~~~ This review contains spoilers! Click here to read my spoiler-free review! ~~~
Author: Gillian Flynn
Number of Pages: 395
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Release Date: May 24, 2012
“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?”
I have mixed feelings about this book, mostly due to all the hype that surrounds it with the new movie and its sudden rise to popularity. I began this book expecting an extremely fast-paced, dark thriller that I wouldn’t possibly be able to put down, but in actuality the story did not fulfill those expectations in my mind. I liked the novel as a whole, but it just seemed like an average, well-crafted mystery to me.
My favorite aspect of this story is definitely the dual perspective. With each chapter I felt my loyalties to either Nick or Amy shifting, especially in the beginning. I never really liked either of them all that much, and perhaps that led to me not being able to connect with the characters. Nick rubbed me the wrong way (he cheated on his wife- nothing excuses that!) and Amy was much too artificial, not to mention completely insane. The only character I sympathized with was Margo, Nick’s sister, because she was thrown into the chaos of this mystery simply because she was related to Nick. Despite the fact that they were very unlikable, there’s no denying that Nick and Amy had depth, personality, and experienced significant change (for better and worse) throughout the course of this novel.
One thing that surprises me is how many people side with Nick. I understand that he is a victim in this situation- I mean his wife is framing him for her own murder!- but he was not an innocent man to begin with. Let’s not forget that he cheated on Amy for an entire year and she had to live with that knowledge. I’m absolutely not saying that what Amy did was in any way warranted, but I think it’s safe to say that she has the right to be furious with nick. On the flip side, it was also not right of her to basically pretend to have an entirely different personality- “cool girl”- for the whole beginning of their relationship and marriage. The more I think about it the more I really, really dislike these two characters!!
Now, onto the plot itself. Because of all the hype surrounding this novel I was expecting a huge, astonishing twist. I pretty much was certain from the very beginning that Nick was not the killer, because that would be way too obvious and not impressive enough to justify the immense amount of hype. When I found out that Amy had designed the entire scheme I was surely surprised, but not blown away like I hoped I would be. That’s my biggest complaint about this book, I think: nothing shocked me. Several twists surprised me (pregnant Amy, murderer Amy, not pregnant Amy, then pregnant Amy again) but nothing blew my mind.
Overall, this was a good mystery novel, but it didn’t wow me like I thought it would. I enjoyed the interesting themes it explored (the dynamics of marriage, how truth can be twisted and masked, the questions of what to do as a reader when there are unreliable narrators, the manipulation of the media, how the media impacts the justice system, etc.) as well as the unique and thought-provoking dual perspectives. It was suspenseful at times but slow at others, and I thought that the writing was good but nothing spectacular. Gone Girl was an enjoyable, entertaining read, but it wasn’t the mind-blowing thriller I had hoped for.
My Rating: :0) :0) :0) 3 out of 5 smileys.
Would I recommend it to a friend?: Definitely! Despite my complaints, I did really have a great time reading this novel. If the hype monster hadn’t gobbled it up, I think it would have made a better impression on me personally.
What did you think of this novel? How about the movie? Let me know in the comments section below!