Book Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Book cover for Gillian Flynn's Gone GirlIf you have loved deeply, endured a decline in a relationship, and made it through a painful breakup you’ll understand many of the emotions (e.g., disappointment, apathy, disgust, rage, sorrow) experienced by wedded partners Nick and Amy Dunne. You may even, now that hindsight has given you 20-20 vision, be able to admit that a partner wasn’t wholly responsible for the building and dis-assembly of a relationship. After all, it takes two to tango no matter how badly or how perfectly each of you dances!

Gillian Flynn’s novel, Gone Girl, exposes readers to the Dunne’s tangled marriage through Nick’s and Amy’s individual point of view. Chapters go back and forth between their narratives, giving readers the feeling they’re watching a high stakes tennis match or following two attorneys arguing a life and death case. As readers, we’re meant to pick a side! Who is believable? Who do you feel sympathy/empathy for? Who has the best argument/evidence? Who has the highest level of integrity?

I think if you consider any single, dissolved relationship that you’re familiar with, you’ll realize you lean strongly toward one person’s perception of that relationship. It’s normal for us to choose a side, even when we don’t have all of the details.

That being said, Gone Girl is so much more than a he said she said story. It’s more than a wedded bliss to wedded misery story. It’s a mystery. Amy Dunne goes missing on the 5-year anniversary of her marriage to Nick. Did she leave Nick? Has there been some sort of foul play by a neighborhood drifter? Is Nick responsible for her disappearance (murdered her)?

The rapid fire, knife-sharp prose of Gillian Flynn will catch you and quickly pull you through to the end – an ending that may in fact convey a moral truth. (For those of you who have read the book, is this a moral tale/morality play?) I read the 400+ pages book over the weekend, while still managing to get a lot of things done. Gillian Flynn doesn’t waste words. Most interesting to me though are the multitude of details she’s attended to. It’s easy to understand why she’s one of the hottest mystery genre writers of the time. I recommend this book, and I look forward to reading Flynn’s earlier novels.