Book Review: Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn

March 15, 2020

"Marriage can be a real killer.

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. 

Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?"

This is actually the second time I've read Gone Girl, but the first time was so many years ago that I thought I would give it another go. Luckily, despite knowing the main plot twist in the middle of the book as well as how everything ties up at the end, I still really enjoyed it second time around! 

I'm a huge fan of thrillers in general, and I personally think that the best ones are those which take the form of a really intense character study - and Gillian Flynn does this so well. Throughout this book, you bounce from empathising with Nick to hating him - and it's exactly the same with Amy. You're never quite sure who is the more unreliable narrator, and I think the dual perspective really helps to propel the story along and keep you hooked. 

There are so many twists in this book, but I honestly think the major one somewhere in the middle is one of the best I've ever read. I remember being blindsided by it when I read this for the first time, and it was still thrilling to read even when I knew it was coming. There is also a twist at the end (which I'd forgotten the details of) which links so well to groundwork laid very innocently earlier in the story - that takes a lot of skill to do, so I rated that very highly. 

Another thing I realised upon this reread is how good the film adaptation of this book really is. It sticks to Gillian Flynn's storyline like glue, and really captures the essence of Nick and Amy's toxic relationship which can be hard to do on screen. If you haven't seen it, definitely add it to your list. 

I ended up giving this book four stars - why exactly it wasn't a five, given that I enjoyed it so much, I can't say for sure. I feel that maybe the book is a little too dragged out to the point that it loses its gripping factor at times throughout, and so by the end it feels a little anticlimactic. That is a very singular criticism, though - I still think it's one of the best thrillers ever written, so I thoroughly recommend if you've been living under a rock and have never picked it up!

Have you read Gone Girl? Will you be adding it to your TBR list? Let me know!

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