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 astounded me; Ever since reading this brilliant, masterful piece of literature for the first time five years ago upon its release I have felt this way and still to this day I am madly in love with this book. This brilliant, 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 this book will stay at the top of that 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.
Gone Girl is a masterful suspenseful thriller that can easily be compared to Alfred Hitchcock’s brilliant, terrifying work. I compare Gone Girl to Alfred Hitchcock already because Hitchcock knows how to instill fear in his viewers and the author of Gone Girl Gillian Flynn has done this for her readers too. This novel is brilliantly layered with beautifully written words and enthralling characters that grab you from the first page. These two things 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 them are sadly predictable. I rarely read books that live up to the title of ‘impossible to put down’ so the fact that Gone Girl has done this has made me a truly happy woman and has made for one of the most memorable reading experiences of my life. You know the kind? The kind where it is 4 in the morning 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 tired and you continue to read even though you really shouldn’t. That, in my opinion, is a book which is un-put-down-able. Not a novel where you say to yourself “Oh this is good but I need to sleep”. No, if a novel is compelling then you will read that novel 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 it is absolutely incredible; The surprises and twists themselves kept me enthralled and intrigued until the final page and even when I read this the second time and so on I still felt that feeling of trepidation as I turned the page – even though I had read it many times before and knew what was going to happen. Flynn is such a wonderful writer and the fact that she has managed to do all of this and more blows my mind, so thank you, Gillian Flynn, for being such an incredible, intelligent, crazy, masterful writer! 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.
Nick and Amy Dunne have been married for five years but their marriage is not all as it
seems and it has been strained for a long time. They used to be the rich, glamorous writer couple of New York City but unfortunately, they had to move back to Nick’s home state of Missouri after having both lost their jobs and most of their money. Nick is trying to be productive and create a steady income so he now runs a bar he brought (with Amy’s money) with his twin sister Margo ‘Go’ whilst Amy is left at home. Then one day, on their fifth wedding anniversary Amy vanishes without a trace and her disappearance is soon treated as ‘suspicious’ and soon her ‘ever doting’ husband is the prime suspect.
Gone Girl is a novel with a thrilling narrative as the narrative alternates after each chapter has concluded. The first narrative is told through the eyes of Nick and it focuses on the investigation into Amy’s disappearance and the slow unraveling of Nicks dirty secrets – which makes for a juicy read- and Nick reminiscing about his troubled history with Amy and they’re not so perfect marriage.
The second narrative is told by Amy through her diary entries starting seven years prior to the events of the present day. Amy first writes about her meeting with Nick, how he wooed and charmed her and how ultimately, she fell madly in love with him. She then talks about their first years of marriage, the adventure, the fun but then she starts to talk about the problems, the secrets, as well as so much more and finally, her diary entries end on a dark note, with a deadly twist that will leave the reader shocked and full of questions. Questions which race through your mind whilst reading this novel are: Is Nick involved in Amy’s disappearance? Did he murder her and if so why? Was she kidnapped? What happened to Amy? The questions do not stop and that is one of the many brilliant aspects of this novel. However, one question is known early on and that is the question whether Amy and Nick have a perfect marriage and it is apparent to the reader early on that their marriage was not as perfect as everybody thought…
The dual perspective that is featured in this novel is wildly enjoyable and for me, it made the novel all that much more incredible. I adored being in the mind of a married couple and hearing both of their sides of the story, it made for an intense read as I felt compelled to keep reading to find out who in fact was telling the truth. Amy’s diary entries too were marvelous and if you know anything about me by now from my other book reviews then you know that novels with diary entries are huge favorites of mine and I am a sucker for them every time! The only way I can describe this novel is that it was like a ticking time bomb and you know that everything was about to explode at one point but you do not know when and that is the mastery of Gone Girl.
This novel is an important novel and I could easily sit here and write paragraphs upon paragraphs about just how important this novel is as it brings the reader’s attention to the important 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 things are very true and I could sit here and talk at length about these facts however this is not that kind of review; This a review where I want to freely write about my admiration and amazement for Gone Girl and to proclaim in this wonderful book community that it is such a masterful novel that every book lover should have the pleasure of reading.
Before I read a novel I always love to investigate the author and their inspiration for their novel 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 his inspiration. Flynn had a unique inspiration that fits perfectly with her disturbing and original novels. Flynn was interested and intrigued by the psychology and dynamics of a long-term relationship; When I read an article based on this I was immediately enthralled and happy with glee as Psychology is a huge passion of mine. It made me love the novel before I even started reading it because I knew from her words that this would be so much more than your regular mystery-crime read but rather a deep 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 see this in a novel I immediately am hooked and Flynn for certain has created wonderful characters within her novel and divulged in their psyche to epic proportions. Flynn’s ability to write smart, devious characters is incredible and grips you as a reader very early on. Let me now write about these wonderful characters I adore so much.
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, he 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 frenzy. At this point in the novel I have already fallen madly in love with him 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 glare was placed upon you and every move you took, every facial expression you expressed was up for debate? Think about it, what would you do? I personally would find it hell on earth and pray that never happens to me. Nick was lovable to me because he is a normal, regular, and an 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 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 relate-able. However! This is the point where I say that yes, I love him however I have a minor love-hate relationship with him. This next short chapter will contain a minor Spoiler so you have been warned!
When I found out that Nick had been unfaithful to beautiful Amy with a 20 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 the 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 I still love you because you are a fool.
Reading this part of the novel did make me think about the attraction between an older, mature man and a younger woman. I won’t bore you with the details of my marriage but I am in my early 20’s whereas my husband is much older than me (if you want to know our age gap then email me! I always love talking with fellow wives and people in general!) and I adore it. Growing up I was always intrigued by older people because I myself felt like a 30-year-old when I was 15! I looked practically 30 also, and by definition, I class myself as an old soul and I adore that! I think the woman in this novel who had an affair with Nick did so because she was attracted to the maturity and I can’t blame her for that, I can’t. Some younger woman and this is the definition of me – want the same things as a 30-year-old man. For instance, men over 30 traditionally want to settle down, they have had their fun, had their adventures with their friends, partied and got it all out of their system and now they want to settle down, find a nice girl and marry them and have children with them and make a life together. 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 then but I hope you got my point! Seriously though email me whenever you like book lovers I will always reply!
Spoiler Free – Now it is time to write about my favourite character of all, Amy Dunne; This beautiful, incredible, talented woman is also a crazy, psychotic messed up b**ch (excuse my French!) and I cannot help but fall madly in love with her madness and the method to her madness. She 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 give yourself a pat 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, 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 clever as Einstein! How you did it I do not know but what I do know is that I love you for it and admire your dedication. I have never, in all of my life heard or read of someone so determined to fake their own disappearance and murder that you actually plan on killing yourself to make your husbands live a living hell and to send him “Up the river“.
Spoiler Free – To summarise my thoughts and opinions on both Nick and Amy Dunne I would have to say that this is the best, most thought-provoking narrative I have ever read and such a wonderful look into two complex personalities. I have revealed in their narratives already and will when I read this novel again… even me writing this review is making me want to read it again! The narratives can only be described as twisted, devious fun but definitely explosively wonderful and let’s not forget to say unreliable. Spoiler – You see this unreliability when Nick has his affair; he was not the ever-doting, faithful husband but rather a cheating liar and with Amy, she was not the lovely, sweet, innocent victim but really the masterful, devious, psychotic woman who had planned her disappearance all along. Spoiler Free
Before I finish writing about our two main protagonists I have to write about Nick’s twin sister Margo (known as Go). I found her to be absolutely awesome! She was so hilarious and injected some very necessary humor into the novel which was very welcome from the dark nature that surrounds this book. Her relationship too with her brother Nick was wonderful to read, the banter they share was hilarious and you could tell they really have that twin bond and having twin boys myself I really hope that my boys have the same kind of relationship! I just really admired Margo for sticking by her brother through the media frenzy and ridicule of her brother; even when she learned his dirty secrets. That is true sibling love and I admire that.
This review is epically long already (I am sure you can tell just how much I love this novel!) but stay with me a little longer whilst I quickly talk about Flynn’s writing and I have to start this next part of my review with one of my favorite quotes from the novel.
“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 still has the ability to send chills through my body and 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 deep, 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. 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 really 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 blogging; 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 and seen the movie then let me know all of those brilliant thoughts of yours! Thank you so much for reading!
Goodbye for now book lovers,
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!
*Update* I feel compelled to talk a little bit about the movie adaptation of Gone Girl so that is exactly what I am going to do! I am in no way a movie reviewer but what I am is a movie lover. I and my husband go minimum twice a week and growing up every Saturday we would go so I love movies. To say Gone Girl is a perfect adaptation is an understatement… it is the adaptation. This 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!) were perfect and they captured the characters of Nick and Amy perfectly. Thank you so much for reading again and do not forget to comment below!