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Once Upon A Bookshelf

Where Fiction and Reality Meet

Gone Girl

Author: Gillian Flynn
Originally Published: 2012
Publisher: Crown Publishers, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House
Source: Borrowed from my mother

The Story

Gone GirlFrom the inner flap of the book:

Marriage can be a real killer.

One of the 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 Tribute 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 create 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 the 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.

The Response

Let me start this off by saying that Flynn is obviously a very talented author. There is no way she could be otherwise with how strongly this book made me feel. She is able to craft characters and a story that demand you react to them. The book was well-narrated, and Flynn was able to give the main characters their own unique voices. I have no doubt that Flynn is extremely talented.

But holy frak.

This book has managed to do something that very, very few have ever done. It is now categorized in my brain along with only F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Mordecai Richler’s The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz as being one of the books I have most loathed in my life. I hated this book so much that there was a point where I seriously considered physically hurling it across the room just to take out my rage towards it.

I should have known better than to pick this up in the first place – I borrowed it from my mother, only because of the buzz about the movie. She told me, when giving it to me, that the characters are all despicable. And I don’t think that even begins to describe it. My goodness!

Here’s the thing. The main characters are all professionals at manipulation. I don’t know if the characters grow during the novel or if they just learn how to manipulate others better. I don’t know if they learn anything from this experience, except maybe learning how to survive the other person. I don’t understand any motivation from the characters other than saving their own self-centred skin and making themselves look like the innocent victim (when neither of them are). And because of this, I don’t know how much of what is related in the novel is actually something that I can believe. The narrators aren’t reliable at all.

Actually, is this maybe a look at someone who isn’t mentally stable? Does Amy maybe have Narcissistic Personality Disorder? That would make the book slightly more understandable, and if I had considered that going into the novel, maybe I wouldn’t have hated her quite as much.

I found the pacing of the novel to be rather slow – especially for the first part of the book. It could also be the fact that I was having such a hard time really liking any of the characters and so didn’t want to spend any more time reading this book than I already had. In all honesty, by the time the pacing sped up, it may have just been that I finally wanted to see if either got their comeuppance… (and I’m completely unsatisfied by how it ended.)

Again, I want to be clear that I have no doubt that Flynn is a very talented author. This was extremely well put together, and there aren’t any plotholes at all. The characters, while despicable, are three dimensional. This book just got under my skin more than any other book I’ve read in a very long time.

I don’t know if I’ll be reading any of Flynn’s other novels – I may, if I know upfront that the characters are less despicable, because if Flynn can make me hate a character that much, than she could probably make me absolutely fall in love with one too.

The Bottom Line

Not my cup of tea. I won’t be reading this again, and am rather glad to be finished it. Time to move on to something more upbeat and pleasant.

Posted by Courtney Wilson @ 7:19 am August 12, 2014.
Category: Mystery
Book Author(s):

  • Kyla @ Mommy’s Weird

    I think I love it that you hated it. I loved it.. then hated it. And now cannot wait for the movie. Ben Affleck is perfectly cast.

  • Lisa

    Between what you’ve said & what my mom said about it, I don’t think I’ll be reading this. I have the feeling it would be one of those books that I would have to force myself to finish.

  • Courtney Wilson

    You and I seem to like a lot of the same books, and yeah, I think you should skip this one.

  • Courtney Wilson

    I could only picture Ben Affleck in my mind when I was reading this, and yes, he is perfectly cast. But only because I don’t often like the roles he plays and this seemed to be written with him in mind. :P

  • Bibliomama

    I quite enjoyed the book, but I know exactly what you mean and I’ve felt that way about other books. In this one I didn’t get emotionally involved, just looked on as a somewhat horrified, somewhat amused spectator, so it didn’t affect me emotionally. For what it’s worth, I’ve read Flynn’s other books and they’re dark, but the characters aren’t as uniformly loathsome, in my opinion. I think she was really experimenting with the whole manipulation thing in this book – fairly successfully, I think. I don’t think I’ll see the movie, but that could change.