Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is a novel I never would have picked up had it not been given to me as a gift by my mother who highly recommended it to me.  Like Molly Ringwald’s When It Happens to You the story is about a marriage that is falling apart.  The narrative alternates between Nick Dunne’s, the husband oblivious to what is really happening around him, and his wife’s, Amy Elliot Dunne.  When, on their fifth wedding anniversary, Amy disappears, Nick’s response, his disaffected attitude leave the reader and his community suspicious.  Through Amy’s journal, we learn her side of the story—how the two of them met, fell in love, all building up to the final entry.

The reader’s sympathies shift from Nick to Amy and, just when you think you know who to like, what is happening, things shift yet again.  As more details emerge, the reader is pulled along, inexorably.  I’d heard that this novel is hard to put down and at first I remained unconvinced.  Then the momentum of the story took me over and I resented every time I had to put the book down for any reason. 

This novel is a mind-bending roller-coaster ride.  I can see why it is getting so much buzz and how it is a natural fit for a book clubs.  The characters have so many psychological layers that every plot twist is both surprising yet reasonable, something the reader could fully believe the characters capable of doing.  Nothing is predictable, even when it is expected.  Each turn of the page brings the reader closer to the next surprise, each coming closer together until the end, which is twisted as every turn of the story that has occurred throughout the novel. 

I may not go out of my way to read a thriller again anytime soon, let alone consider myself a fan of suspense novels.  But I can declare myself a fan of Flynn and would enjoy reading anything she’s written if they are all as intelligent as this novel proves itself to be.

But this novel is such a mind-bending roller coaster ride, I can see why it is getting so much buzz.  Not every detail is a surprise.  When you think you know something, a plot point that is too predictable, trust that the other will successfully somehow turn it around and leave you surprised.

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