Friday, 11 October 2013

Gone Girl

Title: Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
Pages: 432 (ebook)
Published: June 5th 2012
Published 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?

Nick and Amy started out as the perfect married couple. Very much in love, and neither too demanding of the other. Then the recession came along and both of them lost their jobs in the space of a few months. When Nick's mother is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he decides that they're moving back to his home town in Missouri to help his sister look after their mother and father. This is when things start to go wrong, and two years later, on their fifth wedding anniversary, Amy goes missing. There are signs of a struggle in the lounge, and forensics show cleaned up blood in the kitchen. Where is Amy?

This isn't really my kind of thing at all. I'll occasionally dip into crime thrillers, but very rarely, and I'm only reading this for my book club. For all that, it wasn't bad by any means, and I didn't not like it or anything. It's just...not my thing. If it was, I'd probably appreciate it a lot more.

Because this is a very clever book, with clever characters and a storyline with twists and turns abounding. It all makes sense, and looking back there are hints in the very early pages of some of the underlying things which later come to light. The whole thing has been very cleverly thought out, and both Amy and Nick make sense as people when you learn of their respective backgrounds, the way they've been brought up and the kinds of people their parents are.

At first, it felt a little like I was being clobbered around the head with adjectives, but this soon settled down. Or I just got used to it, in which case I'm willing to attribute it to the two narrators being writers. Others I know who've read it have commented on the excessive use of language, but in all honesty I didn't notice anything particularly out of the ordinary. Maybe I've just grown used to swear words in the media, or maybe it's just differing sensibilities. Either way - be aware of this, and know that this is definitely not a book for younger readers!

Nick is a very likeable guy, for the most part. Yeah, he has his idiotic moments but he makes sense as a person, especially given the horrific situation he finds himself in. He's trying to make it seem like he hasn't killed his wife despite some pretty damning evidence by hiding the things that might back up what's already there, which in the end only makes things worse. He's flawed - very flawed - but he is essentially a good guy, I think. He just got a little lost and made some stupid mistakes, which he himself is willing to admit to.

Amy...Amy is a difficult one. We see her through her own diary entries for the most part, and a little through Nick's memories of her. She comes across as a very sweet, likeable person, if a little bitter about the literary counterpart her parents created of her: Amazing Amy. No pressure growing up at all!

There was a twist I didn't see coming, although again looking back it wasn't a complete surprise, but the ending was a little predictable once it came down to it - it just wouldn't have made sense for the outcome to be anything else.

A good book and an intriguing read, and I can see why it has propelled Gillian Flynn into the limelight. Would I read anything else by her? I probably wouldn't pick it up, but I wouldn't actively avoid them by any means. Again, it just comes down to the fact that crime is not my thing.

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