Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl”

Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl is both brilliant and shocking. Brilliant is the portrayal of the protagonists, Amy and Nick Dunne, their twisted, egotistical personalities. The plot is so gripping I couldn’t put the book down. I like the novel’s structure too—Amy’s narration alternating with that of Nick’s. Shocking is the ending. It truly is. But I won’t dwell on it, as much as I’d love to, since I wouldn’t want to ruin it for those who haven’t read this book yet.

The thriller starts when Amy and Nick are supposed to celebrate their five-year anniversary, but Amy disappears. And so the guessing begins. The police, the community, the media, and ultimately the entire nation (and, of course, the reader) are wondering? What happened to this gorgeous woman, this loving but unappreciated housewife? Where is this wonderful prototype of the bestseller series, Amazing Amy, written by her parents, when she was growing up?

As the story unravels, our perception of both Amy and Nick keeps changing—in a shocking way. It’s a “Whoa!” and “Wait a minute!” and “What???” reaction.

The novel, exploring the subtleties of human nature, makes us wonder if it’s possible to really know another person, even if that person is your spouse.

If you like thrillers, this book is for you.

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12 thoughts on “Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl”

  1. Sounds very interesting. I’ve heard the ending isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I’ll make up my mind once I read it.

    • Thank you, Vin. Yes, it’s certainly a very interesting book (a best-seller too!), and yes, the ending is not to everyone’s liking. Not mine, personally. Yet, I don’t regret reading a book. Flynn is a terrific writer. Brilliant, to be exact. Read the novel!

    • Galina, this thriller is so engaging, you won’t put it down until you finish- I promise! It has a lot of insight into different relationships between spouses, depending on what kind of a wife a woman is willing to be, or not to be, to her husband. It’s very thought-provoking.

  2. Even though I have just started this novel, the writing is brilliant- I went from borrowing the book from the library, but after reading the first few chapters, went and bought it. Here is just one example: “This was back when the Internet was still some exotic pet kept in the corner of the publishing world- throw some kibble at it, watch it dance on its little leash, oh quite cute, it definitely won’t kill us in the night.”

    The writer is so honest and intriguing – where I am now, it is clear there is trouble brewing in paradise, but he drops so many comments that show how enchanted he was, at least initially, with his wife.

    • Beth, thanks for getting into the discussion. Yes, the writing is brilliant. And the plotting is, too. At first glance, it seems simple enough–the chapters narrated alternatively by a wife and a husband–but when you realize that your attitude toward each of them shifts and changes, it stops being as such. I can’t wait to see what you’ll say when you reach the end of the novel. I was literally shocked by the author’s decision to end it this way.

  3. Yes, the writing and the plotting are both brilliant, and as you pointed out, it has many good insights into husband/wife relationships. I loved this line:” I’m not just pretty anymore, I am pretty for my age. It is the truth. My value has decreased. I can tell by the way Nick looks at me. But it’s not the look of a man who took a tumble on an honest bet. It’s the look of a man who feels swindled ” (204). When we read the love notes she leaves for her husband, we are pulled in completely, no less than her husband’s ego.

    • Yes, Beth, I love this line too. Any woman can relate to Amy. The first sentence is comforting, but then bumm! and her explanation of her “decreased value” makes you think twice about your own “prettiness.” G. Flynn is young, but she put such wisdom in her character’s mouth. It’s admirable.

  4. Read the ending- enthralled throughout the entire book, even with the various riveting pathologies of divers characters going on, so I didn’t want the book to end. Even if the ending hadn’t been half so convoluted and twisted, it would have been entirely engaging (several different endings would have still been as captivating and workable). Great book, and one I intend to read over and over again, once I’ve gotten it back from lending it to friends. Even when you hate certain characters, you are still completely enthralled by them.

    • Beth, so you liked the ending? interesting. I absolutely hated it! To me, it’s not only unfair to let the brutal murderer go free (at least in fiction, I’d like to see criminals caught and punished), but it’s highly unrealistic too, because Nick, a smart, educated man (a writer, not less!), will continue to be under his psychotic wife’s thumb. Because of the baby, he’s going to be controlled by a crazy psycho? He knows that he’ll be afraid to turn his back on her, while being in the kitchen, for instance. Won’t she smother him in his sleep? Or their baby? Would a man in his sound mind commit to a life with this woman? I don’t think so.
      I guess now it’s popular with some authors to come up with unrealistic (and dissatisfying!) endings, but…as much as I enjoyed reading Gone Girl (brilliant plot, nail-biting suspense, great prose), I was very disappointed with it at the end. And that’s my humble opinion.

  5. Yes, I agree with you about the ending. I do feel that writers get engaged in a one-upmanship battle as to who can get the more convoluted and thereby “original” ending, when they could have stopped while they were ahead- they aren’t going to lose their reader’s interest, even if the ending were more predictable. Her writing is so brilliant and you get such insight into the characters, but I didn’t like the ending either, would have preferred his biding his time to kill her, the psycho monster. But it also touched deeply on his previously stated desire to have a child and in a twisted way was hopeful?? that that can change people???.

    • Beth, yeah, there might be a tiniest chance that Amy, this psycho, would change for the better when the baby is born, although I personally don’t believe in it–at all! A child CAN change someone who messed up his/her life, for whatever reason, but a psycho is inherently bad–devoid of empathy, love, compassion. This woman actually PLANS the brutal murder of that man (forget his name); she seduces him and during sex she slits his neck in cold blood and watches him die in agony–brrrr… so absolutely horrible. Can a baby change this monster? Nah. I’m looking forward to Flynn’s new novel, but if it has an ending like this….I hope not 🙂
      Thanks for your comment, Beth.

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