“Gone Girl” Book Review

Okay here are the facts: A few days ago, I would have told you that it is impossible for a story about a guy who gets framed for his wife’s disappearance to surprise me. However, after reading Gone Girl, I would beg to differ, my friends. This sexy thriller novel was published in June of 2012, quickly becoming a New York Times Bestseller. Written by modern-day feminist Gillian Flynn, the book also received high critical acclaim, and is considered one of the best books written in this decade. We follow Nick and Amy Dunne, a middle-class married couple in the late 2000’s. She is the subject of a series of children’s stories called “Amazing Amy,” and wrote personality quizzes for Entertainment Weekly in New York City. He is a movie-loving journalist who remains close to his twin sister. On the morning of their 5th anniversary, Amy suddenly goes missing, and in the days following her disappearance, Nick is put under police and media scrutiny. And as evidence starts being uncovered, speculation starts arising that maybe he is involved in her disappearance and potential murder. However, that’s merely what the ads have told you; in reality, there’s a lot more going on in the story. I’m going to try to avoid spoilers in this review just because it’s so hard to talk about Gone Girl without getting in-depth. One of the most fascinating aspects of this story is that it makes the reader feel like a bystander watching everything unfold on the news. You are not smarter than the book; not by a long shot. It keeps you guessing until the very end and boy what a finale that was. Ultimately, it jumps between two different time periods. The first one we see is told from Nick’s first-person perspective in the present day, as the investigation is going on. The other follows Amy’s diary entries from the moment she met Nick up to the point of her disappearance. However, it becomes clear at a point that neither of these two narrators are entirely forthright with the truth of what happened. It also deals with interesting and relevant themes dealing with modern American society. The hardships of a long-term relationship, the scrutiny of the media, and the effects of economic incompetence wrap this story in a nice bow. It’s almost as if Gillian Flynn saw how the Recession was affecting the moderate American populace and decided to have some commentary on it. In that, Gone Girl is written as more of a psychological character study than it is a typical mystery thriller. The characters are all frighteningly realistic and believable as human beings. The interactions between the detectives and Nick Dunne in the present day are really good. It proved that although Nick is really socially awkward and not party-friendly, he’s still relatable and I kept hoping that he was actually innocent of the crime. Meanwhile, his wife is easily the most intriguing and scene-stealing character in the book. You keep wondering what happened to her and want to see her relationship stay steady. Was she kidnapped? Was she murdered and hidden? Did she ever blow up against Nick? It’s these types of questions that make Gone Girl impossible to put down. Especially considering how long it is. I lost many hours of sleep at night reading this book. I felt like I was going to miss something important, so I chugged through over 400-odd pages to get to the end. And no, we’re not going to touch on the ending of the book. Do you see how hard it is for me to talk about this novel without spoiling anything major? I will say that Gone Girl transitioned perfectly into its movie adaptation, directed by David Fincher. Rosamund Pike was perfect in the role as Amy, conveying the same aurora of mystery and sexiness. And yes, this is a very dark book to read. I’m not saying it’s dark because of certain violence that happens at points. The story becomes more dreary and disturbing as it goes on and the sex scenes are described almost as graphically as Fifty Shades of Grey. To be clear, that is not a comparison; Gone Girl is a much better book than Fifty Shades. The dialogue was also really well-written throughout the novel. The characters often engage in small talk and bicker bach and forth. The story, as a whole, is funny in a really dark way sometimes. There was one instance where Nick’s sister was describing to him what to get Amy for their anniversary. I actually died laughing when I read it. Despite its mature content, Gone Girl is a sexy thriller with a dark, unpredictable story. After it came out. Many female writers were wanting to create the “next Gone Girl,” like The Girl on the Train. But they miss the point: Gone Girl will hold up for quite a long time, so trying to make the “next” of it is rather arbitrary. Don’t try to mess with that system. Instead, go read Gone Girl if you have the courage to withstand its dark characters and themes.

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