Thursday, December 22, 2016

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I had been thinking about reading Gone Girl for some time and when my friend Lorraine two months ago recommended the book it was the push I needed.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn was published in 2012 and has been a phenomenal hit with readers and critics alike.   I've heard Gone Girl described as a thriller, a crime novel, a profile of a marriage gone horribly wrong.   It is all these things including a psychological profile of two people that is really well done. It's a difficult novel to review though because I would have to give away a major plot twist that happens halfway through the book.

So here is what I can reveal.  Gone Girl is certainly a story about a marriage and when the novel begins it is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary but when Nick comes home he finds Amy missing and the police discover Amy's blood at the scene and begin looking at Nick as the suspect.  The novel alternates chapter by chapter between Nick's present day reflections on their marriage and his fears about the investigation. The alternating chapters are from the diary Amy kept in which she also talks about their life together.

We learn through Nick and Amy's different narritives that their relationship after starting out so well was in trouble these past few years.  Nick blames Amy for their problems.  As he sees it she changed from the beautiful smart cool girl he married to a woman who was unhappy, and unsatisfied. Amy in her diary tells a different story. about being supportive of Nick and making sacrifices for him which he did not appreciate.  Amy also tells us in her diary that she is becoming afraid of Nick.

And that's all I can reveal without spoiling the experience for the reader because halfway through the novel you are hit for a loop.  Can I recommend Gone Girl?  Well on the plus side Gillian Flynn does a great job in creating two intriguing characters in Nick and Amy and this is particularly true with regard to Amy Dunne.  I've sometimes wondered where is the novel in which a female character truly breaks the mold.  Here she is to put it mildly.

But its also a very dark novel and I think that would be okay except for the ending.  I was hoping for a different outcome, an ending that would put things right and make up for some of the darkness.  But many readers felt the ending fit the story and with 43,000 reviews over at Amazon and most of them 4 and 5 stars that's something to consider as well.


  1. I have not read this book nor have I seen the film. Of course I have heard a lot about it. Your commentary as well as what I have heard from others makes me very curious about it.

    Dark endings can be very depressing and disconcerting. Sometimes I also find them difficult to take.

  2. Hi Brian

    I would say if you decide to check out Gone Girl read the book rather than see the movie. The author takes a great deal of care creating Nick and Amy and through their competing narritives we come to know who they are and the movie in two hours can't do tbis and so all we get in the movie is a speeded up version of the novel which for me didn't work.

    The book is dark and by that I mean one of the two characters in this novel is a very psychologically dark individual. You don't see that at first but halfway through the book it becomes clear. And the ending is controversial with many readers although others say it was in keeping with the story.

    Gillian Flynn is very talented but I didn't come away from Gone Girl eager to read her other books. Still she could be the next Patricia Highsmith or Shirley Jackson who specialized in very disturbing stories.and characters.