Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Source: Hardcover, Published June 5th 2012 by Crown Publishers
On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media–as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents–the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter–but is he really a killer?
As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?
**Warning: Review contains spoilers**
“You have to read this!”
More often than not, when someone says the above statement to me about a book, I smile and inwardly sigh. Usually, someone will be talking about THE novel of the moment, and more often than not, I am left feeling underwhelmed about said very hyped about book. However, there was just something about Gone Girl that had my attention piqued from the get-go. Was it the eerily beautiful cover? My desire to read more suspense novels? The description of the story? I held off reading it for a while but finally, when a library co-worker who has similar taste in books recommended I just give it a go, I said I would.
And I did. I pretty much devoured Gone Girl over the course of two days. I can’t remember the last time I was so surprised outright by not just one, but multiple twists in a novel, and I can’t remember the last time I felt so disturbed by major characters. The outlined story sounds deceptively simple, no? Beautiful and smart wife goes missing on a fifth wedding anniversary; husband is distant, doesn’t appear too interested in her search and his alibi(s) don’t add up. Husband becomes the prime suspect…but did he do it? Could Nick Dunne be responsible for the presumed murder of Amy?
**Warning: Spoilers ahead**
Flynn turns what could have been a more run-of-the-mill whodunnit story into something more shocking and more psychologically morbid than I could have imagined. She turns a story about a failing marriage upside down and inside out (and back again). What you think you know about Amy, her personality, her early romance with Nick and what leads up to their anniversary day gone bad…What you think you know about Nick, his preppy handsomeness, his lack of interest in finding Amy, how he (mis)treats Amy…all of these things transform themselves with the major reveal- about Amy’s existence- that happens about a third of the way into the novel. Gone Girl is told in alternating chapters, rotating back and forth from Amy’s and Nick’s perspectives. I have read some reviews where the readers did not enjoy the rotating voices, but I thought that this was precisely what made the novel so strong and what really dug in and showcased the following: one, the scary genius and psychopathic tendencies of Amy; and two: Nick’s blindness, childishness and apathy.
Amy Elliot Dunne is perhaps the most heinous and frighteningly compelling character I have come across in ages (since… Voldemort, I think??); Nick is also quite a prize, easy to fault and scoff at (before revelations about his affair and even after the damning evidence that rolls out about Amy). I was going back on forth on the likability factor of the book, but now I think that Gone Girl is just not a book you are meant to like. It shocked, terrified and through certain sections, it moved me. I was taken in with how seamlessly Flynn weaves, winds, and surprises and evolves this journey of couple gone hideously, horrendously, horribly wrong. How Flynn ends the novel- how she leaves the relationship of Nick and Amy is a topic that I am sure will be argued and questioned for as long as people read this book.
Note: This review, written by me, originally appeared on Fabbity Fab Book Reviews. Minor edits may have been made.