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Sunday, 2 June 2013

Review: Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn (USA)

Title: Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
Publication: 2012/New York: Crown Publishers
ISBN #: 978-0-307-58836-4
# of pages: 415
Discovered by my niece
Read in paper format
Also available in e-book format, audio format, Spanish
Link to author’s website: 
There are two sides to every story. Usually two very different sides and that is what Nick Dunne and Amy Elliot Dunne share with the reader, the two very different perspectives of their life together. Nick is telling us in real time but Amy is talking to us via several years of diary entries. This is because Amy is missing and Nick seems very nervous about that. He’s nervous when he looks at the nearby Mississippi River, when his cell phone keeps ringing, when he keeps lying to the police.
It quickly becomes clear that Nick is a self-absorbed, spoiled, bitter thirty-something, a man you just want to grab by the lapels and shake and shake. Amy has her weaknesses too and has made mistakes in their marriage but she recognizes them and tries to improve. She is patient with Nick and tries to see his point of view. When they both lost their upscale New York City careers, Amy agreed to move back to his small Missouri hometown and even used her inheritance to set him up in a new business, a bar. It doesn’t help that his twin sister and business partner Margo is not overly enamoured with Amy.
Nick’s account begins the day of Amy’s disappearance, which also happens to be the day of their fifth wedding anniversary. Amy has set up her annual anniversary treasure hunt. Nick hates these hunts at the best of times but this year’s just seems to increase his nervousness. His neighbour calls him at the bar, concerned that Nick’s front door is wide open. He heads home to find a burning tea kettle, a plugged in iron and signs of a struggle, and calls the police. Detective Rhonda Boney and her partner Jim Gilpin are suspicious of the scene and of Nick, and they begin to dog his every move. What has he done? Will he get away with it? Will his sister stand by him, no matter what?
This was a book I could not put down. I am often suspicious of very popular books and I expected this one might be light and perhaps a bit too modern for my tastes but when my niece said she couldn’t put it down, I thought I should try it. I was quickly absorbed in the varying versions of Nick and Amy’s life. The twists and turns – even when you think you see them coming – were excellent. The characters of Nick and Amy are so well drawn, I could picture them in my mind’s eye. The background was particularly poignant, a sad depiction of the last few years in the USA: high flyers brought sharply to earth with the economic crash, new but mostly empty housing developments sitting like ghost towns, individuals left embittered by larger forces. I’m not sure how I feel about the ending though, perhaps because one true innocent will have a future too horrible to consider. Rating: (°o°)! Up all night to find out what happened!
Notable sentence: “I just wanted to make sure I got the last word.”

 Author Gillian Flynn has written two other books to date, “Sharp Objects” and “Dark Places”. She, like Nick, lost her New York job as a pop culture writer during the downturn and recently celebrated her fifth wedding anniversary. Her lawyer husband, Brett Nolan, crops up in each of her books, this time as an anagram, lawyer Tanner Bolt.  One can only hope that is where the similarities with this story end!
For an alternative review, check out The Book Smugglers   Note: it does have several plot spoilers in it, so it is best to read it after you have read the book.


  1. I'm glad to find a fellow admirer of this book, as lately it's become a bit of a victim of its own popularity and some people are disappointed with it after all the hype. I thought the two main voices were very strong and credible (even if not likeable), although, like you, I was disappointed with the ending. What shocked me was how easily I sympathised and identified with one of the characters... and then found out I was completely duped!

    1. Must admit, the popularity initially made me avoid the book. Now I want to go back and re-read it (if only other books weren't calling to me) after knowing of the duplicity!

  2. I just finished this one too, Debra. I'm glad I'm not the only one that took forever to get to it! I liked this one more than Sharp Objects, but I wasn't madly in love with it.

    1. Always interesting to read different opinions! After only hearing positive reviews, I just came across a second negative one. And it sounds like you felt it was just okay.

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