Gone Girl – Reading Discussion

GoneGirl-GillianFlynn

(Image via GoodReads)

Questions found on Lit Lovers.

1. Consider Amy and Nick Dunne as characters. Do you find them sympathetic…at first? Talk about the ways each reveals him/herself over the course of the novel. At what point do your sympathies begin to change (if they do)?

I was rarely sympathetic of Nick until the very end. I had sympathy for Diary Amy though; she completely had me fooled. I think it was easy to fool me because Nick was such a jerk even when he was telling the story from his view point. I frequently thought to myself, “Wow, Nick is such a jerk! He’s a real ass! What is this guy’s problem?” I was kind of sympathetic with the fact that he seemed “socially awkward” with the smiling at odd times and “freezing” on camera because I could relate to that. However, the lying and cheating was inexcusable. Not only lying about Andy but lying about small stuff with the cops. I just thought it was silly and caused unneeded problems for himself.

2. Nick insists from the beginning he had nothing to do with Amy’s disappearance. Did you believe him, initially? When did you begin to suspect that he might have something to do with it? At what point did you begin to think he might not?

Initially I did believe Nick, but after a few exchanges of stories, I started to doubt his innocent slightly. His personality and behavior in both Nick’s perspective story and Amy’s perspective story are terrible! I really didn’t like Nick. I didn’t like how he was constantly lying about the littlest of things and I found it extremely annoying that he wasn’t confiding in anyone, even his sister!  

3. How would you describe the couple’s marriage? What does it look like from the outside…and what does it look like from the inside? Where do the stress lines fall in their relationship?

I felt their marriage was definitely going through a long rough patch, but I felt like it was normal. I feel that their relationship was strained because there wasn’t enough honest communication going back and forth. I can see that both sides are probably extremely stubborn and believing that their way is the right way. I can see the Nick probably gives in more to Amy but he still wasn’t communicating with her his thoughts and concerns in fear of upsetting her. This is a big NO-NO! It’s one thing to give a little and drop the small stuff, but somewhere down the line you have to really communicate your needs and your concerns. If it got to the point where he felt he didn’t love her any more, he needed to talk to her and let her know that he’s unhappy. How can you fix something if both sides are pretending everything is OK? Cheating is NOT the answer no matter how bad things get. That only strains the relationship more.

4. On their fifth anniversary, Nick wonders, “What have we done to each other? What will we do?” Is that the kind of question that might present itself in any marriage? Yours? In other words, does this novel make you wonder about your own relationship? And can you ever truly know the other person?

I think this is a question that will arise in every marriage. Sometimes our bad habits carries over to our partner and vice versa. I think this is normal. The novel did make me think about my own marriage… would my husband ever be capable of doing something like this to me? Would I be capable of doing something like this to my husband? I don’t think so. What Amy did was pure evil! I mean, if I caught my husband cheating, I would definitely want revenge, but I’m not insane enough to try and get him killed for it. I’ll probably spit in his mouth wash or something. Maybe if I was really upset, use his toothbrush on the toilet and put it back where I found it! Haha teach him to cheat on me! ;P

Can you ever truly know the other person? I don’t think so. We all have secrets and dark places in our mind that we do not share with anyone; sometimes we fail to acknowledge it exist in ourselves. I don’t think anyone truly knows themselves completely so how can you expect someone else to truly know you?

5. Amy and Nick lie. When did you begin to suspect that the two were lying to one another…and to you, the reader? Why do they lie…what do they gain by it?

I don’t think Nick lied to the reader… I know he lied to the other characters in the book though. I didn’t know Amy was lying until the 2nd book when she admitted to faking the first persona! Like I said, I was completely fooled! I know Nick lied because he didn’t want to be bothered with more questions. Amy lied because she was trying to frame her husband for her murder!

6. Do you find the Gillian Flynn’s technique of alternating first-person narrations compelling…or irritating. Would you have preferred a single, straightforward narrator? What does the author gain by using two different voices?

I loved the alternating first-person narrating! It helps keep things fresh and interesting. It felt like I was reading a bunch of short stories so it made it much easier for me to move through the book.

7. A skillful mystery writer knows which details to reveal and when to reveal them. How much do you know…and when do you know it? In other words, how good is Flynn at burying her clues in plain sight? Now that you know how the story plays out, go back and pick out the clues she left behind for you.

I’d probably have to re-read the book to answer this one. I mean, I was surprised by many things but I’m not so sure she actually left any clues.

8. Flynn divides her narrative into two parts. Why? What are the difference between the two sections?

Well, the second part was crucial to reveal the mystery and story to the reader. It felt like Flynn decided it was enough teasing and suspense for the reader. The second half was needed to bring the story to it’s conclusion. In many ways, it also help bring in the narrative of a third person since Real Amy is a completely different person than Diary Amy. Again, I feel this helped keep the story refreshing… always adding in new elements to keep the story from becoming trite.

9. In what way does Amy’s background—her parents’ books about her perfection—affect her as an adult?

It made her think she had to be a certain way. I think she was trying too hard to live up to Amazing Amy that she eventually just cracked. The stress was too much for little Amy and she just cracked! I learned a valuable lesson from this book — don’t write a story with your child as the main character! Or rather, give the main character of your series the same name as any of your children!

10. The Dunnes move to North Carthage, near Hannibal, the home of Mark Twain. How has Tom Sawyer been worked into Gone Girl…and why? What does that extra-textual detail add to the story?

I’m sorry to say, if I paid attention more in school when I was made to read Tom Sawyer, I’d have a better answer to this question. Since I didn’t, I don’t really feel I can answer this question thoroughly. I have no idea how Tom Sawyer was worked into Gone Girl other than Nick played Tom Sawyer for whatever reason (school or work, I forgot) when he was younger.

11. Did you suspect Nick’s big secret? Were you surprised—shocked—by it? Or did you have an inkling?

I had a feeling Nick had been cheating. I thought he was cheating while the couple was still in New York though so that set me up to think he was capable of it the entire time. I thought it was strange that he missed his anniversary because he had to take some of the guys out to drink… really? What a terrible husband! At that moment I was thinking, “I bet he’s cheating and not out drinking with the guys.” I wasn’t that shocked when I found out he had been cheating.

12. Does Amy try hard enough to like North Carthage? Or is she truly a duck out of water, too urbane to ever fit into a small, Midwestern town?

I think Amy tried to fit in at North Carthage. I know she had to fake a lot of it, but at least she attempted even though she didn’t like it. Fake it til you make it! Even if she never end up liking it, I think she found it amusing to manipulate the local folk into whatever it was she wanted them to do. It would have kept her busy for a long while. She would have always found some new reason to manipulate those around her.

13. What are Amy’s treasure hunts all about? Why does she initiate them for Nick?

Amy’s treasure hunts were to keep the premise up. She makes a scavenger hunt every year for their anniversary. I think she also did it to torture Nick and also to mess with his head. I think that was explained fairly well in the book in both narrations.

14. Critics, to a one, talk about the book’s dark humor and author’s wit. What passages of the book do you find particularly funny?

I don’t have the book on me right now to pull the words out directly, but I really like the whole splurge Amy gave about “cool girls” being fake. How there are no such thing as a “cool girl” and that it’s just a persona girls put up to get the guy. Haha, I don’t know, it made me laugh and I felt like I could totally relate. In many ways, I felt real Amy matches my persona  with the things that she says. Obviously not completely because I’m not insane (I don’t think), but she’s very cynical but what she says is the truth.

15. Movie time: who would you like to see play what part?

Oh man… I’m terrible at actor and actresses names so I’m just going to reference it based on the characters I remember them as. For Amy, I can see the main actress from Notebook and also Regina (I think her name was Regina) in Mean Girls. The meanest of the Mean Girls. For Nick, I can see someone like the lead male in The Proposal with Sandra Bullock and incidentally I can see Sandra Bullock as Go. Haha