Review of 'Gone Girl'

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

gone_girl.jpg Normally I like to read the book before the film when that film is based on the book but in this case I read the book a long time after I saw the movie (see here for that review). Was it any better? Absolutely. The confusion I had when I watched the film is very much cleared up in reading of the book though I still think all the characters are unlikable particularly Nick Dunne and his missing wife Amy. Not liking the main characters is a bit of a hindrance…though it something like a train wreck: You want to stick around to see what happens.

The plot of the book is identical to the film: Nick Dunne, a would-be writer but now teacher, wakes to find his wife Amy missing and the signs of a struggle in the house. When the police are called in Nick is their immediate suspect and as the evidence accumulates it seems it is more and more likely that he did it. Despite this, Nick protests his innocence and comes up with a theory that his wife is out to frame him. Half way through the book we learn the truth of what has happened (which I will not disclose here) and things get turned on their head in the matter of a few pages.

As I have said, Nick and Amy are really quite unlikable: Amy due to her manipulation of people and Nick for his lack of consideration for others. Both are selfish to the extreme and I like to hope are not like other people in the same economic and social environment. Given this I find it hard to swallow a lot of the justification for the extreme events that unfold and if you were expecting a happy ending – without giving too much away – don't expect it here. Even the supporting cast from Amy's shallow parents to the sleazy lawyer hired by Nick, very few characters have any redeeming features – There are no innocents which, I suppose, is part of what Flynn is saying here – We are all selfish bastards who very seldom tell others exactly what they feel (the relationship Nick has with his twin sister being an obvious exception here though that relationship is really stressed as the evidence starts mounting). As to whether it is all believable or not, this is summer time reading meant to grab and hold your attention which it does quite well. Someone who has not seen the film (which somewhat spoils the “great surprise” here) will doubtless find it difficult to put down – Did he do it? What really happened? Everyone loves a mystery.

To be fair, I found the book did tend to drag in parts with me just wanting the plot to get on with it but for the most part this happened only a few pages later. The writing is easy enough to follow with the plot and characters not so detailed that things were difficult to remember. Just enough for a feature film…

A book that will keep you guessing until you learn the unbelievable (almost literally) truth. A fun read if you can overlook the unlikable characters. You know you want to find out what happens…

Rating: “It is OK but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2018-03-10

Genre: General Fiction

Publisher: Phoenix Fiction

Publication Date: 2012

ISBN: 9780753827666