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Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

June 29, 2013

Gone Girl

In the year since Gone Girl came out I feel like I couldn’t go anywhere without seeing someone reading it. It’s been recommended to me more than a few times and I have read a number of reviews, and I finally got around to reading it on Thursday. I feel like I need to be specific here, because it really took me one full day to read, and I don’t think I could have done it any other way. I was taking a 10-hour train trip to get back home and it was the perfect way to approach this novel. In total I think it took me 11 hours of continuous reading but it was so worth it!

Every time I’ve seen or heard this book described it’s as a ‘thriller’ with ‘lots of plot twists’. Everyone is rather vague about the real subject of the book, though. I can sort of see why – you don’t want to give away the ending – but one of the things I liked about this book was that it had so much more to it than just a simple mystery story. I found the main characters, a husband and wife, to be complex and multi-faceted and that made the story all the more interesting.

The narrative focuses on Nick and Amy Dunne, a husband and wife dealing with very real problems of the recent financial crisis, aging parents, and the trials of marriage. On the day of their fifth wedding anniversary Amy goes missing. The events in the weeks following her disappearance are narrated from the perspective of her husband Nick, but every other chapter is told from Amy’s perspective about the years that they have known each other, from when they first met, until just before she vanishes. Of course there’s a lot more to it than that. I will repeat what everyone has told me: there are lots of plot twists that keep the story fresh and interesting and it definitely grabs the reader in a powerful way.

The story is really well written and you definitely feel a connection with each of the narrators, each with a distinctive voice. I think I liked this book even more because both narrators are deeply flawed. You don’t have to like who the protagonist is to like the story they tell; their flaws ultimately make them more human. In the past I have struggled to connect with a narrative voice that is unlikable, or cruel, or even just a bad person, and so it might be here too but the background current of the mysterious disappearance makes it move smoothly. I liked the book even though I wasn’t either character’s biggest fan.

Despite being a quick and gripping read, I think this book painted a very truthful picture of life in an unfulfilling marriage and the small daily actions and emotions that can have enormous consequences. It’s a wonderful study in relationship dynamics as well as a pretty intense “murder mystery” type novel. It’s hard to talk about this book in detail because so much of it really is wrapped up in solving the case, but I am glad I finally got around to reading it and I am going to add my name to the list of people telling you that you should probably read this book, too.


From → Fiction

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