Book Reviews / Books on Film

Gone Girl: A Deeply Disturbing Masterpiece

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

A Review

The recent release of the film version of Gillian Flynn’s thriller Gone Girl, finally provided me with a sound excuse to maneuver the book from my absurdly long “highly recommended” list to a coveted spot on my lovingly curated “currently reading” list. (I have a standing rule not to see a film based on a book before first reading the book, and the casting, interviews and early reviews of this particular film adaptation definitely piqued my interest.)Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

The book tells the story of Nick and Amy Dunne and the immediate aftermath of Amy’s disappearance on the couple’s fifth wedding anniversary. We hear from both Nick (as the story unfolds from his perspective) and Amy (through compelling diary entries), and as the action intensifies one fact becomes increasingly clear… we are dealing with at least one unreliable narrator. It becomes a game of discovery trying to sort out the truth behind the story we are being told.

Amy’s disappearance is just the beginning of the mystery, and with the police, the media and Amy’s famous parents all closing in, Nick’s imperfect past takes him from golden boy to prime suspect. With the help of his sister Margo he tries to solve the puzzle of his wife’s grand disappearance by following the clues she left behind, but by doing so he might just be handing over the evidence that will prove he killed his wife.

This has to be one of the most deeply disturbing books I’ve ever read. Disturbing, but aching and haunting and enchanting and fu#%ed up and really a masterpiece of fiction. I found it insightful, and thoughtful, but more than anything uncomfortable to read. There was this nail-biting sense of not knowing who to root for and wanting things to go differently, always to go differently. And being willing to live with feeling uncomfortable. Unable to turn away from the approaching train wreck, unable to put it down. I devoured the 578 pages between meals and play time with my nephew and sleep and the whole time part of me wanted to just hurry up and be done with it so that uncomfortable, not quite right feeling would go away.

I immediately felt like I needed to read something to get it out of my mind, something nice and happy like Harry Potter.. stat. But I know it’s one of those books that will stick with me, haunt me, be a part of me in the strange way that some books just do and I admire Flynn for it.

It’s masterful really. It’s astonishing to me that an author can write in such a way that can make me feel that way. And it definitely made me want to be a better writer. It was lyrical, but lewd, witty, charming, brilliant, but so disturbing; and these things should not be able to fit together. I don’t know how she did it. Even the structure of the the thing was genius. Not knowing who to trust and then knowing and still not knowing who to root for and then finally knowing how you want it to end, whose side you are on just to have the rug pulled from beneath you. Not enough to make you bleed, but to startle you, hurt your pride, make you feel wronged. Remember it.

I wonder how I’ll feel after I sit with it a few more days. Let it soak into my skin and my brain more. I wonder if I should tarnish the memory of the book by seeing the film. I wonder if it could possibly unsettle me more or less. And I love the idea that I have just read a book that makes me do so much wondering.

My Rating:

5 stars

Cover Story: A-

There is a delicate ethereal mystery to the cover that I like. It’s also simple and easy to read, but draws you in.  I’m also a fan of the movie tie in cover. It’s an homage to the film without being overt about splashing the actors in your face.

Little Details
 
Title: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Genre: Adult, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
Format: eBook, 578 pages
Publisher: Crown (Random House); (June 5th, 2012)
ISBN:  0553418351
{ Goodreads | Amazon }

The Author

Gillian FlynnGillian Flynn is an American author and television critic for Entertainment Weekly. She has so far written three novels, Sharp Objects, for which she won the 2007 Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for the best thriller; Dark Places; and her best-selling third novel Gone Girl.

In 2007 the novel was shortlisted for the Mystery Writers of America Edgar for Best First Novel by an American Writer, Crime Writers’ Association Duncan Lawrie, CWA New Blood and Ian Fleming Steel Daggers, winning in the last two categories.

Flynn, who lives in Chicago, grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. She graduated at the University of Kansas, and qualified for a Master’s degree from Northwestern University.Visit her at: www.gillian-flynn.com

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2 thoughts on “Gone Girl: A Deeply Disturbing Masterpiece

  1. I love the structure and personality behind your reviews! Sadly I haven’t gotten around to reading Gone Girl yet, but I went to see it in theatres. Even though the plot is ruined for me, I still think it’d be amazing to read the book and experience that unique POV that Flynn conjures up. Thanks for the review! Your blog looks awesome.

    • Thank you! I was so tempted to see the movie before reading it, but I’m glad I didn’t! I think the movie stands on it’s own, and I think they did a great job casting it! But the book really unfolds in a way that the movie just isn’t capable of because of its form! I think you’ll still love it, even though you’ll know what’s coming, it’s the depth of how far she takes it that makes it so great. I’d love to know what you think of it when you are done!

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