Saturday, May 4, 2013

Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

If I hadn't had to read this for the Maine Reader's Choice Award panel, I'd never even have picked it up.  The premise didn't appeal to me, I'd heard too many less than positive reactions from my patrons at the library and my fellow readers on, and I just had too many other really good books screaming "pick me, pick me".

I'll be honest-- of the ten books on the short list, I ranked this one #9.  It's not a bad book at all.  It's actually very well written, and tells us the story of a toxic relationship between two of the most screwed up, egotistical, damaged, and obnoxious people I've read about in a long time.

The genre is difficult to assign. It's not exactly a mystery, it's a suspense story in which the reader is taken on a roller coaster ride of emotions of love and hate for the two main characters.  Nick Dunne and Amy Elliott Dunne are married to each other.  When they marry, they are living the high life in New York, depending on Amy's job and her trust fund from the proceeds of a series of children's books her parents wrote featuring "The Amazing Amy" when she was a child.  Unfortunately, Amy bought the package, and while she resents her parents and their continued presence in her life, she is unable to shed the persona they developed for her.  Nick on the other hand, is Midwest small town Missouri Huck Finn, basking in the light of the Amazing Amy.

When on the morning of their 5th wedding anniversary Amy disappears, Nick, the police and readers of the story are baffled.  The question that fuels the rest of the book is "Where is Amy?"  Is she dead?  Was she abducted?  Did she run away?  Is she hiding?  In matter.....she's GONE.

The story is then told first by Nick as he narrates each day of Amy's absence, interspersed with Amy's side of the story based on her diary which is found by the police.  The story becomes stranger and stranger, and the reader, however reluctantly, is sucked into the vortex of this toxic piece of drivel.  In spite of my hatred of both of the main characters, (and a distinct lack of respect for most of the peripheral actors) I couldn't put it down.  There were too many possible answers to the questions, too many potential villains (did Nick do away with his wife?) and too many possible resolutions to the mystery to walk away without finishing  it.

Be's great has well defined characters, a gripping plot, and a pretty good sense of place.  It's also got more gratuitous sex and raunchy language than I prefer and it's just such a dark and depressing read, totally lacking in redeeming social value, that I'd only recommend it if you really have 8 hours in which you have nothing else more productive to do with your time.

Title: Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
Publisher: Crown Publishers, Random House (2012) 419 pages
Genre: suspense, psychological thriller
Subject: toxic relationships
Setting:New York and Missouri
Source: Review copy from publisher
Why did I read this book now? Short-listed for Maine Readers' Choice Award

1 comment:

  1. Great review! Can't wait to read this book and get all turned around upon.

    Marlene (Fishing Lodge Alaska)


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