Thursday, October 4, 2012

Book Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Title: Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
Publisher: Crown
Publication Date: June 5, 2012
Source: borrowed from the library via my Kindle

Plot Summary 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?

My Review:

YOU GUYS.  THIS BOOK.  How do I even review it?

If you are a living person with even a passing interest in books, you've probably heard of Gone Girl by now.  It's this summer's most-hyped new release.  It took me forever to read it because I am cheap, and thus do not buy a lot of books, which means I had to sit on the library's wait list for a while before I could get my hands on it.  But it was worth the wait.  I hate admitting that I have given into the hype surrounding a talked-up book, but this book joins Harry Potter and The Hunger Games in my "hype-happy books that I adore" category.

The tough thing about this review is that I can't tell you much about the book without totally giving away the good stuff.  And there is SO MUCH good stuff.

I'll put it to you like this.  The book is broken into 3 parts.  During the first part, I was completely intrigued as it bounced back and forth from Nick's POV, to Amy's diary entries.  I couldn't decide how I felt about the characters, and I spent a lot of time trying to figure that out.  I felt like the author was doing great things with perspective, so much so, that I thought that must be The Reason why everyone loves this book.  I made a lot of notes to myself like "characters have skewed perception of self" and "Nick as unreliable narrator" etc. etc.

And then the end of Part 1 came and it was like

and I stopped making notes to myself, because the time for thoughtful analysis was over.  It was time to devour this book without mercy.

This book is not just great because of its issues with perspective (though that is part of it).  It is great because it is so unbelievably twisted.  I literally said, "OH SNAP!" out loud at least a half-dozen times.  Flynn has done an amazing job creating a thriller/mystery that is not based only on the action.  This is extremely character-driven, which I think is a tough thing to create when you're in the thriller genre.  I'm dying to read some of her other novels now, in the hopes that I can see this writing style replicated, even a little bit.

The ending.  I've heard it debated: some people love it, others hate it.  I am in the love category.  I think the best word I can use to describe it is haunting.  You want to know what comes next, even though you know it's going to be dreadful.  It sticks with you, that's for sure.

I'm leaving my talk about the book there, because I can't give it away.  It's going on my favorites shelf.  You need to read this.  And then you need to discuss it with me, because I want to know what everyone thinks of Nick and Amy.  I have so many opinions to share!

*Also: I already read that this has been picked up as a movie, with Reese Witherspoon producing (and possibly starring).  I desperately want to see this on screen, but I am terrified that Hollywood will ruin it.  Also, I think Rachel McAdams would be a way better Amy.  And Bradley Cooper is the ultimate Nick, amiright?


  1. YES, Rachel McAdams would be a PERFECT Amy. Reese Witherspoon would be totally wrong for that part- if she's playing twisted, she's just going to come off as unlikeable and Amy is a person that everyone likes! argh, Hollywood do not mess this book up, it's practically perfect!

    As creeped out as I was by Nick and Amy, as much as I didn't really like them, I can't stop thinking about them. They're just so clever and seem so ordinary, but omg, they're not. I always enjoy the creepiness of the everyday and the creepiness of their marriage fits into that idea for me. It's like, that could be me or my neighbors and I would never know. As for the ending, I thought it was the right fit for the book and definitely brought home the fact that this terror is not over, it might be just beginning.

    This was a great reading experience and one I wish I had a lot more often!

  2. I can't stop thinking about them either! This will sound completely insane, but I kind of liked Amy. I know, twisted. But I think it's because she was just SO clever, I was dying to see how she'd manage to turn things in her favor again and again.

  3. I totally agree with you. It's one of those books that lived up to the hype!

    I think Reese would make an awesome Amy actually. She was obnoxious in Election but I think she can make herself likable yet psycho. I guess we'll just have to wait and see on that one.

  4. I read this book a few months before it's release so I thankfully didn't have to worry about the hype fear factor and I loved it. The ending is haunting and the characters are horrible people, but I also loved and will recommend it to anyone who will listen to me. If you haven't read her debut Sharp Objects, definitely pick that one up. It is just as dark and twisted!

  5. I read this book, too.

    Right up to the second-from-last page, it is a five-star book, i.e., it deserves the highest rating. Every page of the book builds more and more tension. It really is the best kind of book: unputdownable.

    But the end: you liked it, other reviewers have said that it comes as a surprise. But I hated it. It is as if Flynn couldn't think of an end to the story so just stopped.

    I agree with you about not saying too much in the review because to do so would be taking away some suspense, some pleasure for the reader.

    But I will say this: I think the end should be rewritten. This is a five-star book that loses a star because of the last two pages.

    Thank you to for giving me this book.

  6. techeditor, thanks for commenting. I've been interested in hearing from someone who disliked the ending (because I know there's a lot of you out there!). I can see how it would be seen as abrupt. Did you think that the major life event that was about to happen at the end was contrived? Or did you just wish that she had followed the story a bit longer?

  7. I LoOVED this book so hard! I felt the same way you did when it got to part two. I was floored!

    It's one of those books I immediately bought for all of my friends so I would have someone to talk about it with.

  8. WR Wife, YES! I immediately started looking for people who had read it, because it is really an impossible book to talk about without giving everything away.

  9. I caved. I read the review. I'm still only in part one because I don't have the time to commit to it that I would want. Book club is next Thursday. Ahh...the pressure. I will be report back when I finally finish it.

  10. Well now I'm glad that you read the review, because I bet it's going to push you to finish part 1 at least. :)

  11. I had to read your review of this since we both love it SO MUCH. You did a wonderful job as well, and I can say... the ending. HMM. It sticks with you. Personally, I THINK i'm with you. I think I like it because of how it makes you feel. It works for this book.

    Have you read her other stuff? love to know how u liked it!

  12. Yes, the ending is always the make-or-break for people on this one. I'm glad you liked it!
    Haven't read her other stuff yet, but I have both books downloaded and hope to get to them soon!

  13. I just finished this book and the first thing I did was jump on to read your review?? Does that make me a Well Read Red Head groupie?? Or just a cool friend? :)

  14. It makes you both a groupie AND a cool friend :) So what did you think??


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