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike

What Did I Think About The Movie?

Let's face it...any reader knows that the book is usually better than the movie. Being able to create your own images of the world going on within the pages allows the story to appear in your mind  just as you like it. Having that world adjusted and edited down by someone else in order to create the cinematic version inevitably has your favorite parts left out or your favorite scenes or lines altered.  I found the movie version of Gone Girl to fall into this same trap, but even with that being said I did enjoy the movie.
Ben Affleck's portrayal of Nick Dunne is EXACTLY what I pictured the character to be: charming and handsome yet smarmy and devoid of many of those sensitivity traits machismo men seem to be missing.  Yes, he's kind of a jerk but does that  make him a killer? Ben Affleck played this part perfectly and I think his performance as well as the interactions between him and the actress who played his sister were the most realistically played parts of the  movie.
Much of the rest of the acting left something to be desired. I found Rosamund Pike's portrayal of Amy a little harder and uncaring then I initially got from the book and found the actor's playing Amy's parents more manipulative and demanding as well. This could be somewhat due to the fact that I already know the direction the story is going in but either way they veered somewhat from my view of them in the book.
For much of the first half of the movie there are slight changes to the storyline but no omissions or additions that I found too glaring. Then the second half unfolded and the differences became more pronounced. One of my favorite scenes from the book, an interaction between Nick and an old friend of Amy's named Desi (played by Neil Patrick Harris) was completely cut out! It is an uber creepy scene and I think Neil Patrick Harris would have done an excellent job playing it. I can only assume it was cut for time, but in my opinion that cut was a mistake. There are also some changes to Amy's internal dialogue that I found disappointing, especially between Amy and Desi and, most notably of all, the final lines of the novel. If these would have been included it was have ended on such a creepy vibe (which is perfect given this story) but instead it just ended well.
All in all the movie was very good but just can't be compared to the book. I watched the movie with my husband, who had not read the book and knew nothing of what was to come, and he really enjoyed the movie with the exception of the ending (his reaction to the ending was hilarious...he just looked at me and said "what the hell just happened?!").
My Rating: 3.5/5.0  
Have you read or seen Gone Girl? What did you think? I'm dying to know how my view compares to others!



  1. It always seems to be the case that the book is better than the film. I haven't read it either, it must have been the number of pages that has turned me away. I am listening to The Light in the Ruins By Chris Bohjalian right now. I was startled at the beginning of the book and a little wary of what else is going to turn up. Think I will have to put some distance of time between this book and Gone Girl! Maybe listen to it on audio if I am lucky enough to win it. Also reading a book for review that I love, Lavina by Mary Marcus. It can be gritty but it has gentler moments.

    1. Hi Carol! I think I would be too scared to listen to Gone Girl on is pretty intense :). I have The Light in the Ruins on my wish list so I'm excited to hear what you think of it. I haven't hear of I Love Lavina so I will check that one out!

  2. You are at least next to last, I still haven't read it either. My daughter has a copy, and I will eventually borrow it from her. As far as the movie goes, I have heard via others that Ben Affleck does a very good job in his role.

    1. Yay I'm not the last one :)!! Well if you do get the chance to read it or watch the movie let me know what you think!