“We weren’t ourselves when we fell in love, and when we became ourselves – surprise! – we were poison. We complete each other in the nastiest, ugliest possible way.”
TITLE & AUTHOR: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
PUBLISHED : April 22nd 2014, by Broadway Books
MY RATING: 5/5
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?
Dear readers, Gone Girl is not overrated, people are just spiteful and jealous, byeeee. I’m serious. This is a great fucking book, as is the movie. If you want to move earth to find a fault in something – guess what – you will. Nothing’s perfect, but this book comes close. Flynn’s books are dark and filled with violence, so if that’s not your thing, you can stop reading here, but if you’re not bothered and are 18+, do enjoy this review.
Now, how am I supposed to review a book that flips tables right in the middle? Talking about anything past the big reveal would be a spoiler, but talking only about things leading up to it might make it sound boring, hmm. In a way, Gone Girl is a revolutionary novel, because it started the avalanche of thrillers using a big reveal. Not many came close, unfortunately. The reveal is big why? Because it changes tracks, it changes the main characters and our impression of them, and it changes the whole point of the plot.
I’ll use mild spoilers. This is, after all, a famous book, and you’ve all seen the movie, probably. So, Amy and Nick are the perfect couple. She’s pretty and blonde, he’s handsome and charming. They give each other special gifts for each anniversary, they love each other and their new home in rural Missouri. Not quite so. Amy is a New York girl, smart, snappy, with a promising career, so when Nick drags her to a nowhere, Missouri, so he can be close to his ill mother, Amy tries to adjust. On the surface, it looks like she fit right in, but Nick should pay more attention, ammirite?
It all boils down to what happens when, after pretending, and adjusting and giving in for a long period of time, after losing yourself in a marriage that no longer works for you, after losing yourself period, a girl goes and snaps. Plus she’s a sociopath. Nick is no angel either, he’d done his share of not so charming things, but the question is, did he really deserve an experiment of these proportions played on him? If the roles were reversed, I honestly think we’d all crucify Nick.
It’s not really a spoiler to say that Amy’s snapping ordeal starts one morning when she disappears and Nick smells like a whole lotta main suspect. The husband always does it, right? And the picture the media paints of Amy is normally the one of a golden girl, a perfect child of her famous and rich parents who beg and grovel in front of cameras while Nick grins. His devil-may-care personality and total ignorance of his marriage and wife will dig him deep in his efforts to prove his innocence. In the end, it will be very difficult to discern the villain in this whole mess.
Gillian Flynn has a way with words, that should never even be questioned. The only dilemma is if you like really dark writing or not, because hers is pitch black. In those terms, Sharp Objects is on a much higher level, but Gone Girl has trigger warnings galore. Flynn’s characters are fleshed out and real and you will feel for them, even though no one’s quite the saint here. So far, all of her protagonists that I’ve read are damaged and flawed, and I’m on her third book. Amy and Nick are great characters, and be it disgust or hate or contempt, you will feel for them, you won’t be able to help it.
“There’s something disturbing about recalling a warm memory and feeling utterly cold.”
As I said, I’m currently finishing Flynn’s third novel, Dark Places, and after that I’m not sure what I’ll do, because she’s obviously a slow writer, and I need my dark thrillers. So, if you can recommend me a writer like her, preferably a female, writing female protagonists, hit me up in the comments. I should also mention that my copy of Gone Girl is 500+ pages long, and I’ve read it in two sittings – would in one but I’m on a sleep schedule. Her novels flow and stab, that’s what they do.