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Book review: <i>Gone Girl</i> by Gillian Flynn

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the cover of the book

This is a story which, having been turned into a blockbuster starring Ben Affleck, has taken the world by storm. So I had a little read to see what all the fuss was about.

The story

On the morning of his fifth anniversary being married to the woman of his dreams, Nick Dunne eats his specially prepared breakfast and goes to work. His marriage has been going through a bit of a rough patch, and he's half dreading half hopeful for the celebration he's expecting to have put on by his gorgeous wife, Amy.

Right in the middle of his working day, he gets a phone call from the busy body across the road. His front door is open, his cat is in the street. His cat, Amy's cat, is strictly an inside kind of cat. Nick heads home, not really worried. Until he steps inside the house.

Amy is gone. There are signs of a struggle; the lounge room is all turned over and the front door is open, and Amy, his beautiful, spirited wife, is gone.

Where could she be? The more we learn about Nick, the more curious we become about whether or not he had anything to do with Amy's disappearance. But the truth is stranger than anything we could imagine...

The style

Gillian Flynn has certainly got the knack for roping the reader in. I originally decided to give Gone Girl a go because Brad tweeted me about it after a posted a review a couple of weeks ago.

and so I thought, yes. I could do with a guilty three day treat.

And he was right, Brad. Very, very right. I woke up half an hour early every morning just so that I could get in extra reading. I read right up until the train doors were about to close at my station. I narrowly avoided walking while reading, which I used to do as a child, but have stopped now. I was utterly, utterly compelled. Finished that sucker in a working week, too and from the city on the train and in stolen half hours. The writing is COMPELLING. It's SO EASY TO READ. And the plot line just keeps you suckered in. It is an ACTUAL MUST READ once you start.

The narrative alternates between Nick and Amy, both of whom have very different points of view about how their marriage has gone up to the time of Amy's disappearance. The narratives both reveal different things about the story at different times, essentially cunningly comparative to the way one might start a relationship. It all starts off seeing the person in a particular way, but the more you get to know them the more convoluted and odd the person becomes. Scratch the surface and nothing is perfect, every relationship is odd. Amy and Nick gradually convey themselves as pretty three dimensional, characters who lie to the reader and each other and gradually reveal themselves.

I understand why this narrative might be interpreted in a manner that one might find problematic, particularly from a feminist perspective. Some of the writing could be read to imply that women and men are predetermined in their behaviours and women tend towards duplicity and cruelty in a way men don't. However, I read the story initially as a comment about the self-destructive nature of certain relationships and the way people become embroiled in them, and also a comment about the tabloid media. Even if some of the themes make you uncomfortable (and I admit, I had the occasional twinge) the story is still worth a read, and open to interpretation while promoting discussion about men and women and relationships, which is always a good thing.

Who is this book for?

If you love suspense and a good mystery, look no further.

If you like this book, you would also like...

I hear Gillian Flynn has written other stuff. And now, because she's super famous, you can buy them all in a compendium on Amazon!

In short

Title: Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 0307588378
Year published: 2012
Pages: 434
Genre(s): Thriller, Fiction
Review Type: