I know I’ve already talked about this novel but I just can’t seem to help myself in giving it its own post. It’s just that good. It reached me on so many levels.
Gone Girl came out in 2012 and somehow it slipped under the radar until David Fincher directed a film adaptation, then of course everybody went to see it and started reading the book. Of course you already know all this. The thing I don’t understand is how no one discovered it sooner.
Gone Girl is the novel I wish I could write. I wish heartily that I was as talented as Gillian Flynn. Not only does it have likeable and intriguing characters but it has a thoroughly developed plot and interesting setting. But what I think I love most about it is the writing style and the slow development of the plot through the form of Amy’s diary, which fall alternately been chapters on Nick’s story. We learn from her so many things about her relationship and her life through this diary and then BANG, we find out she’s been lying to us, that its all a fabrication meant to incriminate Nick. I don’t know about you but I never saw that coming! Never before have I been successfully tricked like that. After the twist the novel continues with Amy in hiding and Nick undergoing a police investigation, and it keeps the alternating structure, which I just adore.
I also think Gillian Flynn totally understands the female mind. She was spot on with her description of ‘cool girl’, I think it’s something every young woman can relate to, and I respect her for creating a character who wants to do something about this image stereotype – though Amy kind of went overboard.
Gone Girl opens with Amy describing her life in New York, running through the motions of how she met Nick and what an amazing life they had together before she was made to move to a small town in Missouri with him in order to be close to Nick’s elderly mother. For some reason I’ve always been hooked by books set in America. Everything from The Great Gatsby to The Lucky One (please don’t judge me for the trashy read – North Carolina sounds beautiful) has inspired me. I suppose it’s because you’re reading about a culture so very different from our own when somehow you expect it to be quite similar. I imagine New York to be like London but after reading several book set there I realise I am very wrong, and I imagine North Carthage, Missouri, to be like any suburban little English town, and again, I’m completely mistaken. I’ve come to the realisation that not only are all these places completely alien to anywhere you’d find in England, but they all sound kind of better. In England it’s always raining, grey and miserable (I can hear the rain pattering on the roof and the wind blowing a gale as I write this) but in America the sun is always shining, you can eat al fresco, people have balconies they can use, the rivers shine, the people smile and the New York streets are alive. Maybe it’s just me – the grass is always greener on the other side and all – but I love reading novels set in beautiful or exciting places.
Then there’s the characters. I’m not going to argue that Nick is likeable, but he’s so genuine, so believable – I know hundreds of Nick Dunn’s – he’s the type of guy I can imagine a lot of people ending up with, myself included, someone who’s pretty average, someone who seems great at first, attractive and witty, and then slowly disappoints you.
On the flip slide, Amy I completely adore. I know I shouldn’t because she’s calculating and vindictive – and lets not forget she murdered someone – but I want to be her. I truly admire her organisational skills and her ability to think so far ahead. She was planning what she did to Nick for a whole year. To create all these fake diary entries, to buy a car and keep it at a public car park, to befriend the pregnant neighbour and do little good deeds around the neighbourhood so everybody loved her, to fake a fear of blood – it was so utterly well thought out. And I’m not condoning framing your husband for your murder or anything but at least she had her reasons. She wanted to teach her lay-about, disappointment of a husband a lesson, and it worked, didn’t it? By the end of the novel he realised he needed to make more of an effort, though I’m not sure Amy needed to go to such extremes. And it was a shame about Desi, he seemed nice, albeit a little wet and needy.
Another thing I loved about this novel is that the whole marriage-gone-sour thing is so understandable. Nick looses his job, Amy loses hers, they move house to somewhere Amy hates, she is unhappy, she takes it out on him, he looses all ambition, he has a wife who dislikes him, and he is unhappy, so he finds comfort elsewhere. The marriage becomes a disaster. It could happen to anyone – and does every day. I love the fact that such a disturbing thriller has such a ‘normal’ backdrop. And this story is a true thriller, it’s deliciously creepy and sinister. That’s something else I love about it. I admit that I’m intrigued by dark writing and this definitely falls into that category.
This is, without a doubt, the novel I enjoyed most last year – and the film’s great too – so I’m making it my number one book of the year. Gone Girl is a must-read!