Gone Girl: A Review

Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl is about a married couple. When the wife, Amy, goes missing on their fifth anniversary, suspicion falls on her husband, Nick, who insists that he had nothing to do with his wife’s disappearance. Because this novel has so many twists and turns, I won’t be able to go into a very detailed review, as I don’t want to ruin any of the fun of this reading experience. And it is a really, really fun reading experience.

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In the beginning, we assume that Nick has had nothing to do with his wife’s disappearance, but as time goes on, we begin to question his presumed innocence, then to doubt it. It’s a clever way to make the story unfold — did he or didn’t he? He is often suspicious (or acts suspicious) of others, making movements toward action, but he is also vague about the day of Amy’s disappearance, except to make note when he lies to someone (though he doesn’t mention what the truth is), and he is hyper-aware of others’ suspicion of him, and hyper-aware of whether he is coming off as guilty. We know when Nick is withholding information, but we don’t know what or why. Is this because he knows the husband is always a suspect, or because he is guilty? Readers are left to guess.

Nick’s narrative is interspersed with entries from his disappeared wife’s diary. Amy’s diary entries of their early love make the disappointment in the end of their marriage all the more intense. Even her early good memories are suffused with the bitterness that Nick has expressed about those same memories in the chapters before. Amy’s entries tell a very different story from the one that Nick tells us, though as time goes on, her narrative becomes just as suspect as Nick’s. Who do we believe? This is the fun of reading.

Much of our suspense comes from our assumption, as readers, that our narrator is telling us the truth. But as Nick and Amy’s stories diverge further and further apart, we start to wonder who is lying and who, if anyone, is telling the truth. Who are these people? Do we like either of them? How much?

I’m not going to talk about Gone Girl too much more. It’s a fun read with complex characters who I simultaneously love, loathe, and fear. Is Amy the victim of a cruel husband? An avenging heroine? Is Nick a dummy who married out of his league? A bum who leaches off of his wife? A pawn in his brilliant wife’s game? Do the two of them deserve each other? I won’t say anything more. This book is exactly why I need to hang around more bookish people. I really wish I had someone to talk about the whole novel with, but I will not spoil it for you, dear reader.

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