Backlist Book Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

gone-girl-book-cover-medThe following post contains spoilers for the book Gone Girl. If you haven’t read the book and don’t want to be spoiled I suggest you stop reading now.

It’s been a couple of years since Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl was released and for the most part I didn’t pay it any attention when it came out. I usually gravitate towards dystopian or historical fiction novels and Gillian Flynn existed somewhere on the opposite end of the spectrum for me.

My mom was talking about this book and claimed it was “so good” that there was “no way I can’t not think it’s good.” (Yes, I  do see the double negative in that statement.)  It took two attempts, almost two years apart for me to actually finish this best-selling novel.

The first time I tried reading it was shortly after it came out and I got less than fifty pages in before I thought: “What can make someone read a book about characters that clearly have such disdain for each other.”But of course,I kept being told of “The Twist” so, two years later I went to a used bookshop and purchased a movie-tie-in copy. This time I kept reading.

This is where the spoilers start. Seriously, if you don’t want to be spoiled stop reading. 

Gone Girl details the story of Nick and Amy Dunne on the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary. Nick is searching for a gift, and dreading Amy’s traditional treasure hunt when he comes home to find that Amy is gone.

In a scene that reads like every textbook crime novel the police begin investigating Amy’s disappearance and soon put Nick at the center of the scandal. But, where do the lies end?

About the first third of the book is split between Amy’s dairy which goes back seven years and Nick’s present day observations.  Part of the reason that I had such a problem reading this book was the apathic Nic who acted as guilty as possible. Add to that Amy’s sacharrine diary and the book was a bitter pill to swallow.

In part two, it is revealed that the diary we’ve been reading is fake and all part of the hoax Amy has planned to frame Nick for her disappearance and murder. The rest of the book puts us in Amy’s present day, in hiding, while she watches her plan unfold.

Had I not know about “the twist,” I would have stopped reading this book again. I spent 200 pages wishing horrible things on both of the characters, particularly Nick, who if I didn’t hate already had to announce that I would hate him with the introduction of Andi, his mistress.

So let’s keep take an objective look at these characters: Amy was a trust fund baby, she reasonably could have ended up with anyone, but sets her sites on Nick and doesn’t let go. She has this picture of what she deserves and expects Nick to be that idea without attempting to tell her what she wants out of a relationship. Call me crazy, but I don’t think these two ever had an open and honest conversation until the very end of the book.

After a series of highly somewhat predictable events, a broke Amy calls her ex-boyfriend to help her. Staying at his lake house, where he keeps her locked away like a doll, she sees on the news that Nick seems to have turned into the man she had wanted to marry. Of course, Amy hatches a plan to get herself out of the house including killing her ex-boyfriend and framing him for her abduction.

Her homecoming is not all she hoped, because Nick is understandably ticked about being framed for her murder.

In the end, Gone Girl is all about artiface. Nick and Amy’s life is all a show and will continue to be as the book reaches its conclusion. It’s lies on more lies. If there is any truth to Nick and Amy’s relationship you have to squint to find it.

While not a novel that focuses on the law enforcement side of the investigation, Amy’s story has many inconsistencies that many readers of mystery fiction will pick up on right away. The last twenty or so pages deal with those inconsistencies and prompt us to ask: How exactly did this woman get away with murder? 

Nethertheless, it was a good read until the end and I would recommend it if you can get through the first 200 pages.

Final Review: 3.5 Stars (Not my usual fare but interesting enough.)

Have you read Gone Girl? Leave me a comment below and tell me what you thought of the book. 


Published by Lauren Busser

Lauren Busser is a fiction writer and essayist. She is an associate editor at Tell-Tale TV, where she writes about all things tv. She has had fiction appear in five : 2 : one magazine’s #thesideshow and her nonfiction has appeared in Bitch Media and The Hartford Courant. You can find her talking about tv, film, and knitting on Twitter @LaurenBusser.

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