Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

January 27, 2015
Michelle Riba, MD, MS, DFAPA, FAPM

Volume 32, Issue 1

When I ask friends and colleagues about this book, most of them have really enjoyed it and would love to discuss it with me if I let them . . . but I don’t want to. Here's why.

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I have to admit that I resisted reading the book. My 25-year-old daughter, Erica, cajoled me, wanting to share the “thrilling experience” and thought it would be a page-turner. She also wanted to see the movie with me, and as everyone knows, one should read the book before the movie version comes out.

So, I read the book . . . then I saw the movie. I found the book taxing to get through. I don’t particularly like reading one person’s perspective and then the other’s . . . but that is just a personal preference. Seems like some of the current series on television are using this methodology. That would be interesting to discuss; maybe it is a good strategy on a number of levels.

I don’t mind reading books, especially detective stories, in which there are sociopaths, or people with chaotic, disordered minds manifesting cruel or unusual behavior. With that said, I found the Gone Girl protagonists quite annoying and irritating. I kept turning the pages, but it was just to finish the book rather than to savor the story line. And then I saw the movie, which I know I wouldn’t have been able to follow without having read the book.

When I ask friends and colleagues about the book, most of them have really enjoyed it and would love to discuss it with me if I let them . . . but I don’t want to. Many want to discuss the ending and why they think there should have been a different conclusion. Some want to discuss their own emotions as they went through the book. I guess that is a great feat that an author can get us to have such feelings, to get us interested or excited, or very angry or sad.

Some of my non-psychiatrist friends want to find out what I, as a psychiatrist, thought about the protagonists. Do I have patients like this? What do I think was wrong with these folks? I always try to side step these issues because when I read a book, I genuinely try to read for enjoyment and to be a non-professional with works of fiction. It would be interesting to hear what your habits are and your experiences with this book/movie.

So, I am sorry if you wanted an in-depth review of Gone Girl. I bet many of you could have done a much better job. Like “everyone” else when it comes to Gone Girl, I wanted to let you know how I felt about it.