Title: Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Adult Fiction
Format Read: Paperback, 475 pages
Publication Date: 3rd January 2013 by Phoenix
Synopsis: “Who are you?
What have we done to each other?
These are the questions Nick Dunne finds himself asking on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, when his wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police suspect Nick. Amy’s friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn’t true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they weren’t made by him. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone.
So what did happen to Nick’s beautiful wife?” (Taken from Goodreads)
This review has been sitting on the backburner for a while as I finished the book around two months ago, just before I watched the movie. As the blog usually focuses more on YA reads, I was debating whether to review this book at all. Then I thought, screw it, I read it so might as well review it. My blog, my rules 😛 It felt like suddenly this year I managed to cross the metaphorical divider that kept me from enjoying adult fiction previously. I’m not sure whether it’s because I’m growing up (HA!) or my interests are changing, but I’m glad my reading tastes are changing and that I’m allowing myself to explore other age groups.
Gone Girl was one of the ‘adult’ books that I read this year. It follows protagonist Nick Dunne, whose wife Amy disappeared suddenly from their new home. Evidence shows a struggle and as the story progresses, the signs start pointing towards Nick as the prime suspect in Amy’s alleged homicide.
The book is split into two parts for good reasons that I will not divulge as it plays a major role in the mystery of the story. This review will focus heavily on the first part for that reason. The first part follows Nick in present day as he assists the police in the investigation for Amy’s disappearance. His chapters are following by extracts from Amy’s diary, which tells a story about first love and the deteriorating marriage between Amy and Nick. Nick as a person wants to be loved by everyone and adopts a persona that he believes will showcase his innocence in the case. However, as new evidence turns up, Nick’s good-boy personality is soon tarnished and the media jumps at the chance to drag him through the mud. Amy’s diary highlights these changes in Nick throughout their relationship and her fear of her own husband in the concluding entries. What Nick knows in present day is a stark contrast to how Amy describes their life together in the diary. The reader is treated to both sides of the story without knowing who’s right and who’s wrong.
Flynn is a master storyteller as she’s able to engage the reader to swing back and forth between the two characters. Who is right? Who should we trust? Will there be justice? Nick and Amy are such human characters with many flaws. We get glimpses into their childhood and upbringing that have helped shape them into the people that they were at that point in the book. Amy is a person that yearns for perfection – for being the perfect ‘cool girl’, for overachieving in everything and for having the perfect husband by her side. This need was shaped by her parents who are famous for their ‘Amazing Amy’ children books, a character that is based on their daughter but more perfect. Nick on the other hand has always been the golden boy in the family and a much beloved person in his home town. He’s used to being loved by everyone, so when the media starts to swing the other way, he becomes flustered and unable to control his own anger.
Nick and Amy are by no means likeable, but they are real. While their personality and ‘lives’ are on the extreme end of the spectrum, I could easily imagine these types of people in the world. Their actions are of course exaggerated for story value, yet I found I could easily imagine similar people like them in our world. Their actions are selfish and self-rewarding, usually without thought of the people around them. In a way they’re both very manipulative and I could see why they’d both be attracted to each other.
The ending is where a majority of readers differ in opinion. I for one did find it frustrating, however I didn’t dispise it either. It was a form of justice in a way and explicitly highlights that sometimes ‘real’ life does not go the way you want it. And often happily ever after means to settle with the life choices you’ve made. It’s a very odd way to summarise the themes in this book, but that’s the message I got out of it. Oh, and also to never marry a crazy person, you know. This book will make you fear marriage, so choose your partner wisely! 😛
I wouldn’t recommend this book to everyone because it’s definitely not a book that attempts to satisfy every reader’s tastes. Some will love it, some will hate it. I personally enjoyed it a lot. Pick it up if you’re intrigued, and let me know what you think!
Read my review of the Gone Girl movie here!