Two films which are based on novels are currently out in Europe. As many claim books are always better than the films based on them, I read the books. One of them is “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn.
Quite a few film critics are gushing about both the film as well as the book. At least, the UK Guardian’s film review is less positive. After the book, I will certainly steer clear of the film. Especially, as the book’s author was very much involved in David Fincher’s film version of her book.
The thriller describes what is happening based on the husband’s point of view of events, as well as his wife’s diaries. At least, most of the book does. This double point of view may help develop plot, tension, suspense – but not in this dreadful novel. Much is predictable, the reader is hardly ever on edge. It is also difficult to feel any sympathy for the main characters nor the stereotype flat ones. The plot and its twists hardly ever surprise. It is all far too contrived. No idea why this book was hugely successful; it certainly was not addictive.
The only reason I kept going till the very end, was me hoping things would improve. However, after becoming desperate, about halfway through, I started leafing through the book while only reading the minimum number of words to ensure I grasped what was happening. Even this was an effort. I actually can’t remember when was the last time I resorted to this kind of skimming.
Just to give an impression what the book and film have in store, here is a citation from the gushy Guardian film review:
… Gone Girl’s revised stereotypes, like their much-decried predecessors, will doubtless leave their mark, since the film looks like being even more successful than the book. Gillian Flynn, who wrote both, seems to think her rendering of Amy will advance the female cause. According to her, “women have spent so many years girl-powering ourselves – to the point of almost parodic encouragement – we’ve left no room to acknowledge our dark side. Dark sides are important. They should be nurtured like nasty black orchids.” …
If this reads like disgusting blurb: the book is worse. But as Ben Affleck plays Amy’s husband, the film-version will undoubtedly reap praises, prizes, and end up being hugely successful. But though the Guardian’s film blog stresses the interesting gender stereo-type reversals – and doubts the female cause will be helped by this film (and novel). Though Gillian Flynn harps about female dark sides and black orchids – I will certainly not ask friends to fork out money to watch the film.
As for the book: there are far better ones with the same kind of theme, which are far less contrived, are readable, were hugely successful – and far more deserving of their success.
“Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn, Crown Publishing Group, 2012 is available in hard cover, pocket, Ebook.
For the Guardian review including bits of the film, as well as a discussion: “Gone Girl”