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. 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?
Sure, you’ve probably seen the movie. Gone Girl, the tale of a marriage turned sour, of a love that was not meant to last… aaaaaaaand yes, (spoiler alert) of a psychopathic woman who abuses herself all for the sake of framing her cheating husband. Sounds like a good thriller movie, doesn’t it? But I for one, truly regret watching the movie before reading the book.
The movie itself was great and you’ve probably heard this a million times but I cannot emphasize enough how the book was so much more better than the movie. This is not a mere subjective opinion because I love reading books, it’s just that the movie was not enough to capture the true essence of the characters in the book.
Written by Gillian Flynn and published in 2012, Gone Girl was a novel that easily received positive reviews. Aside from its gripping story-telling, heart-pounding thrills and gasp-worthy twists, it was the kind of novel that bitch-slapped me across the cheek, leaving me with the stinging harsh realities to ponder even when I was long done with the book.
The narration interchanges between Amy and Nick Dunne, you guessed it, the couple whose marriage bliss was taking a downhill ride towards misery. On the fifth morning of their anniversary, Nick Dunne comes home to find his wife ‘missing’. Before mysteriously disappearing, she leaves behind clues for their annual treasure hunt, as is the tradition in their marriage. But the beautiful, brilliant Amy Elliot Dunne, leaves more than just that. She leaves traces of her perfectly manipulative schemed plan in such a way that all the arrows would point to Nick, who immediately becomes the victim of false accusations and cyber bullying. Long story short, after a series of events that included Nick’s learning of his wife’s past, TV interviews that alternately loved/hated him, and oh, a murder, Amy Elliot Dunne finally decides that her husband has learned his lesson and so, makes a dramatic comeback.
The movie was slightly disturbing but the book was beyond that. Not due to the physical abuse and hideous murder committed, but because of the personal insight of how sinister human emotions can get, of how revenge can truly bring out the monster in you and how a person can be cunning, manipulative all for the sake of destroying one’s life. The novel truly dealt with the ugliest of emotions that humans can experience.
Moreover, there were some other issues in the novel that really got me thinking. One, it made me realize the impact a prejudiced legal system could have on a case due to the media. In the novel, hate stirred in the hearts of the citizens towards Nick all because of a highly-viewed TV program that aimed to protect and serve justice to women abused by their husbands, even if said husband has not yet been proven guilty. It made me realize again how some TV shows can easily manipulate the minds of viewers into their prejudiced path of thinking.
And two, the way love was portrayed in the novel. Let’s be realistic, love is never about the butterflies and rainbows and whatnot. Some may even say its about sticking with each other even after seeing your soul mate’s flaws, but with this book, that was definitely not the case. Sometimes, couples do fall out of love. It could be due to listlessness, loss of interest or maybe, they’re not just as happy as they used to be. That is why you can never be certain with ‘love’. And yes, love can get ugly, it can manipulate and connive and even kill.
But aside from all that negativity, Gillian Flynn is truly a master of her trade. Gone Girl was a novel whose plot was intricately and intelligently planned. Just like the way Amy exploited the entire country with her lies, Gone Girl manipulated me, toying with my gullibility leaving me mind blown with the way the events turned out. The characters were raw and real, which made relating (If not relating, then maybe understand) to them much easier. And though the theme was dark, it was written with a style that made me laugh, if not cry, at unexpected moments. It was truly a brilliant and satisfactory read. For those who love surprises (unpleasant ones), this novel is for you.
Format: Paperback (463 pages)
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Publication Date: May 24, 2012
Author Info: Gillian Flynn is an American author and television critic for Entertainment Weekly. She has so far written three novels, Sharp Objects, for which she won the 2007 Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for the best thriller; Dark Places; and her best-selling third novel Gone Girl.
Her book has received wide praise, including from authors such as Stephen King. The dark plot revolves around a serial killer in a Missouri town, and the reporter who has returned from Chicago to cover the event. Themes include dysfunctional families,violence and self-harm.
In 2007 the novel was shortlisted for the Mystery Writers of America Edgar for Best First Novel by an American Writer, Crime Writers’ Association Duncan Lawrie, CWA New Blood and Ian Fleming Steel Daggers, winning in the last two categories.
Flynn, who lives in Chicago, grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. She graduated at the University of Kansas, and qualified for a Master’s degree from Northwestern University.
I’d like to thank the lovely Maea for contributing to this week’s book review! I haven’t read Gone Girl yet but her review makes me want to steal the book right out of her hands.
Maea is a university student, who tries her best to squeeze in time to read from her massive TBR pile. She believes that her death will be from a major bookish heartbreak. A well known fact is that Maea is the younger sister of Camillea, and a little know fact is that she loves Camillea immensely. Some say her love for books and punk rock is due to her elder sister. Besides books, Maea also loves Adventure Time and Gravity Falls.
Be sure to look out for more posts from this cute blogger!
All opinions about the book are of the blogger’s opinion.
Have you read the book? Let me know what you think of it in the comments below!
If you’d like to help support, you can also find me on Patreon