Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn has no fat; it is lean and trim of anything superfluous. Every detail hearkens back to something else. Each little thing drives along the plot in devious ways. It is one of the craziest books I have ever read. I don’t usually read thrillers, it’s just not my thing, but I had to see what all the hype was about.
The book follows the lives of Nick Dunne and Amy Elliott Dunne, a couple of five years with what appears to be a stagnated, vaguely turbulent marriage. First of all, this book is not what you think it is. As soon as you think you have your thumb on what it is about… TWIST! You are wrong! There is something even crazier than what came before. The book opens on Nick and Amy’s five-year anniversary. Amy goes missing. There appears to be signs of a struggle. Let the intrigue begin.
Because of the nature of the novel, I can’t get too much into the details. Suffice it to say, this book is an examination of marriage and relationships and who we are versus who we pretend to be. It is also one of the most terrifying books I have ever read. I was nauseated after I finished, legitimately sick to my stomach. I’ve never quite experienced anything like it. The story flip flops between Nick and Amy’s points of view in a way that is innovative and exciting. I enjoyed the structure.
I had a good time reading the book, in so far as my disbelief at the events that were transpiring was amusing. It is a decent read. It’s not the best book I’ve ever read, but it does keep you on the edge of your seat. I have no idea how they turned this thing into a movie.
I am now going to discuss some SPOILERS. Do not read on unless you have also read the book because SPOILERS are about to follow.
The structure of this book is flawless. The way Flynn has you flopping back and forth, taking sides between Nick and Amy is amazing. In the first few chapters, I was on Nick’s side. He seemed a nice guy with a cold, mean wife. But then I started reading Amy’s Diary, and Diary Amy is so fun, not to mention familiar. I am persuaded by Diary Amy that Nick must have done some pretty terrible things to make this “cool girl” seem so awful.
And then we find out about Andie and Nick’s infidelity. I was just so disappointed in Nick. We were rooting for you Nick! We were all rooting for you! Despite it, I still knew he didn’t kill Amy. I just knew. He didn’t have it in him. Even when Go seems to think the worst of him, I still didn’t think he did it. And THEN we get the BIG TWIST: AMY IS A COMPLETELY PSYCHOTIC SOCIOPATH.
I really did not see that coming. You got me Gone Girl. You got me real, real good. And the best part is that it makes so much sense. Her plan is totally insane, but it makes sense. Amy is a terrifying character: calculating, cunning, selfish, and without remorse. She is a fury of old: scorned and seeking vengeance. It wasn’t even fun to inhabit her voice; she made my skin crawl.
I wanted Nick to be able to escape her in the end. I wanted her to face justice and punishment. Whatever her parents “turned her into” doesn’t excuse her deeply disturbed behavior. I mean, she kills a man for god’s sake and nearly sent Nick to death row for a laugh. The fact that she ultimately captures Nick in the end reflects their punishments for lying about who they really were, for not listening, not understanding, the infidelity on Nick’s part. He has to live with the knowledge that he is married to a monster (and the constant fear she might turn on him) and she has to live with his resentment and pity. Still, it seems unfair, especially to Nick and more so to their unborn child.
I think I am supposed to have something poignant to say here, but the truth is, this is a really messed up book, but I don’t regret it. It’s one hell of a ride.
Until next time!