It’s an ordinary day for Nick Dunne when his well meaning but busybody-type neighbour rings him at work and tells him that his front door is wide open. Nick’s wife Amy is supposed to be home and she’s not the sort that leaves a door open. Nick rushes back home to find Amy gone and signs of a struggle in the living room. His wife has disappeared without a trace… And as the police turn up and begin to investigate, it seems their sights are settled firmly on Nick himself.
Nick is desperate to find her – he knows that he didn’t harm her but the evidence is beginning to pile up and look damning. The police find a diary that Nick never even knew existed, portraying a marriage he didn’t even know that he was a part of. No matter what Nick does it always ends up looking wrong and he can’t keep the lies from falling out of his mouth, knowing that the things he is hiding would make the situation look even worse were they all to come out. As the twists and turns keep coming, Nick thinks that finally, he’s figured out what happened to Amy. But the struggle will be getting someone to believe him…
I requested Gone Girl from the publisher through NetGalley because it sounded utterly fabulous! And when the time came to read it, everything started so well. Nick and Amy were described alternatively through Amy’s diary entries and Nick’s narrative and I was really drawn into the mystery. What had happened to Amy? Nick was charming and funny, it was hard to see him as a murderer, chopping up his wife’s body and floating her down the river out back. But there was no doubt that the reader could pick up on cracks in their marriage and Amy’s unhappiness at them leaving behind their Brownstone in New York and returning to Nick’s home state because of his ill mother. They’d both lost their jobs in recent times (both were writers) and once they moved, Nick used the last of Amy’s sapped trust fund to buy a bar, something else that doesn’t help his cause in trying to prove that he didn’t murder Amy.
I’m not going to spoiler this, but I am going to say that from around the halfway mark, things certainly slowed down for me. You do find out what happens to Amy remarkably early in the book but things don’t end there. From then on there are more twists, more turns, more double crossing and more backstabbing than anyone could ever believe. I found myself clicking through pages a little hurriedly, trying to get to certain stages in the story that I knew must be coming as my interest waned in the general mystery. I found myself violently disliking both Amy and Nick at times and I can’t really articulate why here without spoiling things for people who want to read this book.
Gone Girl did lose me in regards to the overall mystery. For me it just went on too long, involved too many implausible things and had too many twists and turns, too much of the psychotic. But where it did keep me was its brilliant look at a marriage. This book poses some very interesting questions about matrimony – after all, how well do we really know the person we have chosen to spend the rest of our lives with? You hear so many reports in the news of people having two separate lives with two wives, or a wife and a mistress and none of them knew about the other. Or there are reports about people who snap and harm others in their family and all anyone can say is “but they were so mild” in stunned disbelief. There are so many stories where people find out their beloveds are not at all who they thought they were and that is explored well in this book. Both Amy and Nick are disenchanted with their ideas of each other, partially slowly, over time and also with the event of Amy’s disappearance.
When I first finished this, I couldn’t decide if it was utterly brilliant or just a couple of steps too far for me. I eventually settled on a few steps too far – I’m impatient I think, and wading my way through the myriad of twists in this one led me to become short tempered with it. But the underlying idea and the ultimate finale are some brilliant writing. I’d definitely read another Gillian Flynn novel, without question.
Book #103 of 2012