Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn has been quite popular over the past year. I finally got my hands on it last weekend, and read it as fast as I could. Partly because I was eager to turn the pages, and partly because I wanted to see what explanation the author had for the characters’ behavior.
This book has over 11,000 reviews on Amazon, which is no mean feat. It is a suspense thriller or a psychological thriller, and could also be termed a ‘dark’ novel. Nick and Amy are leading a happy life in New York City until they face a reversal of fortune. They have to relocate to a small mid-western town in Missouri which is Nick’s birthplace. Nick manages to open a bar with his twin thanks to his wife’s trust fund. They are eagerly looking forward to their fifth anniversary when things fall apart.
The book is partly in Nick’s voice and partly in Amy’s as part of a diary kept by her until her disappearance. Nick’s story is mostly in the present and tells us about the investigation itself. Amy’s diary starts several years ago. At times, I felt that Amy’s diary kept me from moving ahead with the story. I admit I skimmed through it some because I was more eager to read about the investigation.
You will have to read Gone Girl yourself to find out whether Amy is alive and if she will ever be reunited with her husband. I love mysteries, but I always have a hard time reading books that have imperfect characters as protagonists. I did not expect the book to end the way it did, and I certainly did not like it (the end, i.e). The parentheses are another aspect of the book that can get irritating at times. And what is it with the grammar lessons? Will a reader really learn the correct usage of ‘me’ versus ‘I’ based on the author’s notes, if they have managed to not ‘get’ it until now?
Many critical reviews have praised the style in which the book is written. I do not understand much about the theory behind certain text, but I will tell you something I could have done without. And that is the constant barrage against Midwestern women or women living in small town America. Some might think that this is a fearless portrayal of the psyche of a New Yorker who is forced to live in the woods. But having lived in both places, I can tell you that neither generalization is true.
Like it or hate it, Gone Girl is the book to read this summer.