By: Gillian Flynn
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase
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?
Okay, you guys know of my aversion of reading books that are super hyped up and popular amongst readers at the moment, right? Nonetheless I was somewhat curious about this book + people have recommended it to me (thanks, cuz!) + an movie adaptation directed by David Lynch is coming out this autumn:
So yes, I finally got around to picking up the book and reading it for myself what everyone was talking about 😉 Contains spoilers ahead!
Okay, I knew going into this novel that was going to be a level of WTF going on, but as I mentioned on GoodReads last week, seriously, WTF! O_o
Not my gif, but the reaction seems apt enough
For starters: this book had be glued. I also missed my stop because I just had to know what was going to happen next. The structure of the novel was interesting, telling it from Nick’s and Amy’s perspectives–at different time periods, mind you, but they all start tying together by the second half of the novel. It’s also a great way to learn more about the characters and get into their headspace and their perspective on events. It’s also an interesting way of carrying the story because I found my sympathies shifting depending on what’s happening at any given time.
Suffice to say, at the end, I just disliked both characters. Yes, characters have flaws, but these two are on some special level of messsed up (stronger words came to mind here, but I’ll leave it at that). I had a feeling that there was a lot more underneath the surface than either of these characters were letting on; Nick seemed a little more straightforward of the two (and a prime example of the unreliable narrator, hiding details from the reader too =P), but the extent of what Amy is all about was pretty crazy (no pun intended…?), nerve-wrecking, and disturbing. Puts a new twist to “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”
But the book also raises some interesting questions about identity, who we are and what we bring to relationships, the extent of compromise, what we want out of certain situations & expectations, etc. I mention identity because Amy raises some interesting points about the “cool girl” mystique in the dating scene, but also expands to marriage and how much of ourselves to we reveal to our spouses. I liked how the author used the mystery in a way to touch on all sorts of marital issues. Overall, it’s interesting, but it’s also rather cyncial, aggravated with the lack of communication and trust (ultimately, I think) and effort. In fact, the novel pretty much had a rather cynical look at people in general/dark sides of what people do.
I was initially going to rate this book a full five but the reason it’s not is because of the ending. I was hoping for a more definitive ending, a sense of finality, as opposed to the mental stalemate that we got. I wonder if this is the part of the ending that they are saying has been changed for the movie adaptation. In the context of the rest of the novel and the journey of the characters, it makes sense, I suppose, that Nick and Amy are battling it out on a level playing field, but it’s not really satisfying. If anything, I felt exhausted for the both of them (how messed up they are and however messed up the situation is) =S
Overall, Gone Girl was a pretty entertaining read (again, riveting enough to almost make me miss my stop =P): it was engaging, it made me think and wonder what was really going on. I can see now why and how last year’s The Silent Wife (review) is compared to this book. Fans of thrillers and novels featuring quite a deal of conflict between the central characters–in a marriage or not–will want to check this title out.