Friday, August 9, 2013

REVIEW: GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn

Title: Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Publication Date: May 24, 2012
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Reviewed by: Books4Tomorrow
Source: Purchased
My smiley rating: 5/5


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?


Let me start my review with how the ending made me feel when I finished this book a few hours ago. I felt overwhelmed, shocked, satisfied, afraid, and awed. If I was told to sum up this book in one sentence only, it would be this: hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. None, zero, zilch, nada, nothing.

Gone Girl is a complex read, but nothing overly complicated. Don’t expect to walk away from it unaffected, though. No matter what your gender or what relationship experiences you’ve had in life – good or bad – you’re going to experience a myriad of emotions while reading this novel and relating to these characters in one way or another. It’s impossible not to feel something for either or both of them. Depending on your own current or previous experience with a life partner, you’re going to pick a side in this book. However hard I tried to understand both these characters and feel compassion for them, I just couldn’t. I picked the one who in my opinion was the victim through all that happens in this story, and stuck with that character to the end. Although I have to admit, it wasn’t always easy.

And here’s something else you should know: this book will mess with your mind. It starts out real slow telling you how Nick and Amy met, how they fell in love, and what their relationship was like those first few glorious years. It was such a slow beginning, in my head I had already given it a three-star rating, because I was a little bored with all the theatrics and the giddiness of a new couple who viewed the world and their new relationship through rose-tinted lenses. Around twenty percent into the book, when things pointed to Nick (the husband) as the culprit in his wife, Amy’s disappearance, did I get interested enough to continue reading on. Almost halfway into the book, I was completely hooked. Was Amy murdered? Was she kidnapped? Did she run away? Where the heck is Amy, and why is Nick so evasive? I’m sure I had it all figured out.


Then the author goes, surprise! Whatever you thought you knew? With whomever you think your loyalties lie? Whichever direction you think this is going? You haven’t seen anything yet. Folks, I was – as the author had intended – shocked to the core. I didn’t see it coming. I never had a clue (even though I thought I did). All the mushy stuff at the start actually had a purpose…as I discovered during the rest of the story. To have created such psychologically intricate minds, such messed-up characters; such vindictive and manipulative personalities, is inarguably the work of a genius mind. A very insightful one at that. Honestly, sometimes it was so emotionally exhausting trying to stay a step ahead, I just had to put the book down and take a breather. But in the blink of an eye, I was reading again. Staying awake until the early hours of the morning, reading in the car, sneaking a peek while at the office, using every opportunity available to get tangled up in the war-zone of the Dunne’s nuclear marriage.

Gone Girl is not an easy book to read, but every minute spent reading it, makes it worthwhile at the end. The writing is superb, the plot absolutely exceptional and very cleverly done, and the characters flawed, self-righteous, terrifying - a watercolor of the darkest parts of the human mind. This book is a treasure trove of debatable topics perfect as a book club read. I recommend it to everyone over the age of eighteen, no matter what your genre of preference.


Most of the time while reading Gone Girl I had this song by Rihanna and Eminem playing in my head. Although I don’t count these two as my favorite artists, I find the idea behind Love the Way You Lie very appropriate as a sort of theme-song for this novel. You can listen to it here.


Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn has 54 734 reviews on Goodreads. Read it here.



Gillian Flynn is an American author and television critic for Entertainment Weekly. She has so far written three novels, Sharp Objects, for which she won the 2007 Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for the best thriller; Dark Places; and her best-selling third novel Gone Girl.

Her book has received wide praise, including from authors such as Stephen King. The dark plot revolves around a serial killer in a Missouri town, and the reporter who has returned from Chicago to cover the event. Themes include dysfunctional families, violence and self-harm.

In 2007 the novel was shortlisted for the Mystery Writers of America Edgar for Best First Novel by an American Writer, Crime Writers' Association Duncan Lawrie, CWA New Blood and Ian Fleming Steel Daggers, winning in the last two categories.

Flynn, who lives in Chicago, grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. She graduated at the University of Kansas, and qualified for a Master's degree from Northwestern University.


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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this book as well. And yes, the author plays with the reader and manipule you completely. That is the kind of things I like. Like thinking I know something and as you said "surprise!".