Gone Girl (Review)

January 29, 2013

Book cover for "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn.Title: Gone Girl

Author: Gillian Flynn

Narrators: Julia Whelan and Kirby Heyborne

Publication Year: 2012

Pages: 432 (audio length: 19 hours 11 minutes)

Genre: Fiction

Source: Audiobook version purchased from Audible.com

From the cover:

Marriage can be a real killer.

One of the most critically acclaimed suspense writers of our time, New York Times bestseller Gillian Flynn takes that statement to its darkest place in this unputdownable masterpiece about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong. The Chicago Tribune proclaimed that her work “draws you in and keeps you reading with the force of a pure but nasty addiction.” Gone Girl’s toxic mix of sharp-edged wit and deliciously chilling prose creates a nerve-fraying thriller that confounds you at every turn.

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?

With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.

I’ve seen this book reviewed in a multitude of places around the blogosphere, and with quite varying opinions. It seems, mostly, that people either love or hate it.

I loved it.

I have to admit that it took a few chapters to really get into Gone Girl, but once I was in, I was hooked. I’ll also admit that I didn’t love the characters. I mean, though, that I didn’t find them likeable and I didn’t sympathize with them, and not that they weren’t well-written. That, they definitely were. This is definitely something that Flynn seems to do well – the crafting of the plot and particularly of the complexities of her characters is what kept me interested until the end.

For quite a while, I couldn’t figure out what was happening in this book. What happened – did Nick really kill his wife? Or did someone else? I like a novel that can “trick” me like that. Often, I find that these things are too predictable, and it turns me off the farther we go along. By the time the “big reveal” happened in the book, I hadn’t figured it out on my own. Definitely a plus. And even after that, I wanted to know what had really happened, and how things would end. For me, reading a book with a bunch of characters that weren’t particularly sympathetic, this is a big deal. The twists and turns and the way that the whole narrative ended up flipped on its head just really worked for me, though I can see why it bothered some people.

Both the characters and the plot made for quite a bit to discuss when this came up in my book club a few months back. There’s lots of material there, lots of distinctive qualities and particularly interesting character development that was worth dissecting. It was definitely fun to think about the way that men, women, relationships, and dysfunction were portrayed in the novel.

As for the controversial ending … I didn’t love it. I’m a person who is partial to concrete endings – happy or otherwise – and this isn’t quite one of those. Even without loving the ending, though, Gone Girl was one of the most intriguing and fun reads that I’d picked up in quite a while. I liked listening to it in audiobook form as I felt that the narrators really brought some depth to the characters, but I probably would have enjoyed it in a traditional book format as well.

Definitely give this book a go. You’ll either love it or hate it, but either way, you’ll have lots of things to say about Gone Girl.

Rating:

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