Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Crown, 2012
Source: library

SPOILER WARNING.  It feels slightly ridiculous to begin this review with a spoiler warning since this book came out almost a year ago, but this post will touch on parts of the plot and some details about the characters that will ruin the story for readers who somehow haven’t heard details about this book.

Gone Girl is the story of the disappearance of Amy Dunne on the morning of her fifth wedding anniversary as told by Amy and her husband Nick. They are transplanted New Yorkers who moved to Missouri after losing their jobs as journalists and after Nick’s mother became ill. Nick is suspected of murdering his wife, and the stories converge on the day of Amy’s disappearance. All I knew about the book going in was to expect a big twist (and I pretty much predicted it).

I realized pretty quickly that this book is not the usual crime novel, and I think I would describe it more accurately as a true crime novel. There are a lot of references to the coverage on the Internet, 24-hour cable news channels, and other media as Nick is under scrutiny by the police for the murder of his wife. I’d much rather have a story mediated by the perspective of a private investigator or police officer trying to unravel a crime than have the story told by the accused or by the media. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been sucked into some sensationalized trials or TV shows featuring a murderous spouse, but those stories are not as interesting to me as looking at the process of solving a crime.

I’ve also realized that I am just not a fan of books or sections of books that get into the minds of the killer or criminal. I don’t care for serial killer books though I do read them (it’s hard to avoid them), and I’m really turned off by gruesome italicized sections–especially prologues–in the murderer’s heads. I guess I’m not that fascinated by criminal psychology. Maybe, in the case of Gone Girl, I’m not interested in the criminal characters because they are such sociopaths/ borderline personalities/ etc. who don’t care about the people around them. They can’t. It’s all surface. I felt like I was watching a spectacle as I read.

So why did I finish this book? I wanted to find out how Amy committed her crimes, I wanted to see how Nick felt at the end, but, frankly, I wasn’t that interested in why because they are pretty awful characters as people.

On a positive note, The Cool Girl rant in the book is very good.

Now on to the next book!


4 thoughts on “Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

  1. Well, I haven’t read the book so I did skip most of the review. Who knows, I may read it someday. But it appears you did not like it especially, which is what I was interested in knowing. I haven’t seen anything yet that makes me want to read it.

  2. It always reassures me a little bit to hear that other people didn’t like this book, because most of the attention has been overwhelmingly positive. For me, the single biggest problem with the book was that it was completely predictable, which meant the book relied on characterization, and when each is just as bad as the others, there’s not a whole lot for me as a reader to care about any of them.

    • I like finding other people who don’t love a book that so many people seemed to love too, Stacia. After the first big twist, I predicted one of two endings, and as I kept on reading, it became clearer to me which ending it would be. I kept on reading because I wanted to see what the fuss was about, I suppose.

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