Hello, people of the internet!
So, here is a little backstory to this review. I bought Gone Girl when the film was released in the UK. I had planned to see it and/or read the book at some point until…no, I didn’t just leave it or get distracted like I did with The Girl on the Train and such…but someone unknowingly told me the spoiler. This is why I am careful with spoilers; I know what spoilers can do to some readers. Because I already knew the shocking spoiler of Gone Girl, I saw no reason to read it in a hurry. I haven’t even seen the film, basically for the same reason.
Cut to a few years later, when I was deciding which books I was going to read during the month of April, I decided it was time to read Gone Girl to see if it was still worth reading, even if I already knew the spoiler.
Title: Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
Publication date: 3st January 2013
Publisher: Phoenix, imprint of Orion Books
There are two sides to every story…
Who are you? What have we done to each other?
These are the questions Nick Dunne finds himself asking on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, when his wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police suspect Nick. Amy’s friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn’t true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they weren’t made by him. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone.
So what did happen to Nick’s beautiful wife?
I can safely say, as a creative writer, it was interesting to read both Nick and Amy’s narratives, knowing which are reliable and unreliable. I found clues, some pointing to the truth, some leading the reader to a different conclusion and so on, throughout both narratives, which I appreciate in books. I cannot tell you how annoyed I get with twists when there are no clues whatsoever and the twist appears regardless. It’s just lazy writing and I simply despise it! Luckily, with Gone Girl, there are clues and little nods to the truth. How Gillian Flynn presented the truth was not only clever, but very well timed. Personally, I spent the majority of the first part a little frustrated since I already knew the truth. Of course, I will mention that this wasn’t a fault of the book’s or Gillian Flynn’s; I had it spoiled for me, so this was only my doing, not the book’s. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is how the twist was dealt with and delivered was perfect for the narrative.
As for the plot, I was surprised that it was unlike anything I had read before (and this is coming from someone who has read a lot of crime thrillers with unreliable narrators). Despite knowing the main twist before reading, there are still twists that kept me interested and characters I connected with or found so incredibly evil I had to read more! They are well developed and have their distinct personalities. Not once did I think, “Oh who is this again? They did appear before, but I can’t remember what they did for the life of me.” That is important in a thriller like this: if a reader is too confused that they don’t even remember characters, then there’s a problem. Once again, this isn’t a problem for Gone Girl.
Speaking of characters, I can say that there were some I liked (I have to say Go, Nick’s twin sister, is my favourite – I haven’t met a character like her in any book I’ve ever read!), some I found uneasy and there is one who is so cunning and evil, I wouldn’t want to meet in reality! No doubt in my mind: one of my favourite literary villains of all time! A person who makes a book incredibly hard to put down, but someone who would make reality living hell.
Honestly, I would have enjoyed Gone Girl more if the major twist wasn’t spoilt for me. Despite the first part feeling a little slow, as it focuses on building character, backstory, setting and plot, it does speed up eventually. I did enjoy it more once the twist was revealed and I could read on to discover how it all ends.
Before I end this review, I want to quickly discuss the character development of Nick and Amy. Their development is so complex and deep, I may not necessarily like them, but I wasn’t bored with them at all. They had characteristics that could be admired (even if they were taken to a certain extreme) and they had flawed characteristics that made them realistic as well as human. One of the best character developments I’ve seen in books.
I’ll give this 4 stars out of 5. A dark thriller to say the least, but more importantly, one I’m sure anyone can read even if they already know the twist.
Thank you for reading!