Gone Girl is one of those books that everyone has heard about by now. It’s been a constant bestseller in the store I work at for two years now. It hit my radar and was dismissed for being the one genre I really don’t enjoy – Mystery. But it kept growing and my interest grew with it and, finally, I knew it was time to read the book.
I read it this week, I finished it today, and, wow, is my heart ruined. Gillian Flynn has managed to captivate, horrify, and destroy me all in the span of one novel… so, of course, I bought her other two books, because I appreciate it when an author manages to shake me up this much.
Gone Girl follows Nick and Amy Dunne, two people approaching their fifth year wedding anniversary. Their marriage has been drifting the last few years but Amy is determined to reignite their spark… until she mysteriously disappears on the day of their anniversary. Now, worried for his wife (and despite his lackluster approach) Nick aids in the investigation. Before long the investigation turns sour as Nick himself is implicated in the potential harm of his own wife.
This is a very simple book with very complicated characterization. That’s what makes it so good, the characterization. It’s told in alternating point-of-view chapters; Nick’s during the investigation and Amy’s in old diary entries. The further we get into the narrative the more absorbing the story gets, like sinking into a quagmire. Through it all the voices just get stronger, the drama richer and sharper until the tension in the book crackles like a lightning storm. I cannot remember a book that has kept me this engrossed, Mystery or not, and yet there’s a caustic feel to the novel that gives me the shivers, makes my skin crawl, and it all feeds right back to the characters in question.
These people… these vile and destructive people… Man, do I loathe both of them. I have never read such a corrosive tale of hatred between two people. Both of them are awful, despicable, and horrendous. They delight in manipulating and wrecking one another. The things that they do to one another in their marriage, a marriage ostensibly built upon love and genuine affection, makes every drop of my blood shudder. I cannot remember a book that has bothered me this much. I hated it.
And yet I read it and I loved it profoundly and inexplicably… until the last three pages. I understand the ending, it makes sense from every angle, but it’s still reads incorrectly to the viewer. I wanted a completely different ending and I suspect I am not alone in that. Flynn’s ending is just a horrifying as the rest of the novel, like an amputated limb reattached incorrectly. Like a human body with the head pointing the other way. Intellectually I get it. Emotionally, I am dissatisfied. And I can’t stop thinking about the book and these people.
… and I can’t think of better praise than that, that I can’t stop thinking of the book.
Brava, Gillian Flynn, brava. You are auto-buy for me now. Just like that.
5 out of 5 stars.
That ending though… That ending slays me.
– Follow the Reader –