Book Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
I’m late for the party. I bought this book ages ago and realise that everyone but me has probably already read it. However, I’m one of those annoying ‘read the book before watching the movie’ types, so I decided it was time I jumped on the trendy bandwagon and read the thing before seeing it in the cinemas (or too much is revealed by movie previews or friends who go to see it).
And now that I’ve read, I believe reading it quickly was a good idea. I would really recommend not talking to anyone who has read or watched because, as River Song would say, ‘spoilers!’ I’m talking Sixth Sense type of thing here.
I tried to keep that in mind when I wrote this review, as it would be a shame to reveal too much of the plot.
I would think, however, we all know the general premise — a girl is gone. Is she dead? If she is dead, did her husband kill her? And if he didn’t, where is she?
It’s all rather usual thriller fare when you put it like that.
The thing that elevates it to another level, I believe, is Flynn’s style of presenting the plot. The story is told via first person, with chapters alternating between the hubby’s (Nick) and wife’s (Amy) point of view. (FYI this doesn’t give us any hints to Amy’s whereabouts as her chapters come in the form of diary entries.)
The reader has no idea who out of the two is the reliable narrator and on this score, I found Flynn played me like a fiddle, with my loyalties switching from Nick to Amy and back again more than once.
The book’s settings are wonderfully written and as just as unsettling as the presumed crime.
There is also an appealing array of minor characters including Nick’s twin sister, the police officers investigating, and Nick’s horribly repulsive father (who, like those dismal settings, is probably a little too real for anyone’s liking).
Many times whilst reading I found myself questioning human nature, my beliefs, and how people would react to certain events. Therefore, I think the book would encourage much discussion and would be the perfect read for a book club.
It’s a quick read too. Flynn adds cliffhanger after cliffhanger to the chapters, ensuring the reader is eager to read on to discover the truth. (I am actually pleased I’ve finished the book so I can go to bed at a reasonable hour!)
Many people talk of the ‘twist’ with this book (even I did with the Sixth Sense comment!), and I will admit to being a little confused (and feeling dumb!) as to which twist they’re actually referring to. There is a major twist which is revealed when you start part 2 of the book (around the halfway mark) but I didn’t find it very surprising. So, I’m more inclined to believe the ‘twist’ is the ending.
So this is where I also have to confess I’m one of those people who hated the ending. I would call it more twisted than a twist. I can see it’s clever, but… No.
I actually was ready to give this book 5/5 until I reached that ending. It made me feel completely dissatisfied, and even a little cheated, at the tone the book finished on.
I’d still highly recommend the book. After all, you might enjoy the ending! (I’m sure many have!)
And yes, I think I’ll go and see the movie. I’ll be interested in seeing how they adapt it and how they handle the ending! I wouldn’t recommend it for a first date, however. Nor even recommend watching it with your spouse. Actually, I’m not sure if I will go and see it… I might be too freaked out… Maybe a happy rom-com…