Friday, December 28, 2012

Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn)

I have heard so much about this book since its publication. I feel like I've been saying that a lot in my reviews lately (mostly because I have been trying to read a bunch of 2012 books I've heard a lot of good about), but this book has had so much buzz and hype that I initially chose to ignore it. I know, I am the biggest snob in the whole world. "Ew, this book is a popular book regularly categorized as a 'thriller'. I'm too good for that." This is how I genuinely think.

And then, for some reason, I decided not to ignore it. I really wanted to read Gone Girl. And I am so glad that I did. First, I would like to disagree with the classification of this book as a thriller. I have never read a book from the mystery/thriller department (talk to my grandmother, who has read many a James Patterson and Sue Grafton), so I am not sure what exactly qualifies a book as so: a murder mystery? Is that all? I don't know. This book felt a lot more psychological study than it did mystery, which is not a bad thing. Gillian Flynn's book succeeds so marvelously on all fronts.

Nick and Amy have been married for five years; she is a rich Manhattanite, the inspiration for a once-popular series of children's books, Amazing Amy, and he a magazine writer from Missouri. For several reasons, they have to move back to Missouri, where their marriage begins to rapidly dissolve. On the day of their fifth anniversary, Amy disappears. Nick becomes the prime suspect.

I was really not expecting to like Gone Girl. I was imagining a book that was kind of lowbrow, filled with "twists and turns" that were predictable or unnecessary. What I got instead was an incredibly complex character study of two people we want to like but who are too screwed-up once we know them deeply. That is, of course, the strength of the novel--how well I felt I knew the two main characters, who take turns narrating chapters. They are so well-developed and realistic (which, I suspect, is a criticism of the novel by some--they aren't likable, they're too real--just like The Casual Vacancy).

The plot was, of course, engaging. As the hunt for Amy stretches on and on, there are just enough unexpected developments to keep the story interesting. The twists are obviously well-thought-out; they never feel tacked on; of course, some of the complications seem predictable, but this is an unavoidable problem and Flynn handles them by not trying to maximize the shock factor of the reveals of these lesser twists.

Gone Girl was a book that was a total pleasure to read. I was compelled to keep reading because I was genuinely invested in the lives of the characters who are so fascinating and multidimensional. The word "masterful" really fits Gillian Flynn--she is a masterful writer who has woven a delicious novel. One complaint I heard frequently involved the ending. I am not going to spoil it, but I want to comment that I think the ending is perfect; it's exactly the right amounts of damaged and psychotic, just like the rest of the novel. It is what I would hope for and expect of the characters in this book.

I assure you, you won't be disappointed in this book, which has such a wide audience appeal. If you're one of those "one-book-a-year" people (or even less), then this is the perfect book to for your yearly quota. Beach read, ski lodge read, late-at-night-in-bed read. Whatever, wherever, whenever. Read Gone Girl.

My rating: 5/5
Gone Girl on Goodreads (alliteration is my friend)
See what I've been reading lately!

1 comment:

  1. I'm pretty sure this is the first non-"this is the most awesome book" review I've read. I can't decided about reading this one BUT I am more inclined now to read some French.