By Gillian Flynn
Last night (or early this morning, if you want to be technical), I finally finished Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Flynn weaves a well-crafted, engaging, and stupefying tale of two people who are…Messed. Up. The recommendation to read this book came down the line through a couple of people, but what finally pulled me in was a comment made to a co-worker about the novel. That referral went something like this “this woman is so evil you almost end up rooting for her by the end of the book.” Okay, who could resist that? Also, he wasn’t wrong.
The story follows Nick Dunne and Amy Elliot Dunne, and begins on their fifth wedding anniversary, the day Amy disappears. Flynn does a great job of switching points of view with each chapter. You hear both sides of the story, but is either side telling the truth?
Especially in the beginning, it is hard to determine who to trust. Nick initially gets center stage for the simple fact that his point of view is immediate, and the reader is left with Amy’s diary entries to provide insight into her character. Even going into this novel with the knowledge that this woman is “evil”, I found myself wondering, waffling…who is the “bad guy” really?
Nick and Amy are believable characters, for all of their dysfunction, but I wouldn’t call either one of them a reliable narrator. They’ve filled their lives with lies…to everyone, including themselves, and sifting the truth from the lies is like panning for gold in a played out mine. Just because it shines, doesn’t mean it’s worth anything. By the end, I wondered if they were too damaged to even see the truth for themselves.
When you read this, find a buddy who has finished it (and won’t spoil it for you). I needed to discuss this book as I went along. Fortunately, I have some great co-workers who not only understand my craving for new fiction (and are willing suppliers) but had also read Gone Girl before me. They gave me the freedom to storm their offices the every time I thought I’d made a revelation with an exposition on what I thought was going to happen next. “Did Amy really….”, “I bet you that Nick is going to…”, and today “Seriously, these people are messed up.”
Would I recommend this book? Oh yeah, baby. It is definitely captivating and worth a read. This is a novel that will stick with you. I cannot stop thinking about these characters. Questions keep spinning through my mind. How did these people got to the place they ended up? What must their childhoods have been like? What kind of parents did they have…really? All interspersed with, seriously, these people are messed up. The only cure I can think of for this condition is another good novel…immediately. Fortunately I have a stack of those at home.
First Lines: “When I think of my wife, I always think of her head. The shape of it to begin with. The very first time I saw her, it was the back of her head I saw, and there was something lovely about it, the angles of it.”
Now, Gone Girl has been adapted for the screen. The film will star Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne and Rosamund Pike as Amy Elliot Dunne. Rosamund Pike may look familiar from movies such as,Jack Reacher, Pride & Prejudice, Die Another Day and An Education (funny, I just watched that one a couple of weeks ago), and Affleck has starred in films like Good Will Hunting, Pearl Harbor and won an Oscar for Argo, which he also directed.
With the screenplay also written by author, Gillian Flynn, I have no doubts the movie is going to be a great representation of the novel. However, I have heard rumors that the ending has been changed. As much as it pains me to say it, this may be one you want to read the book before the movie is released in October 2014.
‘Til next time, Jessica
P.S. Messed. Up.