Author – Gillian Flynn
On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl 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 in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?
My thoughts –
This book, many of you must already know, was one of the bestselling books in 2012. It has won awards & appreciation from readers & critics too. But then there are negative reviews too. Nevertheless, I went ahead & picked it up as I solely believe in the saying – to each his own.
Since I started to share my thoughts on books I read in my blog, I had not done any thriller or mystery genre books. And today as I start writing about GONE GIRL, it is proving to be a difficult task. I have to be careful not to reveal any twists in the plot or include spoilers too. Now, apart from a mystery/thriller plot, the book has also given some insights on marriage, striving for perfection, compatibility of 2 partners, influence of one’s upbringing on one’s personality, etc.
The book opens with a man studying the shape of the skull of his wife – scary, nah? It is written in an alternating point of view by husband-wife duo – Nick & Amy (I must say that the author has done a wonderful job in coming up with both the narratives – of two completely different characters) & consists of 3 parts. In the 1st part Amy’s version of the story is in the form of diary entries whereas Nick’s version is in real time. Both of them, after losing their jobs in NY to recession, had moved to Missouri to take care of Nick’s sick mother. Their marriage was already on shaky ground & with the move to Missouri, things kind of fell apart completely between them. On Amy’s disappearance on their 5th wedding anniversary, a certain set of events led Nick to be the main suspect. It comes to a point where only the re-appearance of Amy can save Nick from being convicted of her disappearance & suspected murder. And in the 2nd & 3rd part that is what happens – she re-appears! I do not want to talk much on this as I may reveal many twists – so I won’t. Everything that the reader, till the 1st part, knew about Amy & Nick was turned upside down & with it starts the series of twists in the tale – a series of revelations of the truths established in the 1st part.
On a personal note, I felt the 2 lead characters were made to be hated & I did – Nick as a pathetic individual & Amy as the self-obsessed control freak, a psychopath. They are not at all likeable or pleasant (kudos to the author for sculpting them perfectly for the readers to hate them). At one point I liked the way Amy masterminded a plan & consequently weaved a series of lies over a period of 1 year to teach a lesson to her cheating husband – it seemed an interesting way to move the story forward. But soon the way her character unfolded with her past history, I started hating her – & it stayed till the end.
Last words: It is a brilliantly written book which was addictive & a page-turner too – I vouch for that! But then, it was a disturbing one too & it ended in a way I did not expect (it happens always in thrillers/mysteries, don’t they?) & also am not sure if I liked that in this case. Having said that, I also cannot think of another fitting end to the story!
Have you read GONE GIRL? What did you think of it?
You can check Goodreads reviews here.
Some excerpts of the book (no spoilers included!):
- Nick – I don’t know that we are actually human at this point, those of us who are like most of us, who grew up with TV and movies and not the Internet. If we are betrayed, we know the words to say; when a loved one dies, we know the words to say. If we want to play the stud or the smart-ass or the fool, we know the words to say. We are all working from the same dog-eared script.
It’s a very difficult era in which to be a person, just a real, actual person, instead of a collection of personality traits selected from an endless automat of characters.
And if all of us are play-acting, there can be no such thing as a soul mate, because we don’t have genuine souls
- Amy on Cool Girl – Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl.
- Amy on dancing monkeys (men who follow every diktat of their wives/girlfriend) – “Wear this, don’t wear that. Do this chore now and do this chore when you get a chance and by that I mean now. And definitely, definitely give up the things you love for me, so I will have proof that you love me best. It’s the female pissing contest — as we swan around our book clubs and our cocktail hours, there are few things women love more than being able to detail the sacrifices our men make for us.
A call-and-response, the response being: “Ohh, that’s so sweet.”