Title: Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
Publisher: Crown (2012)
Rating: 5 stars
Gone Girl is one of the most fascinating portraits of a psychopath that I have ever read. Amy Dunne discovers that her husband Nick Dunne is cheating and instead of divorcing him or having it out with him about the affair, she stages her own death so that Nick looks like the guilty party (but you don’t know that until like half-way through the book). This is not her first rodeo either. Though she has never committed a crime to this scale before, she has a history of accusing people of rape/stalking when they piss her off.
The story alternates between Nick’s POV in the present and Amy’s POV from her diary for the first part of the book. In the beginning, you love Amy. She’s the victim. Nick has been emotionally distant and physically abusive. Plus, she seems naive and I can’t help but feel sorry for her. Plus, Nick is a total dick in his chapters. He’s too stoic and unlikeable, but he’s also insecure (because of the emotional abuse he suffered as a child) and has bursts of love for his wife, so you kind of feel bad for him too.
Even after I knew beyond all doubt that Amy staged the whole thing and fabricated the Amy from the first part of the book, I still wanted her to live happily ever after and for Nick to go to jail. She manipulated ME so much in the first part of the book that even in the last bit, I was still rooting for her. That’s insane. High-five Gillian Flynn. You’re the man (I mean that in as non-sexist a way as possible)!
This book was not only compelling plot-wise, but made some astute observations about married life and how two people can truly be in a addicted to each other in a toxic relationship. Also about women in society in general: how they often assume a personality only to attract men re: The Cool Girl. Gone Girl (at least from Amy’s perspective) seems to suggest that the only way to be subversive as a woman in this world is through going after what you want, even if it means manipulating people, committing felonies, and ruining reputations.
This book is technically a mystery/thriller and I don’t usually read those kinds of novels. However, this book is about so much more. There isn’t a ton of crappy police drama (I got Law and Order for that), which was nice. There was a lot of publicity/journalism stuff that I was like, ok, this is a little over the top. But all in all it was freaking amazing! Flynn is an incredible writer and deep, calculated thinker. If you want a book that will seriously mess with your head, this is it. Happy summer reading!
Full disclosure: I got a copy from a friend at BEA who works for a literary agency that is connected with this book.