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?
I may possibly be the last person on the planet who has read this book (exaggeration, but it feels that way), so I figured it was time to finally give Gillian Flynn a go. I’ve been in the mood for thrillers lately, so it was the best of times to do so. And, I ended up liking the book. It’s not perfect by any means, but it’s an enjoyable read.
I will say, from the start, that I found the plot to be entirely predictable. I think if you’re someone who reads/watches a lot of thrillers or mysteries, you’ll be able to catch on fairly quickly. Its predictably doesn’t deter from enjoying the novel, but it does mean that some sections will seem to drag on, because you’ll know what’s going on and just want to move on to the next big moment.
That said, the utter dislikeability of both main characters left me engrossed in the areas the plot didn’t. Nick is a pretty detestable dude (at least to be in a relationship with), and Amy is…well, Amy is. She was probably the best part of the novel, because I enjoyed her complexity, and I loved the way Flynn decided to portray her–completely outside the realm of how women are typically portrayed. I don’t want to spoil anything in case any of you out there are like me and haven’t read the book yet, but Amy’s a great character.
Gone Girl is also extremely well written. There’s no denying that Flynn can tell a good story. Everyone in the novel feels realistic, even with how absurd it gets in moments. I wish there had been a bit more development with Go (Nick’s sister), because I do feel in times she just got slotted into the “miserable sister” category. I also wish we had gotten a bit more resolution when it came to Amy’s parents. (Those of you who have read the book should know which part I’m talking about!)
My favorite aspect of the novel was the “game” aspect that held up the first 150-or-so pages; when done well, that element provides a good sense of suspense. It provided a nice noir-esque sentiment. My least favorite aspect of the novel was probably the ending. It makes sense in the grand scheme of the novel, but I felt it was a bit anticlimactic.
All in all, I recommend the book if you’re a fan of thrillers. It’s engrossing, has unlikeable characters (which I’m a big fan of), and it’s well written. It’s nothing especially unique, but will entertain you for a day or two while you read it. While I had my issues with it, I definitely liked it enough to read Flynn’s other works, which I think says a lot about an author.
I’m looking forward to seeing the movie (because Rosamund Pike), so I might do a book-to-movie adaptation post when I watch it!
Until next time, happy reading!