Published June 5th, 2012 by Crown
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.
Small disclaimer, I am a huge Gillian Flynn fan. I am the type of Flynn fan who keeps multiple copies of her books around the house just in case I need to loan a few copies out to friends. Sharp Objects is easily one of my all time favorite books, I’ve read it more times than I can count. Dark Places was not as amazing as Sharp Objects but I still loved it to pieces and have re-read it a thousand times. I was so excited to get into this book that I was practically salivating on it. Unfortunately, while I enjoyed this book, it was a slight disappointment for me. It is with much sadness that I have to proclaim Gone Girl as my least favorite Flynn book to date.
The premise of this book is interesting because how many times have we seen this in the last few decades? It seems like at least once a year a beautiful woman goes missing, the husband makes himself look oh so guilty, then it comes to light the husband is a no good cheater, then he’s a wife beater, then it comes out the woman was pregnant and he didn’t want it. Oh the horror! Everyone watching the television coverage sits back in satisfaction when the husband is finally carted off to jail for murdering his wife. So to write a book about this very topic, I thought, would be fascinating. What if it really wasn’t quite that simple? And once you add in a Gillian Flynn twist, it can only be fantastic.
The characters in this book weren’t very likeable. Which is common with this author, so I expected it. Although, I will admit that while I didn’t like Nick my main emotion for him was sadness. I felt bad for him. I felt like we were only getting the side of the story that made him look like a shitty excuse for a man and a sugar coated version of everything else. It wasn’t fair and I saw right through it. I didn’t really like Amy from the start, I found her voice and character to be disingenuous at best. Unfortunately that meant that most of the shocking twists in plot, I had already figured out well ahead of time.
The plot was tight and well put together, but it did drag in certain places. I really liked the layout of the story and characters and it was clear that this was very well thought out. But every now and then I caught myself thinking, okay I get it stop pounding the point home!
Up until the ending, I was really enjoying the book. It definitely wasn’t my favorite of this author’s books, but I was still having a great time reading it. But then the ending. I don’t even know what to say about the ending because that’s how lukewarm I am about it. It was a perfect ending from a character perspective. It fit all of the character’s personalities perfectly and was exactly what those kind of people would do. But it was also painfully predictable for me. I suspected that’s how it would end starting around the middle of the book, and that disappointed me. I am used to getting a huge and unexpected twist at the end from Flynn, and I didn’t get even a little bit of a surprise. Maybe I just know the author’s style too well and so I got too good at predicting her plot. I am not sure where the problem happened, but it left me feeling underwhelmed about the book in general.