Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Book Review: "Gone Girl"

"Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn
First published in 2012
My rating: 5 out of 5

Gillian Flynn's number-one New York Times bestselling novel is an essay on marriage gone horribly, darkly wrong. "Gone Girl" is masterfully written and superbly thought-out novel. It centers on married couple Nick and Amy, and Amy's suspicious disappearance on their five-year anniversary. The mystery -- and the truth -- is revealed in small doses, layers to be peeled back by eager/horrified readers.

After a storybook courtship and marriage, Nick and Amy have had a rough couple of years. They were both laid off from their jobs and moved from posh New York City to rural Missouri to care for Nick's ailing parents. Suddenly, they're having money troubles and personality clashes. The book opens on their fifth wedding anniversary, when Amy inexplicably vanishes. Though the evidence is to the contrary, Nick maintains that he had nothing to do with Amy's disappearance. But it turns out that everyone is hiding something and no one is quite who they've been pretending to be.

Flynn deftly switches between masculine and feminine, sweet and shocking, playful and vengeful, romantic and rageful. She kept me on my toes, never quite sure who to believe, and my alliance shifted accordingly between the characters throughout. After suffering through so many novels with rushed or amateurish or bogged down, heavy writing, Flynn's novel was a soothing balm. It was perfect.

And while the plot may sound vaguely ordinary, this novel is anything but. It's one of those rare books that I'll remember reading forever; there's something so unique, so haunting about this story. Though I knew I wouldn't like what I found, I kept plowing through the pages to discover the next stunningly horrific development. It's because, as dark as the book is at times, there's also something so stark and honest and true about it, about the relationship between men and women, about marriage, and about our own behavior.

Happy reading!

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