Monday, September 17, 2012

REVIEW: Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn. Published 2012 by Crown. ISBN 9780307588364

Wow. Chilling. Twisty. Suspenseful. Can't-stop-reading-till-it's-done-able.

That's almost all I can tell you about Gillian Flynn's remarkable new suspenser, Gone Girl, which does live up to all that hype.

Set in the present day in North-Somewhere (Carthage) Missouri, Gone Girl tells the story of a marriage made in Hell between Nick Dunne and Amy Elliott. The story opens on the day of their fifth wedding anniversary, but that also happens to be the day their marriage dissolves forever. Nick comes home to find the door wide open, the furniture upended, and Amy gone.  Nick seems like kind of a bad guy; he doesn't get along with her family,  doesn't seem that concerned about his wife, seems kind of put out and bothered by the search and derisive of the police as well as those who would wish him well. And he's got secrets. What follows alternates between Nick in the present day, cooperating, or not, with the investigation into her disappearance, and Amy's diary detailing their courtship and marriage up till now.

And now that's really all I can tell you about the plot.

What I will tell you is, if you like suspense, and you haven't read this, read it. More than just a story about a missing woman, it's about madness and entitlement, the drive to perfection and what happens when we realize that the perfection we've been promised is pulled away, again and again and again. It's also about media culture, gender war and the power of stories to define who we are, including the stories we tell ourselves.

And that ending? Ominous, scary, brilliant and perfect. Flynn writes the whole book with steely control and precision, but nothing tops those last few sentences for pure chill. I haven't read anything like this since Shirley Jackson. I picked the book up because Flynn's last book, Dark Places, kept tugging at my sleeve in bookstores though I never got around to it. I was determined not to let her latest pass me by, especially in the wake of the hype around it. But don't be put off by the hype- this is one incredible piece of work sure to provoke conversations and nightmares for a long time after you're done.

Rating: BUY!

FTC Disclosure: I did not receive this book for review.

19 comments:

Zibilee said...

Oh, I am so glad that you loved this one! It was amazing, and so suspenseful. I want to go back and read Flynn's other books as well, as I have heard they are dark and gripping. That ending though...man what an ending. Nice review today, Marie!

Natalie~Coffee and a Book Chick said...

I loved this book and could not put it down! And if you haven't read her debut novel Sharp Objects, definitely pick that one up. Just as twisted!

bermudaonion said...

I finally have this so I have no excuse for not reading it yet.

Tami said...

So glad I can leave a comment. :) Wonderful review of Gone Girl. I agree it was un-put-downable, and that the ending was totally surprising and, yes, ominous. Almost makes me hopeful there's a sequel? I just want a peek into that life two years down the road.

Nicole said...

I'm reading this with my book club for this month. In the middle of another book right now, but I'm hoping to pick this one up by Wednesday or Thursday. I'm so excited for it.

Jeanne said...

Huh. I had pretty much dismissed this as just another over-hyped mystery.

Athira said...

I really enjoyed this one too! It was quite clever.

Mary said...

Oh yes! One of the best, most suspenseful books i've read in ages. Truly a 'page turner.' (I know that description is over used, but in this circumstance, it's true.) :) I liked Gillian Flynn's previous two, Sharp Objects and Dark Places, but this is even better.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Can't wait to experience it for myself. I've loved all of her earlier works.

caite said...

I have read like 100 reviews of this one, 99 positive and one bad. So it is on the acquire list. 58 imetimes

Amy said...

what happens when we realize that the perfection we've been promised is pulled away, again and again and again

Yeah I thought the thematic material in this book was what made it for me. Picking apart the stuff about identity and reality is a lot of fun with this book.

Jessica said...

OK, this is the second TOTAL RAVE I've gotten on this book. Thanks! I'll move it to the top of the pile.

Alyce said...

Every time I see a review of this I keep waiting to see if someone is going to say something negative, and everyone seems to love it across the board. I'm becoming convinced that I need to move outside my comfort zone and read this one.

Marie said...

Alyce, there are definitely people who hated it. Go on GoodReads and you'll find them. The end is very controversial among readers- you either love it or you hate it. like I said I thought it was brilliant but there's definitely a divide on that!

Anna said...

Glad to see you enjoyed it. I've been wanting to read it, but had to send my copy back to the library before I got to it. I think I'll wait until all the buzz dies down before giving it a go. My expectations are way too high right now I think.

ChaosIsAFriendOfMine said...

I LOVED this book too! It was really hard for me to review it with no spoilers - your review is great.

Bellezza said...

I think connecting this to Shirley Jackson is a very good comparison. It was a creepy book, which I thoroughly enjoyed until the end. Or about 3/4 of the way through. Then it all just became a bit too much. I felt she played around with me one time too many, but that's just me. Most everyone loves it.

stacybuckeye said...

Since I want to read this I didn't want to read too much of your review. I did lots of skimming, but see that you loved it :) Yay!

KY Warrior Librarian said...

I loved/hated the book. Loved the writing, hated the totally dysfunctional relationship. I was fascinated and horrified at the same time (so obviously it is well written to be able to plumb those emotions simultaneously). From your description, I will see the film. Always love reading your reviews.