So, the first of her novels I read was Gone Girl, about 6 months ago, well in advance of the movie’s release. I thought it was a page-turner, abundantly mean, interesting characters — Nick Flynn, who as we all know is accused of his wife’s murder (Amy Flynn, Amazing Amy) when she disappears, Amy herself, Amy’s parents, Nick’s sister Margo. All sorts of evidence keeps turning up that makes it look as though Nick (who’s a bit of a snob, a sexist, and a pig, as well as a bit of a drunk) probably murdered Amy and disappeared her body.
Won’t say anything more, ’cause maybe some of you haven’t read the book or seen the movie. BTW, I eagerly awaited the movie’s release, since I’d enjoyed the book and since David Fincher (of Fight Club, Seven and Panic Room, among others) directed, and Ben Affleck & Rosamund Pike starred.
I next read Flynn’s Dark Places, or at least I started it — had to put it down about 70 pages in, because I found it just too grim (which is sort of a compliment, really). It’s about the survivor of a serial murder — Lily was a small child when her family was murdered, and she managed to hide in a closet. Her brother Ben is in prison for the murder, but she’s doubtful about whether or not he did it — but also strapped for cash and therefore willing to take money from a group of weirdos obsessed with the murder for making a speech and answering questions, for handing over family pictures and other artifacts. Yuck.
Just too grim, but I picked it up and finished soon. In her acknowledgments, Flynn thanks her husband, whom (she notes) still sleeps with her every night “even though he knows how my mind works.” Funny, in an arch and somewhat mournful way, huh?
A couple of weeks ago my friend Sam passed on Flynn’s Sharp Objects to me, and it’s my favorite of the three Flynn novels — it’s protagonist and narrator, Camille Preaker, is a reporter in Chicago. Her editor assigns her to go back to her hometown, Wind Gap, Missouri, and rustle up a story on the murders of two young girls there. Stephen King, known for his generous book jacket blurbs and forewords, says that he “dreaded” the book’s final 30 pages but couldn’t stop turning them. He notes that afterward, the book “coiled in my mind like a snake.” Exactly. Camille Preaker is in just about every significant way a mess, and returning to her hometown and her mother’s house to investigate the murders doesn’t mitigate her unhappiness one bit.
Recommend all three books and the Gone Girl movie. Hope someone decides to make a movie of Sharp Objects. Camille’s mom, Adora, would be a great role — Susan Sarandon, Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, are you listening?