Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Amy and Nick were the perfect couple, beautiful former New York writers, about to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary, when the world falls apart and Amy disappears in Gillian Flynn’s psychological thriller – Gone Girl.

Flynn begins the story as a romance – a marriage with some problems. Amy and Nick have moved to Nick’s boyhood home in Missouri after the recession hit and Nick lost his job. Using what’s left of Amy’s trust-fund – from her parents’ popular children’s books series “Amazing Amy” loosely based on Amy’s life –  he opens a bar with his twin sister in a town far away from the East Coast buzz. As the chapters alternate between Nick’s eye-witness account, starting with the day Amy is found missing, and Amy’s journal – backtracking to the day they met – Flynn lulls the reader into what seems to be an innocuous crime story of a missing wife. It doesn’t take long to realize that neither Amy nor Nick are who they seem to be, and that their marriage is no longer an ideal relationship. Both are lying; both have secrets. Flynn dangles the lies and contrives an intricate pattern of malevolence.

When you find out who is telling the bigger lies, the action becomes riveting. Under suspicion for killing his wife (the husband is always the first suspect), Nick faces the wrath of his in-laws, his hometown, and the general public (courtesy of TV talk shows).  Flynn adds a treasure hunt with incriminating letters and Amy’s multiple choice life options (a reference to her former job creating Sunday supplement psychological quizzes) to fuel the action with sociopathic twists and psychological drama.

Then, the story turns – into a fractured “The Talented Mr. Ripley” theme.   The ending is not satisfying; it was creepy and full of malice.  The possibilities that Flynn creates for the future include a morose cliffhanger that would be better left unresolved… a tantalizing study of amorality in characters whom anyone would avoid, if they only knew the truth.

11 thoughts on “Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

    1. Rosemary W Post author

      The first part of the book is compelling and I really enjoyed that – kept me reading. Maybe the cynical ending is her style? I haven’t read any of her other books, but it seemed more an author’s comment on what it takes to survive than a resolution. I’ve read her being compared to Patricia Highsmith; if you like that style, you will probably like this.

        1. Anne Loughrey

          I liked it a lot and just blogged about it myself. My sister didn’t like the ending, but I thought it was good and unique and I like it when you get a twist of an ending. How about you?

        2. Rosemary W Post author

          As I said in my post, the story was riveting and probably why it is now number 2 on the New York Times best seller list, but I thought the author took the easy way out with the ending – or maybe she is planning a sequel. The ending was so disappointing to me that it made me sorry I had read the book. from my post:
          “The ending is not satisfying; it was creepy and full of malice. The possibilities that Flynn creates for the future include a morose cliffhanger that would be better left unresolved… a tantalizing study of amorality in characters whom anyone would avoid, if they only knew the truth.”

  1. Jeanie F

    Just finished this book myself. I agree about the ending, and have a few other complaints as well. To me, Nick’s narrative voice was completely off. Nevertheless, the first parts are interesting and kept me reading. However, I probably won’t read anything else of Flynn’s.

    1. Rosemary W Post author

      I was actually sitting in my car at one point, late for an appointment, reading this book to get to the next exciting installment. Then, the tease turned into disappointment for me. I agree – the middle was better. Not sure I will give her another try or not. I remember having the same reaction to Chris Bohjalian’s Double Bind but then really enjoyed Night Strangers. Thanks for commenting.

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