by Gillian Flynn
Suggestions For this Book Discussion
1. Everyone coming to this discussion should have finished the book. We had a couple people attend who had not read the book and we spent most of the meeting explaining all the twists and turns in the book and it ended using up most of our time.
2. Make sure to tell everyone to avoid any reviews or other discussions of the book until they have finished because their are big spoilers.
3. It's nice to have read the book twice and be able to discuss it from that point of view.
(these questions were compiled from various sources)
BEWARE OF SPOILERS!!
1. Did you like the style it was written in, alternating first person narratives, or was this irritating?
- Flynn reveals everyone’s character flaws piece by piece. How were you drawn in, not knowing all the facts right away? Were you anxious to learn more or irritated?
- Discuss Amy’s false diary, both as a narrative strategy by the author and as a device used by the character. How does the author use it to best effect? How does Amy use it?
2. In the first third of the book, did you think Nick was guilty? Why or why not?
In the second part of the book, once you know the truth, what did you think was going to happen with Nick and Amy?
- Was there a moment when you stopped feeling sorry for Amy? When did you start feeling sorry for Nick?
- Do you need a protagonist to root for? Most the characters are unlikeable. Did this diminish your enjoyment of the book or were you still fascinated?
- How does the book deal with the divide between perception and reality, or between public image and private lives? Which characters are most skillful at navigating this divide, and how?
- Amy is essentially a child celebrity. In today’s fame-fueled society, do you think children are protected from or exploited for fame? Would Amy be the same person today if she wasn’t featured in her parent’s books?
- Treasure hunts are typically considered romantic, yet Amy manages to make it predatory and calculating. How does Amy’s pre-planning make her crimes even more disturbing?
"Amy will kill a person to get what she wants and will bring a person into this world to get what she wants."
- What do we think of Nick?
- Nick stops strangling Amy and thinks,
"Who would I be without Amy to react to? Because she was right: As a man, I had been my most impressive when I loved her -- and I was my next best self when I hated her...I couldn't return to an average life" (396).
Is this believable?
Is it possible for Nick to be more fulfilled in an extraordinary relationship where he is understood even if it is manipulative an dangerous?
- What is Go’s role in the book?
- Why do you think the author wrote her as Nick’s twin?
- Literary use of a twin is usually to symbolize something mysterious, and dark.
- Is she a likable character?
- Did you feel something was off about their relationship?
- What about Desi?
- Is he a "Tool to inspire Amy to come back"
- Why did they have to kill him?
- What do you think of the use of the media?
- With media like Ellen Abbott (Nancy Grace) is anyone innocent until proven guilty anymore?
- Early on in the book, Amy writes in her diary:
"Because isn't that the point of every relationship: to be known by someone else, to be understood?" (29).
Toward the end of the book, on the night of Amy's return, when she is making the case for going forward together, here is what she says and Nick thinks:
"'Think about it, Nick, we know each other. Better than anyone in the world now.'
It was true that I'd had this feeling too, in the past month, when I wasn't wishing Amy harm. It would come to me at strange moments--in the middle of the night, up to take a piss, or in the morning pouring a bowl of cereal--I'd detect a nib of admiration, and more than that, fondness for my wife, right in the middle of me, right in the gut. To know exactly what I wanted to hear in those notes, to woo me back to her, even to predict all my wrong moves...the woman knew me cold...All this time I'd thought we were strangers, and it turned out we knew each other intuitively, in our bones, in our blood" (385).
To what extent do you think the desire to be understood drives relationships? Do you understand how this could be appealing to Nick despite everything else?
- At one point, Amy quotes the advice "Fake it until you make it." Later, Nick writes, "We pretend to be in love, and we do the things we like to do when we're in love, and it feels almost like love sometimes, because we are so perfectly putting ourselves through the paces" (404).
Generally speaking, do you think this is good marriage advice? Do Nick and Amy disprove this advice?
- How does marriage define a spouse’s character? If you are married (or have been married), how have you been bettered by your spouse? What bad habits or character traits have you inherited?
- Flynn has said about the ending, I wrote the ending that was the most unsettling to me. I am a big fan of the ending of unease. To me it feels real and it feels unnerving. Because you may not know exactly what is going to happen next in Gone Girl World, but you know it’s not good. What kind of endings do you like best?
- At the end Amy says "I really, truly wish he hadn’t said that. I keep thinking about it. I can’t stop." Do you think this is the author's set up for a sequel? If so what do you think would make a good sequel?
- How would you have liked it to end?
- Would you recommend this to someone?
- Was it unpleasant to read? Does it need to be pleasant?Resources
Other Books by Gillian Flynn
(click on the bookcover to purchase through Amazon.com)