The local library’s electronic checkout system didn’t like Gone Girl. A machine can’t tremble and sob, so it threw an error message instead and sent me to the human being at the desk. He picked up the book, did a double take and gave me a look. The look a man gives you when he sees you getting friendly with a woman he knows better than you do, and wishes he doesn’t. The look that says, ‘dude, I hope you know what you’re getting into’.
In this case, the woman’s hearing was muffled in the pages of the book he was barcoding, so he felt safe in warning me, ‘that is one cra-a-azy woman’.
Having read the book, it’s hard to come up with a more eloquent verdict than his, or that of the electronic reader that didn’t dare take responsibility for letting me leave the building with Gone Girl.
The verdict of the librarians, both machine and human, is as eloquent as I can get without giving away spoilers. The plot twisted and turned so much that I was never quite sure what was coming next. Several times I found myself misdirected into anticipating twists that never came and being deliciously surprised by what actually did happen. What bound it all together was the characters who were at once complex, flawed and so well realised that even their crazier decisions came across as logical and consistent.
It’s a very dark psychological thriller, that leaves redemption for the small screen and suggests that justice is dispensed by journalists as much as juries. It also drove me to keep turning the pages, motivated as much by morbid curiosity as by concern for the characters.
If Gone Girl is a cra-a-zy woman, she’s one whose acquaintance is worth the effort of making. As long as she stays safely between the pages of a book.