Book Hungry Review: Gone Girl

gone-girl-book-cover-medMarriage 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. As The Washington Post proclaimed, 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 with 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’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick Dunne’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick Dunne isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but hearing from Amy through flashbacks in her diary reveal the perky 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 left in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

Employing her trademark razor-sharp writing and assured 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. (Cover image and summary source from Gillian Flynn’s website.)

Chosen by Patty, this month’s Book Hungry Book Club selection was GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn. First and foremost, wow… just… WOW. Like the summary above says, this tale is indeed a “nerve-fraying thriller that confounds you at every turn.”

The book is broken into three parts and the chapters alternate between Nick’s and Amy’s point of view. Switching back and forth from Nick’s real time POV and Amy’s POV via diary entries, I found the first part a bit difficult to get through. Nick painted one picture, Amy painted another, and neither picture was pretty. It gave me emotional whiplash. I couldn’t choose sides. That’s what a case of he said/she said begs us to do, right? Pick sides!

Then, reading the first few lines of Part 2 I thought “okay, everything will become clear now and I’ll be able to determine whose side I’m on.” But no. Negative. Not a chance. That’s when I realized I was on the ultimate crazy train ride to Dysfunction Junction. From that point on, both the crazy and my reading pace picked up speed. With each revelation, the tale became more and more maniacal. I couldn’t put the book down.

I held out hope that, in the end, I’d feel I could side with one of the characters–choose one to truly like. Ultimately, I can’t say I liked either of the main characters. But I was very intrigued by them; they were a study of antisocial personality disorder meets dependent personality disorder. While I can’t condone what these characters did to each other, I got why they did it. It is strange and disconcerting to admit that, on a very base level, I could actually relate to both Nick and Amy. That, I think, speaks to just how brilliant Gillian Flynn’s writing is. (Oh hush. I know what you’re thinking–or it speaks to just how crackpot YOU are.) 😉

How often does one recommend a novel even though one doesn’t like the main characters? At least in my case, practically never. But this book I must recommend. Gillian Flynn’s plot and writing are phenomenal. She dove headlong into the dark, raw elements of human behavior and I found it absolutely fascinating. If you like psychological thrillers, I think this story is for you. But don’t just take my word for it; find out what each of my Book Hungry gal pals thought of GONE GIRL, by clicking their names: Abby, Karla, Kelly, Patty.

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  1. abby mumford

     /  May 24, 2013

    Ooh, Blake, big words like “Antisocial Personality Disorder meets Dependent Personality Disorder” make this the smartest review! Very well articulated…but I’m sticking with my sussinct and less big wordy statement “hated the details, loved the big picture.”

    • simplyblake

       /  May 24, 2013

      Haha! I had to balance out my “crazy train ride to Dysfunction Junction” comment. 😉


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