My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“Gone Girl” is without a doubt the best, most original book I’ve read all year. Maybe in the past few years. It’s outstanding, and if you even remotely like crime novels or TV shows, you need to read this book.
I know, it’s super-hyped and sometimes you may not want to read a book because it can’t possibly be that good and books sometimes get popular because of some unquantifiable zeitgeist. Worry not: “Gone Girl” is just genuinely good and surprising.
It’s the kind of book that makes you say, “OMIGOD, you HAVE to read this book!” because you desperately want someone to talk to about it.
It’s a book that says, “Oh, you think you’ve seen this on “Law & Order” that one time? You think you know what’s coming? WHAM! YOU KNOW NOTHING!”
It’s the kind of book that made me wonder, initially, if my newly acquired husband could ever turn out to be a murderer. And then it made me wonder if maybe I had it in me to be a murderer.
“Gone Girl” really takes the crime novel standards and turns them on their ear. It’s revolutionary in a lot of ways. I mean, how often are you allowed to view the story from the perspective of suspect #1–and yet don’t know if he did it or not?
The set-up is that it is Nick and Amy’s fifth wedding anniversary, and their marriage has started to unravel. Nothing major, just bits here and there; it’s not what it was. And then Amy goes missing. As is so common in crime shows and books and in real life, suspicion automatically falls on Nick.
I won’t reveal more than that, because as much as I want to talk about this book, the surprises are worth keeping secret for other readers–they’ll hit you like a club to the head.
The story is incredible for the writing alone (excluding the truly brilliant plot for a moment). It’s told from both Nick’s perspective–he talks to you as if you’re perhaps his little mental Jiminy Cricket, or an audio diary–and from excerpts from Amy’s diary, which retells parts of their lives, leading up to the cataclysm, from their first meeting all the way up to the collapse of their marriage. The tone is spot-on: it sounds just like normal people. I’ve never seen real-life captured so thoroughly on the page, so intimately intertwining the reader and the author’s voice. Gillian Flynn is a helluva writer. Plus, I used to live in Missouri, where the book is set, and I am astounded by the little details only a Missourian would pick up on, little things like the blanket adoration for the Cardinals baseball team–things that make these people seem very much alive.
I guarantee, no matter how much a TruCrime connoisseur you think you are, you will be surprised, pleased, disturbed and amazed by this book. I absolutely cannot recommend it enough.
3 responses to “Review: Gone Girl”
Nice review! I loved Gone Girl, too. What struck me (besides the clever way the plot is presented), was how skilled Flynn is at creating character and setting with very clear and specific details. And not in a purple prose way. A viciously clever novel and the first one in years that kept me up to finish it until 2:30 am.
I know! She really got in my head and made even crazy things sound totally reasonable. It was incredible.
I’ve never heard of Gone Girl, but now I’ll be on the lookout. Nine times out of ten I’m disappointed when I pick up a crime novel – I’m starting to think the genre simply isn’t for me, barring the classics like Doyle, Christie and Keating – but I’m always ready to be proved wrong.