My Rating: 5/5 TARDISes
Date Published: June 5th, 2012
Publisher: Crown Publishers
Pages: 419 pages
Synopsis: 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?
This is a spoiler-free review.
Gone Girl is an incredibly well crafted, captivating mystery. With an ingenious plot and many intriguing characters, Gillian Flynn creates a fantastically twisted and unpredictable novel. As I am finding, it is an extremely hard book to review without spoilers, though I am giving it my best shot. I am a huge fan of crime and mystery novels, so I knew going in that this would be an enjoyable read for me; however, I did not expect to love it quite as much as I did. I ended up absolutely adoring every aspect of this book, and just this one novel has already made me a major Gillian Flynn fan.
Though this is a fantastic read no matter what, going into this novel knowing next to nothing about the story would be the best way to go about it. Flynn has skillfully constructed an exceedingly complex plot, with an astonishing amount of layers that unfold slowly as it progresses. There are so many different threads, going off in all directions, which are brought back together in the end and connected to each other. I was amazed by how carefully created the storyline was; how even the smallest elements addressed early in the novel had played a significant role by the end. As a writer myself, I truly admire the amount of cleverness and expert planning that must have gone into the assembling of this narrative.
In my opinion, one of the most impressive aspects of this novel is how frighteningly realistic everything is. The scenarios are outrageous, but they never get to the point of being unbelievable; they are unlikely, uncommon, but humanly possible.
Gone Girl is also full of vivid characters that add further dimension to the plot, many times due to their unreliability. Almost all of the characters that are central to the telling of the story have their own secrets that they are keeping from each other, as well as the reader. We are typically trained to trust the narrator in the stories that we read, but in this novel, it quickly becomes clear that this is not something that can be done.
This is not a story of good versus evil. All of the characters have their faults; all of them are in the wrong in some way or another. No one person is entirely likeable or worthy of full sympathy, and that is what ends up making all of them so enjoyable and interesting. They add further mystery and intrigue to the narrative, and their lack of truthfulness keeps the reader on their toes, wondering whether or not to trust.
Tying in with what I said earlier about realism in the plot, these characters do outrageous things to each other and to hide incriminating facts, however they are extremely believable. It never reaches a point where you are questioning their ability to pull off what they do. You may wonder how people could do such things; how they could get to the point where they feel they need to behave this way. But nothing is ever an unrealistic feat, and recognizing this makes the overall story even more unnerving.
And now we come to my absolute favorite part about this novel: the writing style. I completely fell in love with Flynn’s writing style and felt that it carried me seamlessly through the novel. She does a fantastic job of setting the tone, and her words flow consistently well throughout. She captures the voices of her characters perfectly, and paints a very sharp and chilling picture.
Suffice it to say, I loved this book and very highly recommend giving it a try. This is by far one of the most well-written and expertly plotted novels that I have ever read. It was a fast-paced, disturbing, and startling read, that had me completely captivated from page one. It takes a lot of skill to construct something like this, and I am incredibly impressed by her talent as a writer. Gillian Flynn has created a masterpiece.