June 30, 2012

Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
Genre: Suspense/Thriller
Release Date: June 5, 2012


Marriage can be a real killer.

One of the most critically acclaimed suspense writers of our time, New York Times bestseller Gillian Flynn takes that statement to its darkest place in this unputdownable masterpiece about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong. The Chicago Tribune proclaimed that her work “draws you in and keeps you reading with the force of a pure but nasty addiction.” Gone Girl’s toxic mix of sharp-edged wit and deliciously chilling prose creates a nerve-fraying thriller that confounds you at every turn.

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?

With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.


There are always two words I use when describing Gillian Flynn’s novels: dark and twisted. I am a dedicated reader of Flynn’s and I mean these words as the highest compliment. All of her books have been the stuff of twisted nightmares, and her latest novel, Gone Girl, is no exception.

Gone Girl is a story about a marriage, the disappearance of the wife, Amy, on their fifth wedding anniversary and the subsequent police search and investigation that follows. The book is told in three parts, which really allows the reader a deep look inside the workings of this couple and their marriage. Every chapter in the book is in alternating points of view, oscillating between the husband, Nick, and Amy. In the first part of the book, we see Nick’s view of the disappearance in present time and we hear Amy’s version of past events through diary entries. We really come to empathize with Amy and her struggles to make her marriage work, to make her husband happy, and to do what’s needed of her. We also get to see Nick’s side of the story and we learn some unfavorable things about him that turn the reader against him. The second and third parts of the story are told in present time, but continue to be in alternating points of view between Amy and Nick and we learn what has really happened in the disappearance of Amy.

At first glance, Gone Girl is a deep, brutally honest look inside a marriage. It may be a troubled marriage – one with problems that most couples face. But thrown in along the way are subtle details that make you wonder what is really going on. Amy has disappeared and we find out that Nick and she were having marital issues. Why does Nick have these little secrets that don’t seem like much, but end up chewing away at our subconscious? The ultimate questions: What is really going on here? What really happened to Amy?

Flynn doesn’t let the reader wonder about things for long. In the second part of the book, she unveils the true happenings of the disappearance and of the circumstances leading up to it. All the little inconsistencies in some of the character’s stories are laid out and begin to fall into place. Even though it is blatantly explained what happened to Amy in the beginning of the second part of the book, Flynn doesn’t just stop there. She delves deeper into the inner workings of this couple and their marriage – into their very hearts and minds. What we end up seeing there is astonishing, bewildering, and sickening. Still, Flynn manages to write the story with such poise that it seems completely believable that this has occurred and could possibly – probably? – happen outside the frame of a novel as well.

Flynn’s writing style is some of the best I’ve ever experienced. The words seem to flow effortlessly together and the plot just seems like it was inevitable, like it was going to happen this way no matter what. The characters are so honest and flawed – so messed up – that they are utterly believable and heartfelt. The storyline is seamless and perfectly executed. She pulls you in from the very first sentence and doesn’t loosen her grip until well after you’ve read the last page. Flynn’s writing is addictive and I literally couldn’t stop reading the book. I had to see what happened next, had to try to figure out what was really going on. To me, that’s a sure sign of a great author – not being able to extricate yourself from the novel, even long after you’ve finished the last page. I certainly couldn’t pull myself away, much to the neglect of my household duties and my husband’s chagrin and when I had to stop reading for a bit, I went into a kind of stupor – wondering what could possibly be happening and trying to figure out how things were going to end.

Gone Girl definitely keeps with Flynn’s writing style of dark and twisted suspense thrillers, even though this wasn’t as outside the box as her other two novels were. This might’ve been even scarier because it was actually plausible. Flynn has written some of the best suspense thrillers on the market today and I am thoroughly pleased to say that Gone Girl does not disappoint.

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