Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Review: Gone Girl

Gone Girl

By: Gillian Flynn
Publication Date: May 24, 2012
Published by: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Hardcover: 419 pages
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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?

With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.

 Not to be typecast as a typical marriage gone wrong, Gone Girl calls into question how well people truly know their spouses and will keep readers guessing until the very last page - but not for the reasons you'd think.  Read it!

Why I read this book:  Several friends recommended this book as being an "unputdownable" thriller and I couldn't resist. 

Okay, so Gone Girl is clearly not YA.  There is some very adult content, themes and situations in this one.  But WOW! Where do I even begin without giving too much away?

Gone Girl is the story of Nick and Amy Dunne, the poster child of a lackluster five-year marriage.  When on the morning of their anniversary Amy goes missing under acutely suspicious circumstances, Nick, like the reader, knows that the husband is usually the first suspect.  Under the increasingly scrutinizing eye of the town and eventually the media after the case takes flight, Nick enbarks on a dangerous mission in search of his missing (but not missed) wife.

The story is told from the perspective of Nick beginning the day Amy goes missing, as well as from Amy's viewpoint via diary entries dating several years back and leading up through the present.  What's really amazing here is to see how the same events are viewed by two different people and the impression it leaves on them. 

Looking at their relationship in the early days, as told by Amy, the reader learns that the couple were writers living in New York City.  With Amy's trustfund from her children's book author parents and without any children, the Dunne's were a young passionate couple enjoying their freedom. 

Seems perfect right?

After Nick and Amy lose their jobs and move to care for Nick's aging parents in Missouri their relationship begins to unravel.  The money is soon gone and they are left with nothing but eachother which is hardly comforting.

And yes there is a twist.  It's one I saw coming and from the reviews I've read, others predicted too.  But the point here is not the twist.  It exceeded my expectations.  Truly.  The lengths people go to in the novel are far fetched, but given what is learned about the main characters throughout the novel, is hardly suprising.

The writing and really the author's insight and brutal honesty about relationships is wonderful.  It's damaged and makes the reader call into question how well you can ever really know someone....especially your spouse.

And then there is the ending. 

Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you to Gillian Flynn.  I LOVED the ending.  I truly believe it's only way this novel could have ended.  It's perfectfully tragic and a wonderfully flawed.  Bravo.

Rating: 4

Memorable Quotes
There are so many deliciously memorable quotes.  The kind you want to walk up to a stranger and point out.  BUT.....I can't share without divulging the juicy details of the plot and spoiling for anyone who hasn't read this crazy book.  So I've listed a few that stood out, but that don't give too much away.

“There’s something disturbing about recalling a warm memory and feeling utterly cold.” 

“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.” 

“For several years, I had been bored. Not a whining, restless child's boredom (although I was not above that) but a dense blanketing malaise. It seemed to me that there was nothing new to be discovered ever again. Our society was utterly, ruinously derivative (although the word derivative as a criticism is itself derivative). We were the first human beings who would never see see anything for the first time. We stare at the wonders of the world, dull-eyed, underwhelmed. Mona Lisa, the Pyramids, the Empire State Building. Jungle animals on attack, ancient icebergs collapsing, volcanoes erupting. I can't recall a single amazing thing I have seen firsthand that I didn't immediately reference to a movie or TV show. A commercial. You know the awful singsong of blase: Seeeen it. I've literally seen it all, and the worst thing, the thing that makes me want to blow my brains out, is: The secondhand experience is always better. The image is crisper, the view is keener, the camera angle and soundtrack manipulate my emotions in a way reality really can't anymore. 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 now 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 scripted. 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.” 

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