Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Updated: Feb 14, 2020
Summary: Amy Dunne goes missing on her 5th wedding anniversary and her husband, Nick, is the only suspect. Not everything is as it appears, and Nick must fight to clear his name.
Review: I had heard such glowing reviews for this book that I had to see for myself if it was really up to the hype. Here is what I found:
Let me just start with the fact that the first page is very...off-putting. I have never read about someone fantasizing about their partner's head shape, and I hope to never do so again. It weirded me out, but thankfully, this was never even mentioned again until the very end, and only slightly.
After those first few lines (that almost made me regret my purchase), it got much more interesting and less...heady. Amy's disappearance was quick and set the book off on a fast-paced race. Time was not wasted getting to the action, as the backstory was dabbled in as the story went along.
I will admit, I usually say I don't like thrillers and mysteries, which isn't actually true. I do enjoy them, but I hate whenever I try to guess what is going to happen next or who the culprit is (which I do constantly), only to be foiled with a twist. It makes me feel outwitted by the author and I shake my fist at their ruse, while also, secretly, being thrilled. I will say, I did not see the twist coming until it was too late, after being wrong twice about who was guilty (I actually guessed the Dad).
The plot and characters were steel roller coasters taking you up, down, sideways, and through loops. There were so many interconnecting pieces to this puzzle that were convoluted and could have become too messy for the reader to follow, but they somehow stayed clear and together. Usually, with these types of mysteries, there are questions left lingering at the end like, "What happened to that person who..." or "What about the thing in chapter five that seemed like a clue, but was never referenced again". The only questions I had left after the last page were, Who was the Dad so angry at and ranting about? and What about the cat? Seriously, who was taking care of the cat when Nick would leave for days (it only mentioned a cop feeding it once) and did they just let the cat wander around the house when it was an active crime scene? That seemed very irresponsible. And then he just pops back up to say, "Hey, Amy," before disappearing again. Poor, neglected cat.
The characters matched the insanity of the story itself, with their flaws and revealed "true" personalities. I am ashamed to admit that I fell for Diary Amy at first, and it made me question if I really know the actual people in my life. What also fascinated - and sometimes irked - me was Nick's choices. It reminded me of victims in abusive relationships and how they are so drawn to the other person who does so much harm, especially during the reminders of how sweet their partner can be. Nostalgia is a hell of a curse.
Not just Nick and Amy, but even the side characters were interesting and realistic. I wondered if some of them were, perhaps, even based on real people (mostly Ellen Abbott who sounded a lot like Nancy Grace, but without the interrupting guests every five seconds and showboating her kids at the end of the show).
Like the beginning, the end was a letdown. It was very anti-climatic after a whirlwind of a middle. It left me disappointed with its openness. Some stories can pull off the open-ending to let the reader decide what happens next, but on the tail of Gone Girl, it was more like wearing a bolo tie with a $5,000 suit; it's not right.
Overall, I really enjoyed the ride but felt like I had to struggle to get on and was dumped off prematurely. Also, I needed more Bleecker the cat.