Emily Reads: Gone Girl

*This post is spoiler-free, just in case you haven't seen the movie or read the book.*

Okay, I know. I'm several years late on this, but I just finished Gone Girl a few weeks ago and it was phenomenal. I was thinking about what I would say in this post, but I'm at a loss for words. This is the only Gillian Flynn novel I have ever read, and I'm not sure I can read any of her other books because this is a masterpiece. Flynn's language is rich, but still easy to read. I love her voice. The best way I can describe this is through quote examples from the book because anything I say in my own words just won't do justice.

Most beautiful, good things were done by women people scorn.
I am a thornbush, bristling from the overattention of my parents, and he is a man of a million little fatherly stab wounds, and my thorns fit perfectly into them.
Tampon commercial, detergent commercial, maxi pad commercial, Windex commercial - you’d think all women do is clean and bleed.

Probably one of the most talked about passages in the book, or as Slate Magazine calls it, the book's "cultural legacy," is what's referred to as "The Cool Girl" speech. It's several pages long, so I won't paste all of it here, but I can't resist including some of it:

Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl.

Men actually think this girl exists. Maybe they’re fooled because so many women are willing to pretend to be this girl. For a long time Cool Girl offended me. I used to see men – friends, coworkers, strangers – giddy over these awful pretender women, and I’d want to sit these men down and calmly say: You are not dating a woman, you are dating a woman who has watched too many movies written by socially awkward men who’d like to believe that this kind of woman exists and might kiss them. I’d want to grab the poor guy by his lapels or messenger bag and say: The bitch doesn’t really love chili dogs that much – no one loves chili dogs that much! And the Cool Girls are even more pathetic: They’re not even pretending to be the woman they want to be, they’re pretending to be the woman a man wants them to be. Oh, and if you’re not a Cool Girl, I beg you not to believe that your man doesn’t want the Cool Girl. It may be a slightly different version – maybe he’s a vegetarian, so Cool Girl loves seitan and is great with dogs; or maybe he’s a hipster artist, so Cool Girl is a tattooed, bespectacled nerd who loves comics. There are variations to the window dressing, but believe me, he wants Cool Girl, who is basically the girl who likes every fucking thing he likes and doesn’t ever complain. (How do you know you’re not Cool Girl? Because he says things like: ‘I like strong women.’ If he says that to you, he will at some point fuck someone else. Because ‘I like strong women’ is code for ‘I hate strong women.’
— Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

So good. So true. So eloquent. Haven't we all been there? Haven't we all wanted and/or tried to like things that our guys like because it'll make them like us more? I love what Flynn is saying here. Have a mind of your own. Be your own person. Don't try to be something you aren't just to please someone else. I've been there, and the moment I finally realized, "I don't have to put up with this bullshit," was a liberating one.