On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media–as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents–the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter–but is he really a killer?
As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?
Gone Girl is a novel that has captivated and amazed me; ever since reading this brilliant, masterful piece of literature for the first time five years ago, I have felt this way and still to this day I am madly in love with this book. This superb, shocking, gripping book is by far one of my two favorite reads and books of all time. Gone Girl and Jane Eyre remain reigning queens of my book library, and Gone Girl will stay at the top of my favorite reads list until the end of time! Gone Girl is quite simply marvelous, and no words of mine will be able to do it justice or explain just how taken I am with this enchanting novel… however I am going to try my best to express these thoughts in this review of mine!
Gone Girl is a masterful suspenseful thriller that can easily be compared to Alfred Hitchcock‘s terrifying work. I compare Gone Girl to Alfred Hitchcock because Hitchcock knows how to instill fear in his viewers and the author of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn has done just this for her readers. Gone Girl is a cleverly layered story with beautifully written words and enthralling characters that grab the reader from the first page. These two features combined make Gone Girl a compelling, compulsive read that is impossible to put down and that is a rarity these days; especially in the genre of psychological thrillers as too many of these books are sadly predictable!
Rarely do I read books that live up to the title of ‘this book was impossible to put down’ so the fact that Gone Girl has done this has made me a delighted woman. Gone Girl has made for one of the most memorable reading experiences of my life… you know the kind? The kind where it is 4 A.M., and you desperately need to sleep because you have to be up early, but yet you continue to read through the tiredness, you continue to wipe away those tears which stream your eyes when you are exhausted, and you continue to read even though you really shouldn’t. That, in my opinion, is a book which is unputdownable. Not a novel where you say to yourself “Oh this is good, but I need to sleep.” No, if a story is compelling then you will read that book all through the night, and that is what happened to me when I read this book the first…second…third…and fourth time!
You may now be thinking “Wait, you have read this novel four times?!” Yes book lovers, I have and it is because Gone Girl is absolutely incredible; the surprises and twists kept me enthralled and intrigued until the final page. Even when I read this book the second time and so on, I still felt that feeling of trepidation as I turned the page, which is incredible considering I already knew what was going to happen! I am sure the majority of you lovely book lovers know what this novel is about but in case you don’t then here is a brief synopsis of mine!
Gone Girl follows Nick and Amy Dunne; Nick and Amy have been married for five years, and although they appear to be your typical, happily married couple, they are not. Instead, their marriage is not as it seems and it has been strained for a long time. Nick and Amy used to be the dream couple people envied… they were rich and slightly famous, glamorous writers of New York City. However, life can be cruel and soon Nick lost his job and his mother has sadly received a terminally ill diagnosis; these two terrible events meant that Nick and Amy had to pack up and move back to Nick’s home state of Missouri.
Nick and Amy are trying to make the most of this transition, they are being productive and trying to generate a steady income. This income comes in the form of a bar Nick has bought with his twin sister Margo ‘Go,’ although Amy, Nicks wife is the one who bought it.
On the day of Nick and Amy’s fifth wedding anniversary, Amy vanishes without a trace while Nick is at work. Nick calls the police immediately when he discovers what happens but the police start to suspect Amy’s disappearance, and soon it is treated as suspicious, and whats worse is that Amy’s ‘ever doting’ husband is the prime suspect.
Gone Girl is a novel with a compelling, intriguing narrative as the narrative alternates after each chapter has concluded. The first narrative is through the eyes of Nick. Nick’s narrative focuses on the investigation into Amy’s disappearance; in his narrative, the reader witnesses Nick reminisce about his troubled history with Amy. As well as this the reader gets to witness a slow unraveling of Nicks dirty secrets and let me tell you book lovers; it makes for a juicy read!
The second narrative is told by Amy through her diary entries starting seven years before the events of her present-day disappearance. The reader gets an exclusive look into the life of Amy Dunne; when the reader first begins to read Amy’s diary entries, we learn how she is full of life and how she is madly in love with Nick. The reader witnesses how Nick charmed and wooed Amy and how he made her fall madly and passionately in love with him.
Amy then starts to write about the first years of her marriage to Nick, she describes the love, the adventure, the fun and silly side of her marriage but soon, cracks begin to appear in their marriage and Amy is brazen about this in her diary. She describes the problems that are happening, the secrets and so much more and soon, her diary entries take a dark and disturbing turn and the last entry, is a deadly twist that will make you question everything.
At this point in Amy’s narrative, the reader will be full of questions, questions such as: is Nick involved in Amy’s disappearance? Did he murder her and if so why? Was she kidnapped? What happened to Amy? … the questions are endless, and so they compel you to continue to race to the end of the book to have all your questions answered!
The dual perspective that features in this novel is wildly enjoyable, as well as refreshing and unique which made it, for me, an even more incredible story. I have a degree in Psychology, and so I love being in the mind of a person… what I love even more is being in the mind of a married couple! I enjoyed reading this dual narrative because I got to learn both sides of the story; the dual narrative made for an intense read because you do not know who is telling the truth at first, and so it compels you to reach the end to find out the truth!
The diary entries of Amy Dunne was marvelous, and if you readers know anything about me by now from my previous book reviews, you will know that I love novels that feature diary entries! They are compelling because they allow the reader to get to the nitty-gritty of the character. The narrative and Amy’s diary entries can only be described as a ticking time bomb; you know that everything is about to explode at one point, but you do not know when and that is the mastery of Gone Girl!
Gone Girl is an important piece of literature, and I could easily sit here and write paragraphs upon paragraphs about just how important this novel is. Gone Girl is poignant as it brings the reader’s attention to the crucial line between privacy and invasion; but also the importance of not succumbing to the trickery nature of the devious media and their representation of their ‘victims’ (in this particular case Nick Dunne). All of these factors are very true, and I could sit here and write at length about these facts; however, this is not that kind of review. My review of Gone Girl is a review where I want to write about my admiration for Gone Girl freely and to proclaim to you lovely readers that it is a masterful novel that every book lover should have the pleasure of reading!
Before I read a book, I always love to investigate the author and their inspiration for their book, be it a piece of fiction, or non-fiction. I love to do this so that I can delve into their psyche and gain a better understanding of their work. Steig Larsson‘s inspiration for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is one of the most shocking and heart-breaking inspirations I have ever heard of so if you do not know his inspiration, then please click on the words The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo to go to my review to read all about it.
Flynn too had a unique inspiration that fits perfectly with her disturbing and original novel. Flynn was interested and intrigued by the psychology and dynamics of a long-term relationship; when I read an article on this I was immediately enthralled and ecstatic with glee as Psychology is a huge passion of mine. It made me love the novel before I even started reading it! I felt this way because I already knew from Flynn’s inspiration that Gone Girl would be so much more than your regular mystery-crime novel but rather an in-depth, troubling look into the Psychology of a marriage and how a breakdown of a marriage can end in disastrous consequences.
As a reader, I want to know about the characters psyche and their thought processes; whenever I do read this in a novel I immediately am hooked, and Flynn for sure has created an enigmatic set of characters within her story and divulged in their psyche to epic proportions. Flynn’s ability to write smart, devious characters is remarkable and grips you as a reader very early on.
Nick Dunne was a hugely lovable character in my opinion; he is lovable because he is clueless with an air of naivety about him. When he first discovers Amy is missing he is completely lost and confused, Nick has no idea on what he should be doing, no idea about what has happened to his wife and he certainly does not know how to act around the media who are frenzied in their reports. At this point in the novel I had already fallen madly in love with Nick because if you were in his situation, walking in his shoes, you would most likely be feeling the same way… I know I would be! What would you do if the whole of the world’s media’s glare was placed on you and every move you took, every facial expression you expressed was up for debate? Think about it, what would you do? I would find it hell on earth, and so I pray that never happens to me!
Nick was lovable to me because he is a regular, and ordinary human being who is in a tricky and unsettling predicament. Does he have media training like these politicians you see on the TV? Hell no! He, unlike politicians and even celebrities, has not been trained on what to say, how to move, how to look, nothing. So poor old Nick became loved by me as he is a very relatable, naive character. However! He was not always on my good books as I had a minor love-hate relationship with him. These next two chapters will contain a slight spoiler, so you have been warned!
SPOILER – Nick is a cheater and when I found out that Nick had been unfaithful to beautiful Amy with a twenty-something-year-old student of his I wanted to unleash HELL upon him! How dare he do this to his loving wife, how dare he break the sanctity of marriage and poison it. Cheating, in my opinion, is the worst thing you could ever do as a human being (besides murder and obvious crimes of course) so I was raging at this point. Amy is a beautiful, intelligent girl and he decided to risk his marriage to a perfect loving wife for a quick thrill to cure his mid-life crisis. No, no way is this justifiable so Nick I hate you so much for this but at the same time I can’t help but still love you because you are a fool.
SPOILER – When I read that Nick was a cheater, it made me think about the attraction between an older, mature man and a younger woman. I won’t bore you lovely readers with the details of my marriage, but I am in my mid-twenties whereas my husband is older and I love this! Growing up I was always intrigued by older people because I felt like a thirty-year-old when I was fifteen! I looked as if I was in my mid-twenties also and love to define myself as an old soul.
The woman in this novel who has an affair with Nick, I believe, was attracted to the maturity of an older man and I can’t blame her for this. Some younger woman (and this is the definition of me) want the same things a typical thirty-year-old man want. For instance, most men over thirty traditionally wish to settle down, they have had their fun, their young adventures with their friends and partied and got it all out of their system. Now they mostly want to find a sweet woman, marry them, have children and make a home. Personally, I have always wanted these things and wanted a family young, be married young and have a home young and I believe that is why the mistress (I hate that word!) in this novel was so infatuated with Nick. I may have droned on a bit just know, but I hope you see my point book lovers!
Now it is time to write about my favorite character of all, Amy Dunne; this beautiful, incredible, talented woman who I may add is also a crazy, psychotic messed up b**ch (excuse my French!). She may be mad, but I cannot help but fall madly in love with her madness and the method to her madness. Amy is one hell of a dedicated woman, and if you have seen the movie or read the novel then you will know exactly what I mean! She is dedicated and determined and for that pat yourself on the back Amy. I feel like I need to discuss the big spoiler that resolves around Amy in this novel so again, if you do not know this spoiler and do not want to be spoiled then skip this next chapter!
SPOILER – Amy was faking her disappearance all along. She conjured up a plan, faked her disappearance, faked the diary, and faked the evidence all to get revenge on her cheating, foolish husband, Nick Dunne. Oh wow, Amy, I love you, you pulled off a masterful and devious plan that takes the skill and intellect of someone as intelligent as Einstein! How you even conjured it up, I do not know, but what I do know is that I love you for it and admire your dedication. I never have, in all of my life heard or read of someone so determined to fake their disappearance and murder that you plan on killing yourself to make your husbands live a living hell and to send him “Up the river.”
My thoughts on Nick and Amy Dunne’s narratives are that their narrative is one of the best, most thought-provoking narratives I have ever read; their narration is a wonderful inside look into two complicated and unreliable personalities. The narration of Nick and Amy can only be described as twisted, devious but also explosively enjoyable and let’s not forget unreliable!
SPOILER – The unreliability of their narrative is apparent when we discover Nick and his affair; he was not the ever-doting, faithful husband we first believed but rather a cheating liar. Amy was not reliable narrative because she was not the lovely, sweet and innocent victim but a masterful, devious, psychotic woman who had planner her disappearance all along.
Another character that features heavily in this novel and is also a favorite of mine is Nick’s twin sister, Margo (also known as, Go). I found Margo to be fabulous! Margo is a hilarious, witty character who injected some much-needed humor into the novel which was welcome from the dark nature and air of disturbance that surrounds this book. Her relationship with her brother Nick was incredible and the humor they both shared was fantastic, and it was evident to me that their twin bond is strong! I have twin boys, so I hope that one day my children will have a bond like theirs!
Besides my love of Margo’s humor, I also adored her sisterly love for Nick. She stuck by Nick through the media frenzy and ridicule of her brother, even when she learned of his dirty secrets; this is true sibling love, and I admire her for this!
My review for Gone Girl is already epically long (I am sure you can tell just how much I love this novel!) but please do stay with me a little longer while I quickly write about my love of Flynn’s writing. I will start these next few chapters with one of my favorite quotes of Gone Girl!
“When I think of my wife, I always think of her head”. “And what’s inside it. I think of that, too: Her brain, all those coils, and her thoughts shuttling through those coils like fast, frantic centipedes. Like a child, I picture opening her skull, unspooling her brain and sifting through it, trying to catch and pin down her thoughts. What are you thinking, Amy?”
Reading this quote still has the ability to send chills through my body! I find that even as I am typing now, my mind is working overtime to analyze and decode what Nick Dunne just said. The psychology behind this is immense and this combined with Flynn’s brilliant literature makes this a spine-tingling sentence, and if this doesn’t convince you to read Gone Girl then I don’t know what will!
Flynn’s writing is effortless and enchanting; this quote is my favorite because of the profound, dark nature of it. I think we have all thought what Nick is thinking at a point in our life right? When I first met my husband I so desperately wanted to know what he thought about me, I wanted to be inside of his brain (which sounds incredibly weird I know!) and know all of his thoughts, and I think this quote, in general, symbolizes marriage perfectly.
Now we have finally come to the end of my review for the magnificent Gone Girl! Thank you so much for reading my very long review, I appreciate it so much! To summarise my thoughts, I would say that Gone Girl is a deliciously, devious, ingenious and astounding thriller that demands to be read! Of course, this novel gets Five Stars from me! It would be a crime for me not to.
Thank you so much for reading book lovers! I greatly appreciate you taking the time to read my (very long!) review of Gone Girl. Please do comment below because that is my favorite part of writing; getting to interact with all of you wonderful readers! Let me know whether you have read this novel, what you thought of it if you have and also let me know if you haven’t whether you would consider reading it! If you have not read the novel but seen the movie, then let me know all of those brilliant thoughts of yours! Thank you so much for reading!
P.S. Click the link below to read a preview! If you like what you have read then click buy and it will take you to Amazon U.K.! Below this preview also is a link for Book Depository if you live in a country other than America!
Gone Girl is one of the many movies that has been adapted into a film, and so I feel compelled to write a little bit about the movie adaptation of Gone Girl!
I am in no way a movie reviewer but what I am is a movie lover. My husband and I go minimum twice a week to the cinemas and growing up every Saturday my family, and I would go, so I love movies! To say Gone Girl is a perfect adaptation is an understatement… it is THE adaptation. The fact that Gone Girl is the perfect adaptation may be down to the fact that Flynn screen wrote the movie, but I think it would have been perfect anyway! Everything from the novel I wanted included was included, and I think the casting of Ben Affleck (who I adore!) for Nick Dunne and Rosamund Pike (who I also adore!) for Amy Dunne were perfect and they captured the characters of Nick and Amy perfectly.