Monday, October 13, 2014

Book Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Title: Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
Published: 2012 by Broadway Books
(Amazon / Goodreads)

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.

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

This is definitely one of the most talked about books of the moment. With the movie having just come out people are scrambling to read it before they see the movie, enjoying the movie so much they pick up the book, or talking about how they read it ages ago! It has indeed been in my TBR for ages but I didn't quite get to it yet (you know how that goes). One of my bookish friends has been trying to get me to read it but when I told her I was just going to see the movie first she informed me that with this book, that was a bad idea. So I bit the bullet and read the book.

The merits of Gone Girl definitely come from it's plot. The book is divided into three different sections. Each section has it's own purpose and it's own distinct ending that includes a big twist or reveal that leaves the reader both curious and a little shocked. And each section, and little moments within, does an excellent job in moving the main plotline along in a steady and interesting way. I'm not sure if I would call it a mystery or a psychological thriller because the book walked the line between both genres effortlessly. There was definitely a sense of wonder and mystery but that wasn't really the focus of the book. The focus of the book was more on the characters. It takes on a sort of "he said, she said" kind of vibe as we are hearing from one character one thing as the diary of the other character paints a different story. The book is surprisingly character-driven as the focus becomes about their mental states and what they are capable of, instead of what they did.

And because the focus is on the characters there are some truly interesting and compelling characters that are created. It's really hard to talk about specifics of the characters without giving away spoilers for the book. Just suffice to say that they are all extremely complex and no one is to be trusted. Every one has their secrets to keep and they spend most of the book manipulating each other, and us as the reader. Every one of them is slightly crazy. Okay really crazy. These people are cuckoo. All of them. And it's weird to say but that's what makes be enjoy them, it's what makes them likable. Likable is the wrong word, enjoyable maybe. Fun to read about. Yes, they are crazy and ridiculous, but that is what makes them complex and engaging. That's what makes the book so interesting. Between the compelling plot and the complex characters this book is full of surprises and keeps you reading to the very end.

I will say however that I wasn't entirely satisfied with the ending. It was actually kind of frustrating. Throughout most of the book I did predict at least a part of the twists (including what I would call the major reveal) but I was still shocked and entertained when it was revealed. Until the end. After all that build up things left in a way that felt to me like it was anticlimactic. I'm not even entirely sure what the climax was and what the falling action was. I've already said that I really enjoyed the plotting, which made the lack of a satisfying ending all the more frustrating. But what was mostly annoying is that I had built this understanding of one character in particular and part of their actions and decisions made sense but then they seemed to mentally change. I was invested in them as one way and then it was if they flipped a switch and became the opposite of how I had known them to be and it came at a time where they needed to stay the same.

Two days later I'm still not entirely sure I have come to terms with everything that happened in this book. I do know one thing for sure, it was fun ride and a good read. I really enjoyed a book that walked the line between mystery and psychological thriller with complex and interesting characters. And my friend was right, I probably wouldn't have read the book if I had seen the movie first if I had seen to movie first. But now I am really excited to go see the movie to see how it translates.

I give Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn 8.5 out of 10

Have you read Gone Girl? What did you think? Did you also see the movie? How does to translate? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

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