Friday, October 11, 2013
Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Publication Date: January 1, 2012
Source / Format: Library book!
Page Count: 415.
Goodreads & Amazon
On Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary, Amy disappears. All she leaves behind is a destroyed living room, and her annual scavenger hunt that she prepares for Nick every anniversary. Amy's disappearance quickly becomes a much talked-about case: she is beautiful, from money, and the inspiration behind her parents wildly popular book series Amazing Amy, which features the more perfect version of herself. Nick quickly becomes the target of scrutiny in the media, especially since everyone knows the husband always commits the crime. Nick, and his twin sister Margo, are the only ones who are confident in his innocence, but someone is making it very hard for him to prove it. He's also not helping himself with his stockpile of lies, strange behavior, and desire to always be the good guy. Nick becomes more determined than ever to find out what the hell happened to his wife. Told in alternating point of views between Nick present day, and old diary entries of Amy, we see the gritty details of a young marriage, and the fierceness of revenge.
I'd know her head anywhere. And what's inside it. I think of that too: her mind. Her brain, all those coils, and her thoughts shuttling through those coils like fast, frantic centipedes. Like a child, I picture opening her skull, unspooling her brain and sifting through it, trying to catch and pin down her thoughts. What are you thinking, Amy? The question I've asked most often during our marriage, if not out loud, if not to the person who could answer. I suppose these questions stormcloud over every marriage: What are you thinking? How are you feeling? Who are you? What have we done to each other? What will we do?
Another insanely hyped up book crossed off my to-be-read list! And another book that is well worth the buzz that has been following it around for the past two years. I read Sharp Objects by Flynn a couple of years ago for a class. I was glued to the pages and the untrustworthy characters within them. Sharp Objects packed a punch, and a plot twist that still has my mind reeling when I think about it. I knew that if Gone Girl could live up to that, I would be happy. And it so, so did. This novel is over four-hundred pages, yet I read it in a little over three days. I stayed up into the early hours of the morning unable to put it down. I read through my lunch breaks at work, and twenty minutes never ever seemed long enough. I rode the bus instead of biking home so I would have more reading time.
He promised to take care of me, and yet I feel afraid. I feel like something is going wrong, very wrong, and that it will get even worse. I don't feel like Nick's wife. I don't feel like a person at all: I am something to be loaded and unloaded, like a sofa or a cuckoo clock. I am something to be tossed into a junkyard, thrown into the river, if necessary. I don't feel real anymore. I feel like I could disappear.
The alternating point-of-views for each chapter definitely added to the un-putdownability of Gone Girl. Also the fact that each character was truly grimy and close to despicable, and I wanted to keep watching the train wreck that their lives were becoming. I kept telling myself, "at the end of this Nick chapter, I am going to go to bed/get off the bus/live my life." But then Nick would do something so horribly incriminating, or some huge bomb in the Amy case would be dropped, and I would have to keep reading. However, to get to the next Nick chapter, I would have to read one of Amy's diary entries, which were filled with self-loathing, fear, and revelations about her marriage to Nick, and the dramatic change that came when she moved from New York City, to small-town Missouri with him. Then to get back to what was happening to Nick, and carry that through, I'd have to read a whole 'nother Nick chapter. So started a vicious cycle. Flynn was really genius with these alternating chapters, leaving each one on a cliffhanger that made it impossible to put down.
Of course that's what we have to do, and of course if he had presented the problem to me like I wasn't his enemy, that's what I would have said. But he came out of the door already treating me like a problem that needed to be dealt with. I was the bitter voice that needed to be squelched. My husband is the most loyal man on the planet until he's not. I've seen his eyes literally turn a shade darker when he's felt betrayed by a friend, even a dear longtime friend, and then the friend is never mentioned again. He looked at me then like I was an object to be jettisoned if necessary. It actually chilled me, that look.
Like in Sharp Objects, Gone Girl carried a lot of layers, and twists and turns. Each diary entry revealed something about Amy and Nick's marriage that wasn't shown to us in Nick's narrative. Nick's constant lying brought on consequences. And Amy's usually cheerful walk down memory lane for their annual scavenger hunt has taken on a new tone that Nick isn't used to. The constant cliffhangers, revelations, and my previous reading experience of her work, had me doubting myself, and every possible outcome I thought of for the case of Missing Amy.
Rating: 5 / 5
Are you also weary of much-hyped books? Have you read Gone Girl? Were you just as hooked as I was?