Warning: I am going to try and keep this as spoiler-free as possible, but who knew that Gillan Flynn wrote books so BLOODY HARD TO EXPLAIN without going into the synopsis? She’s a mindfuck that woman.
I will admit I definitely ruined my reading experience for this book by making the (stupid) mistake of watching the movie first. I went to the cinema the day it was released with a few cousins and absolutely LOVED the film. It was intense and a complete and utter mindfuck and I immediately wished I’d decided to pick up the book before going into the movie. But in saying that, I would have ruined the movie for myself if I’d read the book? I can’t decide what’s worse. But because of doing this, I think I was ultimately let down by the book. I was expecting it to be a LOT better than what it was, and I was slightly disappointed that I didn’t think it lived up to all the hype.
The story begins on Amy and Nick’s five year anniversary. Their marriage has been strained for a while; they used to be a rich and glamorous couple in New York City and now they live in Nick’s hometown in Missouri having lost both their jobs and most of their money. On their anniversary, Amy mysteriously disappears without a trace and, as the investigation progresses, Nick becomes the prime suspect in the supposed murder of his wife.
Plot-wise, I don’t want to say more. Spoilers are nearly impossible to avoid when trying to explain this novel and I definitely feel it’s better to discover everything out on your own.
I have read all of Gillian Flynn’s other books and like I said, surprisingly, Gone Girl was my least favourite of her works. I won’t deny that her writing is absolutely delicious. Flynn definitely knows how to write a killer psychological thriller, however unlike her other two novels which I flew through in only a few sittings, I found Gone Girl almost impossible to get into, and then to finish. It took me upwards of 3 tries to finally get past the 50-page mark, and then on top of that I spent almost a week trying to push through the remainder of the novel. This does not mean I didn’t enjoy it. I definitely did. I absolutely adored Amy’s character. She was psychotic and an absolute wreck of a person and I devoured every single chapter when she was the protagonist. But personally, I found the first half of the story to fall extremely flat, mainly because I hated Nick Dune’s character. I could not stand reading about him. Write a book about Amy Dune and her chaotic mind and I will happily read upwards of 600-pages, but if I have to read about Nick and his selfishness and dickhead personality for one more second I might just hurt someone. I really could not stand him.
I really did enjoy Gone Girl. I don’t think it’s possible to say that generally Gillian Flynn doesn’t know how to write an incredible story. She does. I just think it’s virtually impossible to go into this book without high expectations. It was the book of the moment a few years ago and it remains one of the most recommended books I’ve seen to this day. Everyone (in the book community or not) seems to suggest this to at least someone, and I think ultimately that’s why I was disappointed. The characters are all generally unlikeable (apart from my twisted mind loving Amy – same name maybe?) and so many things seemed completely farfetched and completely impossible.
If you haven’t read a Gillian Flynn book before, I do definitely suggest you pick this up. Follow it up with some of her other works (Sharp Objects, Dark Places) and I think you will understand what I’m trying to say.