January 22, 2014

Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

There’s something disturbing about recalling a warm memory and feeling utterly cold.

Synopsis:

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?

Wow. That was literally the first things I said, after closing my copy of Gone Girl. Just. Wow. It’s not often that a book surprises me, and it’s certainly not often that a book completely floors me. But this one sure did.

Told in alternating voices, we get an inside look into the less than idyllic marriage of Nick and Amy Dunne. I personally love a novel with dueling voices. When done badly, it can be a huge failure. But Ms. Flynn executed it perfectly. Each voice has their own (if quite ugly) personality which enhances the storyline, tenfold. One thing you have to remember? This story is completely manipulative. You think you’ve read stories with unreliable narrators before? Well, Flynn is a master of the unreliable narrator.

I won’t lie, when I first started the novel, I was feeling a bit let down. It’s a slow start. I already disliked Nick, not because of the growing marital problems that Amy’s private journal described, but because he comes across as a narcissistic and selfish coward who completely ignores his doting wife. But as the pages kept turning, I began to change my opinions and started hoping for a twist to this crazy story. A twist I wasn’t expecting at all but thought would be utterly delicious. And wouldn’t you know, as I reached Part Two of the story, I got my wish. And it was glorious.

What started out fairly slow, gained crazy fast momentum. I couldn’t put the book down and actually found myself losing sleep for work because I was so glued to the dark and intense storyline that Part Two provided. My opinions on the both Nick and Amy completely changed as well. I still found Nick to be narcissistic and cowardly. But I started to feel pretty damn sorry for him as well. Truth be told, many reviewers intensely disliked the characters. They simply are not easily likeable characters. But they are fascinating. And I have to admit, I may have a tiny girl crush on Amy. Which I don’t even want to speculate as to what that says about me! I apologize for being so vague, but unless I’m about to give spoilers (NEVER) I have to remain somewhat vague.

There is a reason that Gone Girl has remained on the bestseller’s list for two years. It’s worth the read. It’s a manipulative, gritty, deliciously dark psychological thriller and that twist … holy hell.

FOUR STARS