Title: Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
Publisher: Crown Publishers
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.
Definitely an interesting choice for my first book of the year for my Adult Fiction Challenge.
I’d heard a lot about this book in the past year or so. It was in the top 10 of The New York Times Bestsellers List for almost an entire year, if I remember correctly, and it was on plenty of best-of-the-year lists in 2012 (I think – it’s a little fuzzy, and this crazy book can probably be partially blamed). So, I’d heard plenty about this book, and pretty much everything said “Well, I can’t tell you anything because it’s best if you don’t know” and other things along that line. Well, as I may have mentioned before, I often feel the need to know exactly what happens. This can be helpful with sites like Recaptains, which help me keep up with plotlines for books I’d never actually like to read, but with this book I knew I just had to read it to know. I also knew they were making a movie out of it now, and if I ever see it, I’d much rather read the book first.
So, anyway, onto the book itself. Well, what can I say about this book? It’s divided into three different parts, with the first part the longest and full of the least amount of information. During the first part, you’re in the dark about many different things. This book definitely has a case of unreliable narrators. You get things from the point of view of Nick after his wife goes missing and a diary from his wife leading up to her disappearance. Even when things seem pretty straight-forward, the book might already be messing with your mind.
I really don’t want to be one of those people, but I think I’m going to have to be – there isn’t much I can talk about without risking giving things away. This is definitely a spoiler-free review, and if it’s not, feel free to yell (nicely) at me in the comments.
Anyway, what can I talk about? Well, this book took me a while to read – two weeks? A little more or less? – but that wasn’t a strike against it. As my second non-school-related adult book ever, I’m quickly realizing that I just read adult books slower. Sure, they tend to be longer than the majority of YA books, but I don’t think that’s the only reason. There seem to be a lot more meandering scenes, setting things up in a slow way that some people might dislike but I enjoyed. If I want a fast-paced story from start to finish, I think I’m more likely to find that in a YA book, but I really do like the change of pace in adult books.
The characters are something I can’t talk about too much without giving things away. I’ll just say this: I flip-flopped so much on my sympathy and dislike of Nick and Amy. By the end of the book, I’m still not quite sure what I think of them. I’ve seen (but not read, at risk of spoilers – though I suppose I can read them now) posts and such about unlikeable female protagonists and how they tend to be treated harsher than male protagonists who are just as prickly and unlikeable. I definitely understand some of those posts – I didn’t always like Amy, and would even kind of start rooting for Nick, but then I would immediately give myself a mental slap in the face and remember all the things that Nick’s done. Neither protagonist is perfect or even that likeable, but it often seems like they’re meant for each other in that way.
I think the ending is a big reason I didn’t rate this book higher. Again, no spoilers, but I just don’t know what to think about the ending. Things were not wrapped up in a way that I felt fulfilled, but it did seem a bit realistic (well, realistic considering the craziness of some of the things that happened in this book). If the ending wrapped things up perfectly like I kind of wish it would, then it would have gone against the rest of the book and wouldn’t have felt realistic at all. Not that the irrational part of my brain that always wants a happy ending would believe that.
So, to sum it up, what a book. It’s dark and twisty and has its share of characters that you probably won’t like all the time. It was certainly an interesting book to kick off my Adult Fiction Challenge with, and I think I might have to check out Gillian Flynn’s other two books or anything else she writes in the future, no matter how much they try to mess with my head.