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Book Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Wow, Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl was like French press coffee – strong, bitter and dark. As a girl who loves a little coffee with her creamer, I had a feeling this book would leave me with a bad taste in my mouth.

Book Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

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gone girl gillian flynn

Title & Author: Gone Girl: A Novel by Gillian Flynn

Genre: Fiction – Adult, Thriller

Release Date: May 24, 2012

Series: Standalone

Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson

How I Got the Book: Book Club Pick

Description:

“Marriage can be a real killer.

One of the most critically acclaimed suspense writers of our time, New York Times bestseller Gillian Flynn takes that statement to its darkest place in this unputdownable masterpiece about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong. The Chicago Tribune proclaimed that her work “draws you in and keeps you reading with the force of a pure but nasty addiction.” Gone Girl’s toxic mix of sharp-edged wit and deliciously chilling prose creates a nerve-fraying thriller that confounds you at every turn.

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.”

Out of My Comfort Zone

(If you’re interested, here are the Gone Girl Discussion Questions I created for the book club).

So, my regular readers may have noticed a few things about this book and about my blog. One, this is an adult book – and a VERY adult one at that. Two, I’m a wimp about a lot of things that happen in this book.

Here’s what happened. I have a young adult book club who totally outruled me last month. Everyone was super intrigued by Gone Girl and somehow hadn’t read it yet. So, we deviated from our YA safety net and ventured in adult fiction. I have nothing against adult fiction, by the way, I just really love YA…hence this blog.

That’s the story of how I read one of the most disturbing books ever.

Gone Girl is an extremely well-written novel. It starts with a decaying marriage. Amy and Nick have been together five years, and they’re starting to split at the seams. Told from both Nick and Amy’s perspectives, the story weaves a tale of mystery and suspense.

Although the plot may have been spoiled for you already (=the worst!!), I won’t share any of them here. It’s obviously a wildly popular book, which is also being made into a movie that will be out in 2015. It’s a terrible thing to have so much hype, but surprisingly Gone Girl lived up to it.

There’s no way to describe my shock and appreciation for the twists Flynn plants throughout the story. She is a masterful story teller who knows exactly how to wind up audiences to taut, edge-of-your-seat frenzies.

My main issue with the book is obviously not the changing POVs or the writing style – it was with the characters. I honestly did not like one single character in the book. I couldn’t relate, I couldn’t empathize. I couldn’t tolerate any of them at all. Except Bleeker. The Cat.

For many readers, not liking the characters doesn’t interfere with their enjoyment of the book. For me, it does. If I don’t feel some sort of connection on any level, then the book loses its overall hold on me. Like I said, that is something very specific to me.

Also, there were some terrible cliches in Gone Girl that I couldn’t overlook. One I can’t really explain because it’s a spoiler, but it involves the portrayal of women. Message me via email or on Twitter if you want to know more on that. The other is Nick and his exit from the print (magazine) world.

Due to the big, bad Internet, Nick’s job as a magazine writer is cut. Thus begins his self-esteem spiral and sob story about how publishing isn’t how it used to be. Ummm, hello! Blogging and online publications (cough, cough The Huffington Post) are thriving. And, shocker!, people can still make money from writing.

I found Nick’s job decline description very annoying and simplistic. Obviously, this is Nick’s perspective and Flynn’s take on the decline of print publications, but I couldn’t help but roll my eyes and sigh every time it was mentioned. (The Internet killed the magazine star….).

Moving on…Gone Girl is dark. There is tons of swearing, sexual acts described in detail, terrible manipulations and the saddest depiction of marriage I’ve ever read. While I read this book, it put me in a very strange place mentally, and I’m not prone to repeat it.

OVERALL:

Gone Girl forced me out of my comfort zone with its graphic content and dark plot and characterization. Although it was very well told, with extremely suspenseful and surprising moments, I did not connect with this book and definitely did not enjoy it. Gone Girl is a book that will haunt you for days – just be prepared going in and avoid reading any spoilers to get the most of out Flynn’s blockbuster book.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.