Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn (2012)
I had been itching to read this book for ages when a colleague on mine started reading it. I
begged asked her nicely if I could borrow it once she was done, and that’s how it finally came into my possession. Because of the hype, and the apt title of this blog, I thought it would be a good choice to feature here in a full length review.
‘What are you thinking, Amy? The question I’ve asked most often during our marriage, if not out loud, if not to the person who could answer. I suppose these questions stormcloud over every marriage: What are you thinking? How are you feeling? Who are you? What have we done to each other? What will we do?’
Just how well can you ever know the person you love? This is the question that Nick Dunne must ask himself on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, when his wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police immediately 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 aren’t his. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone. So what did really did happen to Nick’s beautiful wife? And what was left in that half-wrapped box left so casually on their marital bed? In this novel, marriage truly is the art of war…
As I began reading, I had little idea what the book was really about. Sure, I knew some guy’s wife disappears but that was about it. My colleague had mentioned that she found it difficult to get into, but the beginning was my favourite part. I fell in love with Nick instantly (and, I now know that as the reader, that is exactly what Flynn wants you to do) and enjoyed the shifting perspectives. Nick and Amy’s love story was beautifully written, and their chemistry was amazing. When that is then juxtaposed with Nick’s aggressive thoughts and Amy’s coldness and distance, the effect is jarring.
With the shifting perspectives comes the issue of terribly unreliable narrators. Flynn has both Amy and Nick withhold vital information from the reader until it can be withheld no more. The suspense that is created, the feeling of never knowing just who is telling the truth, is something that I really enjoyed. Some of my most favourite parts were the seemingly random bits of monologue that crept in. Amy’s rant about ‘Cool Girl’ and several of Nick’s passages, such as when he talks about not feeling like a real person.
As you have no doubt heard by now, there are several major twists in the story. Perhaps the most major twist happens rather early on in the book, something that I was not expecting. People have also spoken in awe of the ending, and thus built up in my mind, I was somewhat disappointed when I came to the end of the book. I turned the page to continue reading and found only the ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS section. I appreciate the ending for what it is, and kudos to Gillian Flynn for writing a somewhat unconventional ending to her novel.
Have you read Gone Girl? What did you think; does it live up to the hype?