Friday, September 27, 2013

Review of Gone Girl by Gillian Fly

Flynn, G. (2012).  Gone Girl.  London:  Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

Gone Girl may be one of the only books that you encounter in your life in which the thoughtless, forgetful, cheating husband becomes the victim and the person that you root for in the end.  I can't give away too much in this review because of a mind-blowing twist in the middle of the novel. This is truly one book that you simply must read for yourself.

Nick and Amy Dunne are a mid-thirties couple living in Nick's small Missouri hometown.  Both writers who met when living in New York City, they became victims of the economy and the digital wave that wiped out many print journalists.  When they find themselves both unemployed and Nick gets a call from his twin sister Margo to tell him that their mother is dying from cancer, the decision to move back to Nick's home is an easy one-at least for him.  Amy leaves behind everything she has ever known, including her parents, in order to follow Nick halfway across the country, where he and his twin, who he affectionately calls Go, borrow money from Amy's trust fund to start a small bar.  Meanwhile, Amy tries to settle into her new surroundings and wanders aimlessly through her days as a forced housewife.  Her side of the story is told through her diary entries, which paints a picture of an isolated, unhappy woman who maintains a facade of cheerfulness as her marriage slowly unravels.  Then one day, Nick comes home and finds the front door wide open, their cat outside, signs of a struggle in the living room, and most shockingly-blood in the kitchen.  Amy is gone, and his world goes into a tailspin overnight.

Gillian Flynn earned a bachelor's degree in journalism and English from the University of Kansas and a master's in journalism from Northwestern University. A former critic for Entertainment Weekly, she is the author of two other novels.  Gone Girl is a New York Times Bestseller and has been nominated for several awards, including an Edgar Award.

Gillian Flynn creates a stunning masterpiece with an engrossing, startlingly real character study of Nick and Amy at the center.  Their opposing narratives show how the same actions and events can be viewed in completely different ways by the people involved, a phenomenon that is anything but fictional and leads to the disintegration of real-life marriages too.  Colorful characters such as Tanner Bolt, the obscenely expensive lawyer that Nick hires when it becomes apparent that he is suspect number one in Amy's disappearance, and Ellen Abbott-the prosecutor turned true crime television analyst (shades of Nancy Grace) who vilifies Nick nightly in her self-righteous rants, add humor and irony as well as telling commentary on a society that tries criminal cases in the media and in which spouses of missing or murdered persons are judged innocent or guilty based on the amount of emotion they display.  Gone Girl is a can't-put-down must read with a thriller of a twist and a perverse ending that will leave readers begging for a sequel.

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