Book Review: Gone Girl

Title: Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
Genre: Adult Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 475
Published by: Phoenix
First Published: 2012
Format: Paperback
Source: borrowed 

Goodreads Synopsis:

Who are you?
What have we done to each other?

These are the questions Nick Dunne finds himself asking on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, when his wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police suspect Nick. Amy’s friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn’t true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they weren’t made by him. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone.

So what did happen to Nick’s beautiful wife?

Plot Overview:

Because of financial difficulties and the ailment of Nick’s mother, he and his wife Amy – who’s marriage has declined into friction and miscommunication – move to Missouri where the the tension between the couple only gets worse.
Then on their fifth anniversary, Amy goes missing.
The story told through Nick’s inner monologue and Amy’s Diary entries.

My Thoughts:

I don’t know why I’m finding it difficult to review this book. I guess I was just expecting to finish this book with a higher rating (maybe 4 stars). But there were somethings in this book that knocked it down. I usually separate what I think of the characters from the My Thoughts part of the review but a lot of this story has to do with the relationship of the two main characters and so I will include it in this section of the review.

The structure of the story is great. The story is told through Nick’s perspective as he tries to deal with the aftermath of his wife’s disappearance.
There’s something fishy about the whole disappearance. Things don’t quite fit together and when Nick can’t answer certain questions about his wife it’s seen as strange but can be passed off as a result of an unobservant spouse. The questions he does answer, though, leave you with a precautionary feeling (the feeling you get when you’re walking in pitch black, arms out and all) and he’s answers don’t always stay the same when he’s asked at a later time.

‘Five, big one. [police referring to the 5th anniversary] Let me guess reservations at Houston’s?’ Gilpin asked.
…’ Of course, Houston’s.’
It was my fifth lie to the police. I was just getting started.

You’d think that we, as readers, would know what he knows since we are viewing his perspective. But no. Yes, we are in the mind of Nick Dunne – and let me say it is not a pretty place – but no, we do not fully understand what he’s thinking. He is an unreliable narrator. Much of the story relies on the unreliability of the characters. You don’t know who they truly are or what they’re thinking.

Although Amy is missing, we still get to know her and hear her thoughts through her diary. Both characters talk about their relationship and how it went from happiness to frustration and anger. But both have different opinions on how it got to that point and the reader is left to ponder what’s true and what isn’t. Amy Dunne is also a an unreliable narrator and that becomes more apparent as the story progresses. It gave me the feeling of what a couple’s therapist must feel like. And wow do they have a exhausting job.

Both characters are flawed and messed up in their own ways. But they feel real. They are the perfect example of a toxic relationship. It’s unhealthy just listening to them.

I really appreciated that aspect of the book.

What didn’t feel real though was the way the detectives were acting, specifically Boney. I did not buy her as a detective at all. She was too – I don’t even know how to put it – unprofessional? From the moment she met Nick she kept on saying how he must be the baby in the family. Seriously? That’s how you’re going to address the husband of a kidnaped victim, who but the way should automatically be put on the suspect list? She’d go on to make personal visits to him and tell him how she’s on his side. Really? She wasn’t flirtatious, she just wasn’t a very good detective.

I also feel like the book could’ve been shorter. It took a little long for the characters to figure certain things out. I’m not talking about solving what happened to Amy I’m talking about smaller conflicts scattered in the book to keep you reading while leading to the big reveal (what happened to Amy).
I wasn’t shocked when they finally revealed what happened to Amy. Maybe I’ve been watching to much Criminal Minds? (never!) but in the end I wasn’t shocked; I guessed what was going on before the middle of the book. I didn’t figure out every detail to the Big Reveal, though. In the events after the big reveal I felt like it was getting too over the top.

(scroll to the side to see spoiler)

¡¡¡This is a SPOILER SKIP AHEAD and do not read this if you don't want to ruin the ending!!! When deciding to get back to Nick, her plan seemed a little too over the top. It also seem like her plan kept changing. She decided to take her life, then to hide out, then to seek help, then to go back. It's like the author couldn't decide on an ending and decided to include all of them somehow. Then when she goes back she all of a sudden has leverage to make Nick do what she wants? (the vomit) Then the baby? I mean seriously? It's way too much. SPOILER OVER

At one point I felt like things went from cleverly planned to implausible. But I don’t mind the way it ended. I think it was befitting of the story to leave the reader uneasy.

This is a twisted story with twisted characters. If you’re not in a good mood I don’t recommend you read this, just go for the fluffy contemporary and come back to this one. The best way to go into this book is blind. I kept this review as vague as possible.

On the Rating:

The reason this got a 3 star rating was for a mixture of things: 1. I didn’t fully buy some of the investigation part of the book which plays a huge role in a mystery novel. 2. the implausibility of the part of the ending 3. I felt certain things should’ve been seen sooner and 4. I wasn’t shocked like I was meant to be.


Quotes from the Book:

  • “There’s something disturbing about recalling a warm memory and feeling utterly cold.”
  • “I often don’t say things out loud, even when I should. I contain and compartmentalize to a disturbing degree: In my belly-basement are hundreds of bottles of rage, despair, fear, but you’d never guess from looking at me.”
  • “Friends see most of each other’s flaws. Spouses see every awful last bit.”
  • “The worst feeling: when you just have to wait and prepare yourself for the lie.”
  • “I felt a queasy mixture of relief and horror: when you finally stop an itch and realize it’s because you’ve ripped a hole in your skin.”

One thought on “Book Review: Gone Girl

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