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Yuck. Book Yuck.

So I decided to read Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl.  I did not care for it.  Not because it's badly written on a sentence level--Flynn's a good observer with a knack for description.  But what she sees is mostly the nastiest side of everything, which gets wearing for this reader.

And then there are the two viewpoint characters, who I will not term protagonists because they're really not pro anything.  One of them is merely self-involved, gormless, and kinda stupid.  The other is actively psychopathic and kinda evil.  I think the nature of the latter character is supposed to be a surprise to the reader, but again, this reader (that would be me) was not surprised.  Some of this lack of surprise was because I read the table of contents, in which the chapters are neatly labeled.  The central mystery of the first half of the book is: did our unreliable narrator husband kill his wife, who has disappeared?  There, in the table of contents is the answer: a section called something like "The Return."  Okay, that flattens out that bit of suspense.

But really, Flynn so telegraphs the nature of the psychopath that I was not in the least surprised to have my predictions validated.  Which left me with a nightmare plot: one of those stories in which a character keeps getting in worse and worse trouble with no way to retrieve the situation.  Maybe all this works better for readers who have not made a life out of reading genre fiction, but I can't see it.

Nicely wrought, predictable, and deeply unpleasant.  Yuck.

Comments

I no longer feel obligated to read these. How freeing!
One of the reasons my wife and I don't read any modern fiction (other than genre) is that it all seems to be about hopeless losers making bad decisions. (Rule One for reading the New Yorker is do not read the fiction.) Pfui.
There is good non-genre fiction out there... but you have to kiss a lot of frogs.
I so agree. The ending was especially unpleasant. Someone argued to me that the man and woman were equally messed up, but I think as you say that he's just your average schmuck and she's Evil Incarnate. And there's an innocent baby who'll pay for it all.

And predictable,yes, from about the second chapter.
Almost immediately I knew she was a liar from liarsville, and that her parents, in particular, were so narcissistically blinded to her nature that they had no clue what a monster she was. Felt sorry for the ex-boyfriend with mother issues, sorta. A little.
Thanks for the warning. (brrrrr)
All part of the service provided. 8)