Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, who hasn’t read it. Seriously, everyone I know has and they did a fantastic job of keeping the twist from me until I read it. I jumped out of my comfort zone by reading this, because as a fantasy geek I rarely read anything else but as I am coming out of my shell, I read this to see if it did anything for me. It sort of did because I liked and disliked it in equal parts. Either way I think that Gillian is a talented writer and has an extraordinary gift for her genre.
Readers beware there will be spoilers here!
Gillian was born in Kansas City Missouri to a family of book and movie lovers. For college she went to the University of Kansas to complete a double degree in English and Journalism. However, working in a trade magazine did not cut it for her and she ventured to Chicago to where she earned her masters degree in journalism at the Northwestern University. This helped her land a TV critic position at Entertainment Weekly in New York where she stayed for 10 years. She now lives in Chicago with her husband and son, as well as their cat.
What Is It About
Nick and Amy had the perfect marriage until one day they both just stopped trying. It lead to lying, cheating and resentment. Then on the day of their fifth wedding anniversary Amy disappears and the house is laden with signs of a struggle. Everyone suspects Nick and despite being hopeful that Amy is alive, there was the issue of the large pile of blood mopped up in their kitchen. Their story is revealed slowly from when they first met until that fateful day and things are not as they appear in their marriage. They are not who they appear to the world around them.
From the first second I was hooked. From the premise you already know his wife goes missing so the first thing you read on the first page is “Like a child, I picture opening her skull, unspooling her brain….” She is setting you up to think that Nick (the husband) is the one who killed his wife. The way she does it is so eloquent and subtle. She makes it seem that it was your idea that he was guilty and she had nothing to do with it.
I have to say that I loved the structure and method of approach. The diary form was genius and interjecting it within the everyday happenings of Nick Dunn as his wife was missing put the nail in the coffin for him for most readers. However, I am not most readers. I am a great predictor of plot lines and the big twist where Amy is actually alive-I knew it from the first page.
However, the way Gillian structured it beginning with the day of Amy’s disappearance was fantastic as you get put straight into the action. As well as the fact she split the book up into three sections Part One: Boy Loses Girl, Part 2: Boy Meets Girl, Part 3: Boy Gets Girl Back (Or Vice Versa). I think that it clearly defines the evolution of the story and creates a good division for the transitions between the two points of view. Mainly part one was Nick but it has bits of Amy in it, whereas part two is mainly driven by Amy and the third is where they both come together.
The whole story was extremely visual, from the people and the way they looked, to the places. Amy, Nick and Jo were the main ones where I had a face plastered to them instantly. The Bar where Nick and Jo work was so clear in my mind, right down to the mud brown bar table and the crowd who hang out there. The other place which hauntingly stood out to me was Nick’s fathers old run down house with its emptiness and bad memories.
As for Amy, I love the crazy ones. I thought that Amy was great! A true believable psycho and had the effect of making you analyse yourself for her crazy behaviour. I found her realistic the entire time, from her diary entries, flashbacks and stories people would say about her. I thought she was a likeable character, but I didn’t really like her that much as her diary self. When she came out to be a psycho however, I thought she was brilliant. I really liked the honest horrible self she truly was now that she wasn’t pretending to be cool Amy. I found the way her mind worked was crazy and noticed that there actually are people who I have met in my life time like her- the punishers.
I found the book suspenseful, and I feel that was from her expertly used subtlety. However, it made the storyline move quite slowly and that is evident in the movie. The movie bored me to tears. To me it wasn’t really the action that kept me reading but the anticipation of the answer. There were times where I did get bored and put it down to read another time. The ending was what I was waiting for.
The ending of the book was great in my opinion. I know there are a lot of people out there who hated it and I think that was because they were looking for the traditional Hollywood ending were villain would get ending they deserve. Which in most of my friend’s opinions was Amy’s death. However, a novel is supposed to be character driven and Gone Girl is exactly that. The plot is driven by the main characters flaws and bad decisions. The ending where they end up staying together despite doing what she did is perfect for Nick and Amy. It is completely within character for them and utterly realistic. It was a twisted and self-destructive end, it echoes of a never ending cycle lies and bitterness- just like them as a couple.
You most likely will disagree with my view of the ending, but thinking about it in that way based on the characters minds, it makes sense. I liked it as my first crime book but at the same time I didn’t have a book hangover. It was well written but I wasn’t gripped by it. Although, I will be reading Gillian Flynn’s other works later on. What did you guys think of the book and the characters?