Friday, June 22, 2012

Gone Girl Review

It was chilly and overcast in the early part of this week and I needed to read a book to fit the weather and, of course, one that was very different from The American Heiress. I like to mix it up, you know. I am familiar with Gillian Flynn as she used to be a writer for Entertainment Weekly, one of my favorite magazines. Of course EW has been promoting this book all over the place and while I usually roll my eyes at that (they have to give her a good review, right?), when the book kept popping up all over the place, I finally looked into what it was all about.

Gone Girl is the story of a ridiculously messed up marriage. The book opens with Nick, waking up on his fifth wedding anniversary to Amy, who is downstairs cooking crepes for a special breakfast. It becomes clear quickly that things are not altogether right in their world. Nick is disgusted with his wife... or perhaps with himself for what he may or may not do to his wife. It's unclear at first, although when Amy disappears in the beginning of the book (the first chapter, I think) and leaves behind signs of a struggle, Nick immediately looks like the main suspect. He becomes more suspicious as the book goes on, especially as he slowly reveals more about himself that shows that he was purposely keeping details from the reader so they also grow suspicious of him.

Between Nick's chapters, which take place in the present, are Amy's chapters - excerpts from a diary that she kept from 2005 to 2012. These entries provide a chronological snapshot of their marriage, from their initial meeting at a party to the day of her disappearance. Amy presents herself as a loving, buoyant woman, who adores her husband, even if he has frozen her out of his life. She uprooted herself from Manhattan after they both lost their jobs and moved with him back to Missouri, his childhood home, to care for his elderly and sick parents. Amy is also the inspiration for the Amazing Amy series, books written by her parents featuring an all too perfect character. Is Amy really amazing? Is she as perfect as the character named for her? Is there truth to any of this?

The book is divided into three parts. The first presents Nick's story as he deals with Amy's disappearance, as well as the diary entries. Nick tries to spearhead a police investigation to get Amy back, but again, the reader starts to find out more and more about him and discovers that he is quite flawed and unlikable in a lot of ways, while Diary Amy becomes more and more adorable and sweet as the book goes on. For their anniversary, Amy set up a treasure hunt, one of their traditions, and Nick goes from place to place, piecing together the clues and, despite years of being dissatisfied with his wife, starting to fall for her all over again.

But is he falling for the right Amy? I'm not going into detail about the other two parts because the book is filled with twists and turns and I really don't want to spoil it for anyone. I found this novel to be completely gripping. I was stuck home for several hours yesterday, while my super fixed tiles in my bathroom, and I literally read all day. I have about 10% left this morning and when it was too hot to sleep past 6:30, I got up and finished the book. I can't say whether the ending was entirely satisfying for the reader but you definitely get the sense that characters got what they deserved. There are no stand out, lovable characters here, but that really works for the story. This book was certainly worth all the praise it has received and I will definitely be buying Gillian Flynn's other two novels soon.

NY Times Review

Buy it at amazon and Barnes & Noble

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