Author: Gillian Flynn
Publication Date: 6/5/12
[Goodreads | Amazon]
Blurb: What are you thinking, Amy? The question I've asked most often during our marriage, if not out loud, if not to the person who could answer. I suppose these questions stormcloud over every marriage: What are you thinking? How are you feeling? Who are you? What have we done to each other? What will we do?
Just how well can you ever know the person you love? This is the question that Nick Dunne must ask himself on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, when his wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police immediately 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 aren't his. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone. So what really did happen to Nick's beautiful wife? And what was in that half-wrapped box left so casually on their marital bed? In this novel, marriage truly is the art of war...
I am giving Gone Girl 3 stars, but only begrudgingly. In my mind, any book that takes me 3 months and 20 different tries to read is not worth 3 (i-liked-it on Goodreads) stars, especially a book written by an author I already respect. And I am not kidding, for me the first half of Gone Girl was a PURE TORTURE to read.
Amy Dunn disappears on the day of her 5th wedding anniversary. All gradually uncovered evidence suggests that her husband, Nick, is somehow involved. Did he kill her? Was she kidnapped? What happened to Amy? One thing is clear, Nick and Amy's marriage wasn't as perfect as everybody thought.
The first part of the novel is all about the investigation into Amy's disappearance, slow unraveling of Nick's dirty secrets, reminiscing about the troubled history of Nick and Amy's marriage as told in Amy's hidden diary. I strained and strained my brain trying to understand why this chunk of Gone Girl had no appeal to me whatsoever. The only answer I have is this: I am really not into reading about rich white people's problems. You want to whine to me about your dwindling trust fund? Losing your cushy New York job? Moving south and "only" renting a mansion there? Being unhappy because you have too much free time on your hands and you are used to only work as a hobby? You want to make fun of your lowly, un-posh neighbors and their casseroles? Well, I am not interested. I'd rather read about someone not necessarily likable, but at least worthy of my empathy, not waste my time on self-centered, spoiled, pathetic people who don't know what real problems are. Granted, characters in Flynn's previous novels (Sharp Objects and Dark Places) are pretty pathetic and and at times revolting too, but I always felt some strange empathy towards them, not annoyance and boredom, like I felt reading about Amy and Nick's marriage woes.
But then the second part, with its wicked twist, changed everything. The story became much more exciting, dangerous and deranged. The main characters revealed sides to them that were quite shocking and VERY entertaining. I thought the Gillian Flynn I knew before finally unleashed her talent for writing utterly unlikable and crafty women. THEN I got invested in the story, THEN I cared.
Was it too little too late though? I think it was. Something needed to be done to make Gone Girl a better read. Make it shorter? Cut out first part completely? I don't know. But because of my uneven experience with this novel I won't be able to recommend Gone Girl as readily as I did Flynn's earlier novels, even though I think this horror marriage story (it's not a true mystery, IMO) has some brilliantly written psycho goodness in it and an absolutely messed up ending that many loathed but I LOVED. I wish it didn't take so much time and patience to get to all of that...