Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

gone girlReviewed by Jen

OK, I’ll admit I stepped a little outside of my genre comfort zone with this one, but with all of the hoopla surrounding the movie and the urging of several co-workers, I decided to give it a go.  The result? It’s somewhat of a mixed bag.  The book was engaging and kept me guessing until the very last page.  I had no idea who the “bad guy” was and I had no idea how it would all play out.  I didn’t want to put it down.  But I didn’t like the ending and ultimately, I found that there was not a single character worthy of redemption in the end. That’s a pretty tough pill for me to swallow.

If you are unfamiliar with the story, it follows the disappearance of the beautiful Amy Elliott Dunne and the subsequent investigation that ends up pointing to her husband. I knew that much from the movie trailers. But what I didn’t realize was that the book is told in alternating dual POV’s between Amy and her husband Nick.  As the events surrounding Amy’s disappearance are recounted through Nick’s eyes, Amy’s diary entries paint a picture of their relationship and how it has devolved over the past five years.

Nick is a complete and total douchebag.  It’s easy to see how he becomes the fallguy here, but I found, at times, I really would have been ok with him going down for it anyway. That is how unlikeable he is as a human being.  I don’t want to spoil it, but suffice it to say that there is a big plot twist about halfway through that turned the story on its ear, and yet I still hated him; only I hated Amy right along with him.

Here’s the thing, the book allows us glimpses of the part each character played in the destruction of their marriage.  Conceivably, you could consider either of them wronged by the other’s massive flaws.  But they are both so awful, I couldn’t even decide who was less awful.  I like an unpredictable book –and this one delivers in spades in that respect– but I also want/need someone to root for. I need an idea of the karmic justice that I would like.  And I guess you could say that everyone gets what they deserve, but I found it so unsatisfying. So incomplete.

Eh. I’ll give it credit for being evocative and unpredictable… and dark. Not what I expected.

Rating: B-

Click to purchase: Amazon

Gone Girl
by Gillian Flynn
Release Date: May 24, 2012
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson

Comments

  1. I know you have to file this somehow but this book is clearly not romantic suspense. There is not an ounce of romance in it. I read the book and thought it was brilliant in terms of plotting and pacing. But when I recommend it to folks, I always ask if they need to like the characters in their novels. If the answer is yes, I tell them to pass on Gone Girl, because these two are just plain awful.

  2. I thought exactly the same thing. Well-done, surprising, but I didn’t like anyone at the end. And I like to like characters. I thought the movie didn’t make them out to be quite as bad, probably because there wasn’t time, but it still made them pretty terrible. In the midst of all this badness, at least the movie stayed true to the nature of the book, so that was good.

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