Molly's Reviews > Gone Girl

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
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's review
Sep 01, 12

bookshelves: realistic-fiction, 5-stars, recommended, read-in-2012
Read from August 23 to 28, 2012

Wow. I thoroughly enjoyed this. A reviewer on my favorite podcast said it best: this book is just fun. Creepy, ridiculous, psychotic fun. If you are my friend, and you are reading this: stop. Go read this book now. Do not read any other reviews of it, do not find out anything about it. This is one of those books that is so much better when you go into it knowing almost nothing. I've read some theories lately that spoilers are actually pointless -- that books/TV/movies/whatever should be able to be enjoyed on their own merits, even if you already know the ending. That anything requiring a "spoiler alert" is not good enough to stand on its own without the shock value of spoilers. And while I agree with that to a point, I think there are certain pieces that truly do benefit from that first-time shock value. This is one of them.

It's really hard to review this without giving away everything, but I'll try my best. I said in one of my early updates that this reads like a messed-up take on The Last Five Years, and for at least half of the novel, I really have to stand by that statement! Gone Girl is the story of a married couple -- Nick and Amy -- who are at a crossroads in their relationship. On the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary (see?!), Amy mysteriously goes missing, and Nick, being the husband, is the primary suspect in what quickly becomes a murder investigation. Flynn has Nick and Amy take turns with narration -- Nick narrating events as they happen in the present (the day of, one day gone, two days gone, etc.) and Amy's diary narrating events starting from the night she and Nick met, all the way up to the day of her disappearance. This comprises Part One of the novel. At first, I really disliked the diary entry format for Amy's chapters. She felt fake, like Flynn was trying too hard (the phrase "a placenta of stink" is really all you need to illustrate that point!). However, there is an excellent twist that shakes up this formula for Parts Two and Three, and said twist would not have worked with a different format for Part One, which I appreciate more in retrospect. The narration style of Part One reminded me a lot of The Last Five Years -- in the musical, Jamie and Cathy work through their relationship with him starting at the beginning and her starting at the end (they meet in the middle). You see them when things were good, and the unraveling becomes clearer as each timeline progresses. Since the first half (or so) of the book allows Amy to start at the beginning, while we see Nick at what is essentially the end (or so Flynn would have us think), it's interesting to see her take on their relationship and its unraveling, as well as watch Nick deal with it in the present.

I'm generally not a huge fan of mysteries, since they tend to be plot- rather than character-driven. My favorite books of all time tend to have a good balance of both, although I have to say, many of them lean more to the character-driven side of the spectrum. I like a good story that is also populated by nice round characters, what can I say? I think one of the main reasons I enjoyed Gone Girl so much was the fact that both Nick and Amy are fantastic characters. That's not to say I liked them -- I despised both of them for different reasons, at different points. And although the plot is definitely interesting, this is a narrative that lives and dies (ugh, terrible pun!) on the strength of its characters. I'm a big believer in the notion that you don't have to like a character to find them fascinating. I'm not sure I can honestly say I liked either one of the protagonists in this novel, but I was undeniably intrigued by them, and invested in their story. Without such amazing characters, the story falls flat.

This one comes with highest recommendations -- it's great! It doesn't require a lot of higher thinking skills (although the later sections raise some intriguing issues about how well we really know even the people closest to us), it's just fun book. Had I started it at a different time (i.e, not during the first week of school), I could have easily devoured it in one sitting.


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Reading Progress

08/24/2012 page 118
28.0% "Giving up on Queenie for a bit...can't put this one down!"
08/25/2012 page 171
41.0% "Oh man...this is exactly like a messed up version of The Last Five Years."
08/26/2012 page 244
59.0% "Other than the fact that reading this before bed is giving me strange dreams, I'm really enjoying it!"
08/27/2012 page 347
83.0% "So close! Took a LOT of self-control not to stay up late & finish!"

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Lauren Suchomski Have you read Flynn's other books? They are all fantastic. Loved this one.

Molly I have not, but they both sound really interesting! I wasn't sure this one would live up to all the hype I heard about it, but it totally did.

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