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I bought and read this book as I prefer to before the film comes out. I read it in 3 days on holiday and initially could not put it down.
I love the idea of the story although at times it could drag and needed something to make it slightly better. I like the story and Gillian Flynn is a very good writer, this hasn't put me off wanting to read her other novels and I did enjoy the film, but like most I prefer the book as I think reading can give you a better vision as to how it should be.
I bought this book some time ago, and left it unattended on my bookshelf for some time. It wasn't until I saw the recent trailers for the film version (in cinemas now!) that I remembered about it, and thought I'd better get on and read the book before the film got released so I could enjoy it before watching the movie.
The book by Gillian Flynn features a married couple, Nick and Amy, as the main characters. A seemingly perfect couple with an idyllic life together, but is everything as good as it seems? Nick is called home from work one day to find his home in a state of disarray, and his wife is gone. Why is Amy gone, and is Nick involved in her disappearance? The story is told from two perspectives; Nick's viewpoint which is set in the current timeline, and Amy's diary entries which are set in the time leading up to her disappearance. This is cleverly done to help you piece together the events and try to figure out what is going on here. The writer casts a lot of doubt and builds a growing sense of unease as Amy's diary entries shift from funny and romantic to frightened and threatened.
The plot develops over time and there are twists and shock reveals along the way. I was definitely on Team Nick throughout the book, and wanted desperately for him to come out on top despite the way that he was digger deeper and deeper into a bad place. Once you get through the main bulk of the book there is a major point of understanding reached, and things get even more crazy from here on. I loved that it was such an exciting read and I was thoroughly gripped the whole way through. I would recommend this to anyone who is a fan of thrillers and mind games.
I am really looking forward to seeing the movie tonight, I think Ben Affleck is the perfect casting choice for Nick. Apparently Gillian Flynn has rewritten the ending so I am hoping for a big surprise, and maybe even the ending that I had been wanting as I was reading. The book ending is very just and fits well, but it didn't quite satisfy me as I wanted a clear winner in the situation. Can't recommend this book enough, and on the strength of this I will certainly go on to read other works by Gillian Flynn.
I had recently read and reviewed a book that had been described as the UK version of Gone Girl. As it was a book that I really enjoyed, I was keen to try out this version of the story.
Nick and Amy Dunne have recently moved back to Nick’s hometown, despite Amy’s protests as Nick wanted to be closer to his dying mother following his redundancy.
On the day of their 5th wedding anniversary, everything is normal in the Dunne household. After going to work, Nick is advised that Amy has disappeared. Nick then finds himself in his worst nightmare – the police believe that he was somehow involved in Amy’s disappearance and the more he tries to protest his innocence, the more seems to happen that proves his guilt.
Meanwhile there is no sign of Amy anywhere and all signs point to that Nick is somehow involved. When the police uncover some clues that indicate that Nick is guilty, can Nick prove that he is innocent before it is all too late?
While this was a well written book that kept me guessing, there was something that prevented me from getting lost in the story. I wanted to love this book but there was something that stopped me. Maybe it was because the two main characters appeared to be so unlikeable or the annoying quizzes that kept appearing in Amy’s extracts but it didn’t grab me as much as I had hoped it would. I wasn’t overly bothered about the main characters and almost would have preferred had they managed to kill each other , that to have just ended it for both characters would have been a lot less painful.
I got the impression that the author was trying to write something dark and twisted but somehow this didn't manage to quite come across with the book. It seemed the characters were selfish and spoilt rather than evil. It read more as a dark chick lit style book rather than a psychological thriller style novel.
I wanted to love this book but there was something lacking for me. I wouldn’t let my review put you off though – if this is a book that you want to read then I would suggest that you give it a try. Considering the rave reviews that this book has on Amazon and from critics, there are lots of people who really liked this book and recommend it.
I was disappointed with this book and I didn’t think it was a great read but I can understand why other's really rated this book as there is suspense and it keeps you guessing. It’s a great idea for a book but I think it was poorly executed. While I think the author’s idea was to make this a very dark, evil story, there was just something that stopped this from being the deep psychological thriller I assume she had been hoping for.
Written by: Gillian Flynn,
My work colleague and I spend a lot of our evening shifts talking about books and tv series that we like and are reading/ watching. She had just finished reading gone girl and handed it to me and told me I had to read it. I am moving house very soon and am about to go on holiday so wasn't really keen on the idea of reading this book, it's 466 pages and with so much to do I didn't think I'd find the time. As promised I started reading it, just on my commute to work which was usually about half an hour by train, so I read an hour each day, I was extremely interested in the story but I felt like it was too repetitive so I told my work colleague one evening when she asked how the book was, that I was getting quite bored with it, there was nothing exciting happening it had gone quite stale. She agreed that at first when the major event happens the plot then becomes very repetitive she actually stopped reading it, read another book then continued but it does get better she promised. I just wanted to finish so I could hand it back to her. She was right of course once a twist in the story happened my 1 hour reading a day changed, I was gripped by the story.
Gone girl is about a woman named Amy 'Amazing Amy' she grew up with a book series called amazing Amy based on her life which made her very wealthy. Nick and Amy move from New York to Missouri to be closer to Nicks dying mother and father. Amy lends her parents a lot of money to help them out in a difficult time. With the last of her money she gives it to Nick to open his own bar with his twin sister Go. Nick and Amy's marriage becomes very difficult and it seems like it's coming to an end. The day of their 5th wedding anniversary, Amy goes missing. Nick is prime suspect after the police find out he increased Amy's life insurance, he used her money to open a business and appears not that bothered by the disappearance of his wife, he shows no emotion on tv. He also has no alibi for the morning that she disappeared and has a massive debt to pay.
I want to carry on explaining the story but I don't want to give away too much and ruin the story for anyone that hasn't and wants the read it.
Gone girl was a good book, it started off slow and I felt like it was very repetitive but once you're past that it's a fantastic read with loads of twists and turns. As a reader you will constantly change your mind on who you like/ trust, I felt cheated with the lies that I believed as well. The story is told by both Amy and Nick. With Amy's side keep a look at the date as it's important otherwise you might get confused between the two.
It's quite a complicated book, so much happens. So many twists that I'm left constantly surprised which I like.
About halfway through the book there was a massive twist that made me feel like going back to the start and rereading it again to see how I missed it. I didn't however go back to the beginning. I wouldn't recommend this book to young readers as there are some crude and horrific descriptions... Mainly towards the end. It's not a book that I would read again but I will definitely be reading more work from Gillian Flynn. I am sat here on my bed thinking what the hell have I just read? Who's side am I on? Both characters do awful things.
This book is about to be released in cinemas, October 3rd. I'm looking forward to going to watch it to compare to the book. It should be really interesting.
A bargain book buy
I was out recently with a friend and she mentioned she had just finished this book and highly recommended it. On the way home, waiting for the bus, I found it on amazon for just 99p so decide on the spur of the moment to download it to my Kindle. I really knew nothing at all about it, so started reading it with no idea what it was about or even the style or genre of the book.
The first chapter is narrated by Nick, who we find out lives in Missouri with his wife Amy and runs a bar with his twin sister Margo (or Go as she is called throughout the book). Nick arrives home from work on the day of his and Amy's 5th wedding anniversary to find Amy has disappeared. Nick then narrates alternate chapters, with the ones inbetween being excerpts from Amy's diary, starting when they first met. In the present day, narrated by Nick, we try and uncover what has happened to his wife, and moving back several years, we read the story of their relationship as it unfolds from Amy's point of view. This style of narration is interesting as we hear both characters' voices from different times, and we have to work out which is the more honest narrator as there are contradictions and mysteries that unravel. Then, half way through the book there is a twist ... which of course I won't give away here!
Staying a step ahead...
I found this a really well written, clever book, which does have twists and turns yet always remains pretty believable. You find yourself wondering who to trust and what has really gone on, and although you are sometimes given inklings as to what has happened, you have to think for yourself and try and stay a step ahead of the characters. The characters, while not always very likeable, are interesting and you find yourself switching sides as you read, as the true natures of the characters are revealed.
I really wasn't sure what to expect at the end, and although what actually happened wasn't what I wanted to happen, it was again quite a clever way of ending the book.
Overall I enjoyed this book, and if you like thrillers with a clever, psychological edge, then I would recommend this one. As with most of these types of book, you may have to suspend disbelief from time to time, but generally I thought this was a good read, and one where you really want to get to the end to find out what's happened. The characters in the book are, in the main, not the nicest, and this is pretty dark in places, so not one for you if you prefer a lighter read!
On the morning of Nick and Amy's wedding anniversary, she mysteriously disappears, leaving behind signs of a violent struggle. Of course, the police have to include the husband in their suspicions, and the way he acts and the secrets he hides don't really help his case at all.
Without giving too much away, one of the main characters Nick, isn't a very likeable character. You will find yourself swinging from loathing him one minute, to feeling sorry for him the very next.
For me, the book is good, but perhaps a little spoiled by all the hype around it, in that it's been blown up to be so great it fails to live up to expectations. I found it quite slow to start, and although there was a new twist in almost every single chapter - they start to get a little predictable as you go through the book, and you find yourself second guessing what's going to happen next.
In saying that, the author has went to great lengths to keep you guessing until the end. So sit back and enjoy it, and pretend you haven't heard anything about it!
It is the morning of Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary when Amy suddenly disappears and it's not too long before the police suspect Nick may be responsible. Amy's friends reveal she was afraid of Nick and kept secrets from him, but he swears this is not true. A police examination of his computer shows a history of strange searches which Nick states were not made by him. And then there are the persistant calls on his mobile phone. The 'evidence' mounts up, but as the finger points more and more towards Nick, he continues to protest his innocence.
If he is innocent, then what has happened to Amy?
Being a lover of thriller fiction, I am always on the lookout for a good thriller to read and earlier this year whilst sat on a plane going on holiday, the man sat next to me was reading this book. As you are sat so close together on a plane I couldn't help but notice the blurb on the back cover and it sounded like something I might enjoy. Add to this the 'thriller of the year' praise from the Observer emblazoned on the cover and also the claim that this book is the addictive No.1 US bestseller that everyone is talking about, I found myself making a mental note of the author and title, intending to get my hands on a copy of this book after my holiday.
A couple of weeks later I bought a copy and looked forward to reading it, hoping it was going to be as good as I thought it would be.
Gone Girl begins on the day of Nick and Amy's fifth wedding anniversary. The opening chapter is told from Nick's perspective which sets the theme for the rest of the book as Nick and Amy alternate chapters from their perspective, with some chapters going back in time to their life together before this particular anniversary.
This story is hard to describe without giving away any spoilers, but I will say that it plods along from the start in what I thought was only a slightly intriguing way. I had hoped it would excite me more from the start than it did, but I did find it strangely compelling enough to make me want to keep reading.
The best part came when a clever twist appeared, which really got me interested and made me change my opinion about the book so far up to that point, which had been that I was finding it a little predictable and thought I could guess what was going to happen.
I thought the twist was very cleverly thought out and revealed and the author must be given praise for this. More praise can be given for how the author portrays the mind of a narcissistic and at times sadistic, sociopath making this a very dark book.
The problem I had was that once the twist was revealed, from then on in I didn't really find anything that happened any great surprise. I did enjoy reading some of the ensuing events but at times I also got a little bored too.
I found I was trying to have some empathy for one of the characters but it wasn't possible and whilst this is not a complaint as the theme of the book is quite dark, I think this is what made it hard going at times for me personally as I found I didn't paricularly care for any of the characters.
Gone Girl is well written overall and very clever in parts, but I was left feeling it was a little too long and I was able to put it down on a few occasions and not pick it up again for a day or two. It was intriguing, but it didn't 'grip' me.
Indeed how can you not praise a book that so cleverly delves into and tears apart the minds of a husband and wife? It is devious, dark and intriguing but still only managed to grip me for a short spell.
I also held the belief throughout that the ending would be good, but it was a bit of a let down if I am honest. I was expecting some redemption and resolution after an intricate build up but whilst the final paragraph is quite good, instead of reaching a resolution you are left with something to think about. Clever maybe yes, but those like myself who expected a different ending are left wanting.
I was left unsure how to really rate this book and decided a three star rating would be appropriate for me. There are those who love this book and those who hate it it seems and I can see why. I think for the clever and intrguing parts and the way these are written it deserves five stars but the rest of it and the ending brought it down in my opinion. I would recommend this book because I can actually understand why some people really enjoyed it and I am interested to hear other people's thoughts on it. It would therefore be an interesting choice for a book club, but 'thriller of the year'? I don't think so.
'She was gone, and yet she was more present than anyone else. I'd fallen in love with Amy because I was the ultimate Nick with her. Loving her made me superhuman, it made me feel alive.'
On the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne comes home to discover the front door open, the living room in disarray, and his wife missing.
Nick appears exceptionally calm given the circumstances, and the police start to suspect him. Evidence against Nick keeps appearing, Amy Dunne's friends reveal that she was afraid of her husband and kept secrets from him. So what happened to Nick's beloved wife?
Let me just start by saying that I have never read a book like this before. As the story progressed I found it increasingly difficult to put this down, and when I did, I couldn't stop thinking about it until I picked it up again. I still can't stop thinking about it, even though I've finished it.
The story opens through the eyes of Nick on the day of his wife's disappearance. The narration of Nick was one of my favourite aspects of this book. I've never read a book where you actually start to suspect the narrator, since usually you see all of their innermost thoughts, so if they committed the crime you'd know. The interesting thing about Nick's narration is that he holds back from the reader. As you read further into the book, the secrets that Nick is holding back come out. I really enjoyed the concept of not really knowing Nick, despite seeing from his point of view. It created a real air of mystery around him and made for a really interesting read.
The story alternates between Nick's first person narration in the present, and Amy's diary entries in the past. The diary entries lead up to the day of her disappearance, and it's interesting to see the conflicting recollection of events between her side and Nick's side of the story. Nick often reflects on his past with Amy, and quite often Amy's side of events are so different from Nick's, that you're left wondering who you should believe. This conflict in stories made the book even more interesting, and made me want to keep reading to discover the truth.
One of the main themes of this book is the decline of Nick and Amy's marriage partly due to them both losing their jobs. I think this is very interesting, especially as we're currently in a recession. It really hits home how a recession can cause strain between a couple, as it becomes increasingly more difficult to stay afloat.
I have to say, this book is amazing. The twists were shocking and unpredictable. No detail is left out, the story is incredibly well thought out and it had me up all night with the book firmly gripped in my hands. I'd recommend this to anyone looking for an exciting and thrilling read that will keep you on your toes.
Gillian Flynn is an American author who has written three novels; Dark Places, Sharp Objects and Gone Girl. She has the ability to create an exciting novel with a complex plot and I'm a big fan after reading just one of her books. I'll be on the lookout for her other novels to read.
ISBN13 for this Edition - 9780753827666
ASIN for Kindle Edition - B007ZXK08C
Amazon prices: £3.75 Paperback
£2.99 Kindle Edition
So the blurb on the back say "Who are you?, What have we done to each other" A brief round-up of the back is that these are the questions Nick Dunne asks himself on his 5th wedding anniversary when his wife disappears. Her friends say she had secrets and was afraid of him, his pc shows strange searches and then there are the persistent calls to his mobile. So what has happened to Amy?
Now let me say that the title 'Gone Girl' and that little blurb didn't appeal to me too much, I can't put my finger on it. Perhaps, as a thriller fan it came across a little romantic and chick lit. As it happened it must have aroused a little interest or maybe it was the fact that it was a £1 in the charity shop, the 3 pages of praise may also have helped! And personally I hadn't heard all this hype that has been around about it, which is good as I probably wouldn't have bothered with it except maybe downloading it to put on my Kobo.
So to the story....
Due to them both losing their jobs Nick and Amy have had to leave their beloved apartment in New York and head back to his hometown, as well as being there to look after his terminally-ill mother and his father who has senile dementia.
As a couple their relationship starts to unravel then when Amy disappears, of course Nick becomes the prime suspect especially when a trail of clues seems to lead to him being involved with the disappearance.
The book itself is written in a very interesting way, you could call it a cliché one chapter being written by each character. Except in this one Nicks chapter is written in real time after the disappearance and Amys chapter is an excerpt from her diary leading towards the murder. Each chapter gives us a new facet to the characters personality and its not always good, what each chapter will do though is give you a bit of a shock or introduce a new twist, which I loved!
Nick is an interesting character, of course he is initially devastated by his wifes disappearance, then 'bam', a new revelation comes along, sometimes it will make you feel sorry, other times it will make you dislike him. This makes him less of a shallow character then many I have seen in books; there are many different depths to him.
Amy is another interesting one; in essence it is best that the two main characters are interesting! Again she will take you on a rollercoaster of emotions, hate, love and sympathy. I do hope that no reader says they can empathise with her though! Her whole life has been modelled around a series of books called 'Amazing Amy' which were invented by her parents and became the family income for a long time.
With these characters come that whole twist and trip thing though, you get half-way through and it's all changed.
To do too much in-depth analysis would, I fear, give some of the twists away, which I have to say dear reader I am struggling not to do!
There are other characters but not quite as involved, apart from maybe Go (Margot) Nicks twin sister, her and Nick own and run their own business which was funded by Amy with the last of her money. Go, of course, supports Nick but even she is beginning to question him as the story goes on, but with this book never following a straight line there becomes a point at which you think Go may be involved.
The detectives Boney and Gilpin are just straight forward characters, there to carry the story along really, rarely do we get an insight into who they are.
There's quite a few 'bit part' people but to talk about them or describe them would give away who they are and spoil the story. Essentially though the whole story is Nick and Amy. It really does have some amazingly good, life-like characters.
The story-line is far-fetched but scarily real at the same time, I loved the idea of the treasure hunt that Amy used to do on their Anniversary which of course she has left in place to do when she disappears, this very small thing increases the tension especially when you realise Nick hasn't told the police that Amy has still done it.
Although its set in their home-town the environment doesn't really play any point in this book, they could describe it as anywhere and it wouldn't make a difference. It doesn't need it though, there are not many books where the setting isn't that important but this is one of them
The end was horrible, not as in rubbish but it was one of those that left you on a bit of a cliff hanger, not quite knowing what was going to happen. But whatever it was, it wasn't going to be pretty!
This is one of the most difficult books I've ever had to review, imagine trying to review milk without saying its white comes from a cow and tastes creamy. Well that's what this has been like. Most of the characters don't matter, the scenery doesn't matter and I can't go in-depth about the story-line or characters!
I must therefore apologise dear reader if you feel a little cheated at the lack of information, but I've done what I can! Oh dear, I'm starting to sound like Amy! *wink,wink*
I'm impressed, I haven't had a book impress me like this in a little while, it came across quite new and interesting. I would definitely recommend this to a wide range of people. And I've already found Flynns other 2 books 'Sharp Objects' and 'Dark Places' which do sound rather interesting!
About this book
The plaudits for this book are huge, and I notice that it has 5 stars from 3 dooyoo ratings not to mention an overwhelming passion for the book from Amazon reviewers where over 1000 out of around 1500 reviewers awarded four or five stars. I am definitely in the minority with my view on the book - which is that this was one of the most unpleasant books I have ever read.
I have read a few decent books via Richard & Judy book club recommendations, and as soon as I saw the synopsis for "Gone Girl", I knew this would be my holiday reading back in January. I loved the synopsis, the notes on the back cover and it's tagline "Who are you, what have we done to each other?" ... it seemed to be right up my street. Amy Dunne disappears on her and husband Nick's 5th wedding anniversary and Nick is soon suspected by the police of being involved in her disappearance (or murder?).
Bearing in mind that it's now July and I've only just managed to finish it probably tells its own story about my connection with this book. I started it on that holiday, and have had two more goes at it in the meantime (which got me a total of about a third through the book) and finally yesterday decided I wanted to finish it - resulting in a late night last night, but just desperate to get it off my shelf (I hate leaving books unread!).
There were good points...
The plot itself, and the premise, are all good and there are twists and surprises along the way, it did keep me guessing and flitting from one scenario to the other in my mind for the first half of the book, which I think is the idea - it messes with your head, not knowing who or what to believe.
Insofar as I think we aren't supposed to like the two main characters, the writer does a good job. She paints them as really undesirable who have few - or no - redeeming features. I spoke to a friend who's read it and she said she sympathised with Nick, but personally I couldn't have cared less about either of them. The other main characters are well developed and I found I had a good idea of the kind of people Go, Desi and Amy's parents were.
The other thing I liked was the way it was written between the viewpoints of the two main characters, and through Amy's diary entries. At first I thought I was going to hate this, but as it went along I actually thought it worked well and it was the only thing that redeemed the ending, I like it when you see the same situation from two different viewpoints.
So what was the @!*i¿&@¡ problem?...
My biggest problem with the book was the writing - it was coarse and the language really crude - every offensive swear word you can imagine is in there (frequently) and while I appreciate it helps to paint a picture of some generally unpleasant characters it really didn't sit well with me. I don't consider myself a prude particularly and my own language leaves a lot to be desired at times, but some of the phrases and words in the book I just don't want to read - repeatedly. Maybe I'm more of a prude than I realise?!!
The other main problem was the ending. It was bizarre and felt rushed and all wrong, although again - maybe that was in keeping with the rest of the book, and was intended to be so. I also found it odd how things are sort of resolved at the start of Part Two. After that it was not really any surprise how things panned out.
I did feel there were some plot inconsistencies but I'm not really qualified to make such a statement with any conviction as I did end up skim reading large sections (mainly Amy's part) of the second half of the book, I couldn't wait to get it over with.
Overall, the fact that this book was written in horrible language about two unpleasant, unlikeable characters meant that for me there is nothing
Oh! Almost forgot...
I sould add that there was one thing I *loved* about this book! - The texture of the cover! It's a soft matt finish, extremely tactile, and the spine doesn't crease - very unusual and the best thing about it!
It makes you think about how do you really know someone when you marry them? Nick and Amy met fell in love but one day she disappears on their fifth wedding anniversary. Not knowing what has happened to his wife Nick is beside himself with worry. People, including the police point fingers at him and he is the prime suspect in his wife's disappearance. As the plot unfolds you start seeing a relationship of mistrust and lies. it makes you wonder how a marriage could even survive something like this.
I won't want to spoil the ending for anyone as its a very gripping story and I read this book in a few days, its a real page turner and it kept me hooked. I heard that this is going to be made into a film so I will be watching it and I hope its as successful as the book is.
Gone Girl is described as, "The addictive No. 1 US bestseller that everyone is talking about."
I first read about this book in the magazine Grazia and it mentioned how it was being read by anyone who's anyone is Hollywood and that it had been on Oprah etc and so I decided to give it a try. I ordered it from Amazon and it arrived in a matter of days and a paperback cost me £4.99.
The synopsis from the back of the book is as follows: "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?
You get to know Amy by a series of diary entries that begin when she firsts meets Nick, then at the start of their marriage, when they move back to his hometown and so on. You get to know Nick through his thoughts, starting on the day that Amy disappeared so you get a different perspective from each person. Nick has a twin sister Go, (Margo) who features quite a lot too. I'm not sure who to like in this book as it makes you have good feelings towards both Amy and Nick when you hear their different stories so I like how the author turns it about all the time and makes you question things.
It's described as a thriller but I don't really think its a thriller in the real sense of the word, although I really like it I think it's a bit mundane in places and to me it's more of a relationship book with some scaryish elements in it. It's hard not to say too much about this book without giving it away so I will say this, you will find out what happens and may or may not like the outcome, ha ha, cryptic but true but it's still got me thinking about it now so the book has definitely gotten to me.
I liked it because it has to do with a couple coming up to their 5th year wedding anniversary, just like my husband and I. Although we don't have any problems like the ones that Nick and Amy have in the book its interesting to see how two people can view the same situation in two very different ways and draw a completely different conclusion about how that situation went. I think it also taught me in a way how to be a better wife and partner and try to not let the little things slip liek they did in this marriage. The sentence, "There are two sides to every story" features on the front of the book and I think this is definitely a very poignant sentence and one to think about from time to time.
I finished this book, all 466 pages in a little over a week so it's a quick read and not taxing but a page turner and I always wanted to go back to it to find out what was happening. There's an interesting bit in the back entitled, "In conversation with Gillian Flynn," the author, where she talks about her characters and its interesting to read her take on things. The book is from Orion Books and has an ISBN of 978-0-7538-2766-6.
How much can you ever really know about the person you marry?
That is essentially the underlying theme of 'Gone Girl'. How much can you ever tell what another person is thinking? It's a pretty simple question, yet in the hands of Gillian Flynn, it helps to establish a psychological thriller of phenomenally tense and compelling proportions.
It's absolutely fascinating to read. As a single young woman myself, I found myself pouring over the pages, thinking 'Is this what all marriages are like? Is this how my marriage will end up?' Let my just say, God, I hope not, because the marriage of Nick and Amy is a relationship fraught with lies, manipulation, betrayal, doubt, and yep, you've guessed it, murder.
So let us start with a brief plot description. On the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne finds that his wife Amy has mysteriously disappeared. Like any ordinary couple, Nick and Amy have had their ups and downs, and right now are seemingly going through a bit of a rough patch after both losing their jobs, forcing them to move out of their hip New York apartment and back to Nick's Midwest small-town childhood home. Understandably, Nick is anxious to see his wife home safe and well, but of course, as anyone who had ever watched an episode of Law and Order can tell you, first things first: you check out the husband.
Must to his consternation, Nick immediately becomes prime suspect number one. During the investigation, a number of unsettling things are revealed about Amy's life, none of which Nick can verify, or even agree with. Amy's friends reveal that she was afraid of Nick, and kept secrets from him. He swears it isn't true. Despite his protestations of innocence, no one is able to confirm Nick's whereabouts on the morning of his wife's disappearance. Strange searches are discovered his computer, and his possessions start turning up in odd places. Soon enough, the whole town turns on Nick Dunne, and Nick Dunne can turn to no one.
For fear of giving anything else away, I'll end my plot description there. The last thing I want to do is spoil any plot twists or endings, so I'll keep quiet. But suffice to say, that this novel is definitely a contender for thriller of the year. With the characters of Nick and Amy, Gillian Flynn has created the most eloquent and well versed of plot devices: the unreliable narrator. The timelines flash back and forth between Nick on the day of Amy's disappearance, and Amy's diary entries from the early years of their marriage leading up to the present day, only with such conflicting accounts of their marriage, it's impossible to know who is telling the truth. It's not until midway through the book that you get to a breakthrough, and it's a jaw-dropping one at that. But even after the big reveal, Flynn still weaves a tension, uncertainty and suspense that stays with you right until the very last page.
The characters are not only realistic, but frighteningly so. My opinion of both Nick and Amy was constantly changing, fluctuating with every new piece of information revealed about them. This isn't a book that has a slow start. It's not a book that you have to read a few hundred pages to 'get into' it. The actions starts and pulls you in right from the get go.
With regards to any 'disadvantages' the book might have, I will only say this: on first reading it, the ending wasn't necessarily what I had hoped for. I can't really explain any more than that without giving everything away, but after closing the book, I did feel a tiny bit... shall we say, cheated? Only on deeper reflection, I think that the ending Flynn wrote was actually a rather more chilling, even devastating, finale than that which I would have wanted. I found myself still thinking about it days, even perhaps weeks, after I had put the book down. It had a sinister feel to it that literally leaves me with goosebumps when I think about it now. So actually, not a 'disadvantage' at all really!
So there you have it. With 'Gone Girl,' Gillian Flynn mixes toxic dialogue with two characters that are very much on the edge, and the result is a chilling, acerbic and witty portrayal of a marriage gone horribly, horribly wrong.