Interestingly a lot of my students have read this book (and seen the film). I'm a tad shocked by that.
I'm no prude, but if books came with a rating like films do, it would surely say 'Adult Themes'. The language and sexual content in the book contribute but it's the (bleak) analysis of a marriage that runs throughout the storyline that would merit that rating.
At the end of the book Gillian Flynn thanks her husband profusely for his help with the novel but, man, what must he have been thinking - his wife thought of all this stuff. Doesn't exist in a vacuum. I'd have wondered - that's all I'm saying!
Having insight of the unique male and female perspective inside a marriage is crucial to understanding the couple's relationship and therefore the plot; teenage girls have no direct experience of that.
So for them - this is a thriller (as such I thought it was pretty predictable).
One of my Year 11 students, that makes her about 15, told me the ending was really disappointing. From a thriller point of view, where we're now conditioned to have a supposedly lifeless body spring to life holding a weapon, I can understand her opinion. From a dramatic exploration of sexual politics, the ending made perfect sense to me.
Why are my students even reading Gone Girl?
When I was 15 I was more interested in teenage themed fiction like Shardik (Richard Adams) and The Chocolate War (Robert Cormier) than grown up books like Ragtime (E.L. Doctorow), Marathon Man (William Goldman) or Zen and The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance (Robert M Pirsig). I read these later, and loved them, but not at 15.
Why is it kids want to grow up so fast now? Kids - take it easy! There is plenty of time to wallow in someone's twisted view of marriage.
Enjoy your youthful innocence. Read Watership Down or something!
Love and peace - Wozza