Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn, W&N, 2013.
Gone Girl on the surface, you may look at and see it as just another novel about a missing person’s case. But the way Gillian Flynn writes the novel, from both the perspective of the husband Nick, and the wife Amy – who has gone missing, is original and the novel is absolutely gripping. Gone Girl was recommended to me by a family member, which just shows sometimes the best book critics are the ones you know.
The book begins on Nick and Amy’s fifth wedding anniversary, the day she goes missing. When Nick returns home from the bar he runs with his twin sister Go, there are signs of a disturbance, and Amy is gone. As in many marital missing cases, Nick is immediately under suspicion. Gillian Flynn’s writing really captures the way the media in the 21st century now seem to have a ‘guilty until proven innocent’ mentality. To people around them, Nick and Amy had seemed like the ‘perfect’ couple. However we quickly see, as we all know the image people project to themselves of others, and how they really are, are often two different things.
Amy had the tradition of doing a treasure hunt every year on their anniversary, and this year is no different. Only this time the clues seem to have a double purpose – leading Nick to the truth about what has happened to Amy. First time round, the clues appear to have the impact of making Nick fall in love with Amy all over again. Of course things are not that simple, as the way things unfold prove.
Nick’s behavior in public, at press conferences, and community searches only adds fuel to the fire, which causes a strained relationship with Amy’s parents. This is exacerbated further for the reader when we discover his betrayal – Nick had a mistress, Andie. As he says himself, such a cliché.
Amy’s parents, who really are the perfect couple, had a series of books when she was growing up, called Amazing Amy, referred to with regularity throughout the novel. However, Amy has a dark side too. As a reader, I suspected all the way through that something was not quite right, but was still shocked by the twist. I won’t reveal it here, so no spoilers but rest assured it’s worth reading for.
All the way through I was trying to guess what would happen at the end. Like many readers, I was slightly disappointed, but the novel was definitely food for thought. It really made me think about the different personas we adopt for different people, and how well we can really know people unless we can trust what they tell us about themselves.
I would definitely like to read more of Gillian Flynn’s books, as Gone Girl was well written and fast paced. I can’t wait to see David Fincher’s film, with Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. Highly recommended.