Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Review: ‘Gone Girl’ by Gillian Flynn

Marriage can be a real killer.

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?
(Amazon product description)

Wow.  This book was so not what I was expecting, and I mean that in the best possible sense. 

I have always said that no one can truly know what happens inside a marriage. For this reason, I try never to judge or pick sides when it comes to the marriages of my friends and family. Gone Girl is a perfect illustration of now different a marriage can really be compared to the way it appears from the outside. 

On the surface, Nick and Amy are perfect--good looking, successful, rich.  So when Amy goes missing the country is up in arms over the possibility that Nick is responsible for her disappearance.  As a reader, I wanted to believe in his innocence.  Nick doesn’t make it easy to keep that faith in him up.  He lies to the police, behaves strangely and holds his secrets close.  As the book progresses, the perfect Amy’s flaws begin to show also, deteriorating her character so much that you begin to feel Nick is better off without her. 

The cool thing about how this book is written is that it is first person point of view alternating between Nick and Amy.  This gives you glimpses into each of their heads.  However, this is a perfect example of unreliable narrators, because you can never really trust what either is tell you is the truth.  It makes for a fascinating read! 

My only sort of criticism is that when I finished reading it, I wanted to throw the book across the room.  The ending is so different than what I was expecting, and not what I wanted to have happen at all.  At the same time, it was strangely perfect.  I’m dying to talk to someone about this ending!  I think I will assign this to my book club next time it is my turn to pick the selection.

Gone Girl explores complex themes of trust, fidelity, child exploitation, economic recession, mental illness, bias in the media and the court of public opinion.  These themes are layered over a fast-paced, suspenseful plot, creating a rich and poignant novel.  One of my favorite books of 2012!

Overall, I give Gone Girl...

Plot - 5 bookmarks (intricate and fast-paced)
Character Development - 12 bookmarks!!!!  (Okay, so my rating system only goes to five, but this is my review, and I can rate it how I want.)
Mystery - 5 bookmarks (Not one that you are likely to figure out a head of time.)
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) - Rachel McAdams (Amy), Chris Pine (Nick), Ashley Greene (Andi), Cherry Jones (Bony)


  1. Totally agree. Wasn't the author amazing (no pun intended!) in how she gets you to root for two despicable characters?!

  2. Just read this last week, and I agree completely with your review. I wasn't anywhere close to solving the mystery, and I totally wanted to throw the book (okay, my Kindle) across the room when I was done with it.