Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl

Gillian Flynn

Marriage can be a real killer.

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 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.

One of the most 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.

Publisher: May 14th 2012

Published: Broadway Books

actual rating — ✰✰ . 5

Parental Abuse/Neglect, Blood Depiction, Mentions of Domestic Abuse, Mentions of Rape, Murder, Mentions of Bullying, Mention of Stalking, Mention of Abduction, Animal Death

“Most beautiful, good things were done by women people scorn.” 

I can firmly say that I am so proud to have finally finished this book. Did I think it would take damn near two weeks to get through? No. Was I expecting to be bored? Absolutely not, but here I am.

This is inevitably going to be full of spoilers; I will attempt to avoid comparisons to the movie… what have you. Enjoy.

Now, I do want to preface that I wholeheartedly believe that the movie outdid this book (we’re not going to include my absolute crush on Rosamund Pike). This book felt long, some things were focused on a little too long. Something about the writing felt very… pretentious? Nick in general felt very pretentious, but I’ll get to that later. It just… felt trite reading, you know? The voice was less inviting and more overbearing. But that’s fine– I’ll focus on the plot, right?

“Unconditional love is an undisciplined love and, as we all have seen, undisciplined love is disastrous.” 

Because this is the love story of Amy and Nick, their move to Missouri (heheh misery?) after both become unemployed and the day Amy went missing. And as we go along, we see being married to Amazing Amy wasn’t that great, Nick isn’t as perfect as he would want the world to perceive him to be and how childhood trauma can form the darkest parts of a person.

I will also say, the characters are easily distinguishable from the next. They are interesting on a base level and I say that because again, this book was a struggle to get through. I was BORED. But, at least the characters weren’t bland– I had very strong feelings for them all… not the most favorable of feelings, but it’s something. And the back and forth, from past to present, from fiction to facts, from Amy to Nicks’ perspective was seamless. Granted, the more we get into this review, the more I will reiterate that Nick… was not my favorite. At all. We’ll get there though.

You know what? We’ll get there now: Nick was pathetic. From page 52, it was already a clear picture that he was a useless, selfish, self centered husband who has a weird relationship with his sister. Let’s tack on the inferiority complex and him seeing women as dumb things he can sleep with because he is just so sexy™. Oh and he’s been cheating on his wife with… not someone barely legal, but the way he describes her and her girlish ways… it’s giving predator.

I don’t know if this is brilliant or lazy writing. See, there’s no redeeming qualities in Nick. At all. A misogynist who thinks women need to cater to his needs and emotions— abusive household aside, creating an easy villain is… you know… easy. And trying to have us root for him because he may or may not be getting set up by his sociopathic wife is also… lazy. It’s like we’re rooting for the lesser of two evils, but you’re not doing anything to add nuance to his evil.

I understand that you’re being framed for murder, but you disliking the women around you for believing the undeniable evidence in front of them? Especially when you keep LYING AND GETTING CAUGHT??? The misogyny really does run deep— why are you mad at Go, your sister, for looking at you like a suspect when all she’s asked you to do was trust her and she’s on your side… but you keep lying? And dragging her into it? Why are you mad at the detectives when, again, you LIED and your lies aren’t adding up??? CONFUSION.

“It had gotten to the point where it seemed like nothing matters, because I’m not a real person and neither is anyone else.

I would have done anything to feel real again.” 

But it’s fine. Because those two women are the only good women portrayed here… which ironically is linked to the fact that they are on his side throughout the entire book despite everything… again every woman need to cater to Nick, right?

However, it’s not that Flynn made an easily despicable man— it’s that Amy makes perfect sense. She was intriguing and yes, she wasn’t right, but escapism and the fact that she’s doing and has done some fucked up things. We see the extent and lengths she will go to right a wrong in her eyes. She is not excused here, but we still inevitable are on her side. She’s a bit more extreme in it, but I think every woman out there can relate to the Cool Girl monologue and her feelings of inadequacy and living up to unrealistic expectations people put on you and feelings of being pushed aside and rejected by someone who is supposed to love you, flaws and all. Again, this is a very extreme portrayal of that, I’m aware.

and honestly two of those stars belong to Amy and that monologue alone. 

Yet, as good as the second half is, when the twist happens… we knew something was fishy from the start, with or without the hints we got from Nick that all was not peachy in the marriage. It’s clear this entire premise is about visages, the masks we put on for people, marriage difficulties and how well you know the person you’ve married. There’s feminism… except NOT when Amy believes herself so above other women its ridiculous. We can’t fully immerse ourselves in Nicks’ plight because we know things aren’t what they’re supposed to be. Not even because he’s an unreliable narrator, it’s because from the jump, he basically tells us he’s an unreliable narrator… isn’t the allure of an unreliable narrator the fact that we aren’t 100% in on it? I don’t know, maybe that’s just me.

I am actually going to hide this spoiler, because it delves deeper into the ending and how satisfactory I found Amy and her motivations… { CLICK FOR SPOILERS }I know a lot of people might be bewildered with why Amy with all of her brilliance decided to go back to a man as useless as Nick… and I understand it. See, it wasn’t that she was fooled by his speeches during interviews and such, she wanted that. She states multiple times that Nick’s pretending to be a better man for her was exactly what she needed from him. She made him better… and what’s better than a man molded for you and only you? Is she deluded? Yeah. But she knows exactly what she’s doing and if she didn’t win in the end, I’d probably rant and give this zero stars.

Honestly, this entire book and review feels like a contradiction of feelings. Did I like it? Maybe? Do I recommend it? I can’t say. You want a barely feminist female revenge story that’s fucked up? Sure. A decent thriller? Eh. Contradictions, amirite?

1 thought on “Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn”

  1. I watch movie. I liked the plot but not characters, they both are unlikable ans so hateful. I kept thinking while watching, why don’t they just leave each other, it would make everyone’s life easier even those who is watching the movie. I’m definitely not reading the book.

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